Last update: 17/08/2005 11:55:13
. Review existing literature on consolidation in the UK and elsewhere
. Investigate different types of consolidation practice, considering both the business and environmental case for each
. Obtain the views of a sample of supply chain parties and local authorities on the appropriateness of different types of urban consolidation centres and their impacts
. Carry out a preliminary evaluation of the situations in which each type of urban consolidation centre considered is likely to be most appropriate and to make comparisons between the strengths and weaknesses of different types of consolidation centres.
The proposal is to carry out a scoping study in order to identify the potential for the development of consolidation centres / transhipment centres that have as their principal objective the alleviation of local environmental and traffic concerns in urban areas. It is an area that is subject to much discussion and the occasional trial, but to date there has been a lack of evidence-based information upon which potential operators, be they logistics providers or local authorities, can base decisions as to the viability of such initiatives. The proposed research would provide that information.
Broadly speaking there are two linked objectives relating to these consolidation centres. First to reduce or eliminate the number of inappropriately sized vehicles entering particular urban area, and secondly to avoid the need for vehicles to deliver part loads into urban centres. These objectives can be achieved by providing facilities whereby deliveries (retail, office or residential) can be transhipped and/or consolidated for subsequent delivery into the urban area in an appropriate vehicle with a high level of load utilisation.
Consolidation of goods can have both economic and environmental benefits. From an economic perspective consolidation can help to:
. Increase the volume of goods carried on vehicles entering a given urban area; thereby reducing the unit costs of transportation for the final delivery stage.
. Reduce the number of deliveries that have to be received at a location; thereby reducing the disruption and labour requirements associated with receiving multiple deliveries.
. Reduce the time spent driving to the delivery address and accessing the point of delivery by the driver; who may only have a small quantity or a single item to deliver.
Additionally, retail consolidation centres can be used to:
. Reduce the time it takes to replenish stock and thereby help to reduce out-of-stock situations. By removing stockholding from, say, a retail outlet and instead holding the stock at a local consolidation centre space can be freed-up at the shop for additional retailing footage.
. Perform a range of other activities such as unpacking, preparing products for display, pricing, waste removal, and product returns thereby removing the need for these tasks to be performed in the store.
However, these potential benefits have to be weighed against the potential costs associated with consolidation that can include:
. Capital and operating costs of consolidation centres.
. An additional handling stage in the supply chain.
. The security, liability and customer service issues associated with additional companies handling goods.
From an environmental and quality of life perspective, consolidation can help to:
. Reduce the number of unsuitable goods vehicles and possibly the total number of vehicles operating in the urban area.
. Improve the lading factor and empty running of goods vehicles thereby reducing vehicle movements and distance travelled.
. Reduce the fuel consumed and hence pollutant emissions and noise generation in delivering goods.
. Offer the opportunity to operate environmentally sensitive vehicles on the final leg of the urban supply chain.
. Make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
University of Westminster
Transport Studies Group, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS
+44 (0)20 7911 5073
Cost to the Department: £23,750.00
Actual start date: 01 December 2004
Actual completion date: 02 November 2005
Urban Freight Consolidation Centres Final Report
Author: Transport Studies Group, University of Westminster
Publication date: 02/11/2005
Source: Freight Best Practice programme
More information: http://www.freightbestpractice.org.uk/imagebank/Consolidation%20centres%20Finalreport%20Nov2005.pdf