Southampton port

Southampton port

Southampton City Council is inviting local operators to run a sustainable distribution centre (SDC) and warehouse that will consolidate local deliveries. The aim is to cut lorry movements and congestion while boosting efficiencies.

The council has been awarded £225,000 from a central government local sustainable transport fund to fund the SDC, which will serve Southampton, Winchester, Eastleigh, Hedge End, Totton and the New Forest. The SDC will handle deliveries 24/7, grouping and delivering loads together as well as offering flexible and cheap storage.

The plan aims to emulate the success of other goods delivery models such as the one in Bristol operated by DHL Excel, which has reduced city-centre LGV movements by around 80%, cut 380,000 lorry kilometres, emissions of 102 tonnes of Co2 and 3,300kgs of Nox.

A viability report had established a strong case for an SDC in the Southampton area and the council had already had expressions of interest from firms and public sector bodies interested in using one, said councillor Thorpe, SCC's cabinet member for environment and transport.

“It is expected that the SDC will reduce by up to 75% the number of LGV vehicles for its users, with an anticipated reduction of up to 6,900 vehicle movement each year. It will also provide other benefits such as improved air quality from reduced emissions, increase the opportunity for night time deliveries and enable more efficient and timely deliveries for regional businesses.”

Benefits to users and suppliers would include more efficient use of retail and office space, fuel savings and reduced delivery costs by cutting out the last mile of delivery with the time delays and increased vehicle wear and tear often entailed.

Invitations to tender will go out in mid-August, with a deadline to make a bid of late September. The SDC should be operational by the end of the year.

By Andrew Stone