UK Inland Docks to DC Container Transport

UK Inland Docks to DC Container Transport

Sector: FMCG – Major International Retailer of Consumer Electronics

Executive Summary

With continued growth of our clients direct import volumes in to the UK, within three years rising from 3000 teu (twenty foot equivalent container unit) to 8,500 teu and a further growth forecast of 15,000 teu, year on year. It became critical to ensure a robust operational process was in place for the collection and return of deep sea containers from and to the UK ports.

Not withstanding the operational needs our client also needed to have complete control of ‘on port’ demurrage and ‘off port’ detention charges.

Client Challenge

To transition from a secondary port collection operation to one of a primary dedicated service.

Our client was operating a backhaul operation by using returning store delivery vehicles to divert to UK ports for the collection and delivery to an internal inland container park. Whilst, initially against relatively smaller volumes this had been reasonably cost effective, the substantial growth in volume meant that it had become no longer cost effective. Service levels for ‘on time’ turnaround had also become an issue, together with increases in transport costs.

Our Solution

To completely re-engineer the transport operation and service proposition, with a track-able cost base and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) monitoring.

A scalable solution was also a key factor, in order to flex with pre & post peak volumes; from fifteen 40’ containers per week rising to a hundred plus in peak weeks. Each container had to meet a 24 hour unload cycle, operating on a ‘drop & swap’ basis.


  • GBP 150,000 saved on transport cost
  • Dedicated & priority port collection service, minimising the impact of port delays
  • Dedicated container movement co-ordinator, single point of contact for all UK ports
  • Monthly KPI review meetings
  • Visibility of cost issues & emerging trends
  • Forecasting and advance planning of volumes
  • Priority product handling ensuring availability
  • Dedicated delivery booking slots for each container, whilst still in transit, avoiding risk of container demurrage & detention costs
  • Clear accountability for all container movements from port to DC

“I have dealt with Nav over a 6 year period, and found him to be the consummate professional. Added to which is his detailed knowledge of the industry, and subsequent ability to identify solutions that are practical and sustainable.”

Shaun Allen , Managing Director
The CEL Group Limited