The benefits of Port-Centric Construction Consolidation Hubs

31 January 2023

Ports, by their very nature, are industrial gateways for handling cargo as it makes its way from origin to destination. Supply chains tend to be more efficient the shorter they are; hence, taking out unnecessary legs from the logistics flow can help save both money and miles. So it stands to reason that utilising a shared-user site at a port should reap some advantages over moving cargo to another storage point on the way to its final destination. 

The owner of the product, of course, benefits from moving stuff in a more efficient way. But that’s not the only beneficiary; so who else, and why and how? Let’s look at that in relation to construction projects.  

Well, the benefits are many, and can be tapped into not just by a primary contractor, but by hauliers, materials suppliers, waste management suppliers, and the project owner, whilst also benefitting the community and environment in several ways. 

Imagine a single site at a port, consolidating imported timber, construction steel, aggregates, bricks and tiles, and whatever else the construction site might need, and delivering what’s required on a just-in-time basis, with single trucks delivering multiple products … 

Benefits to the developers/owners and main contractors 

Those running the show can gain through various measures.  

Improved programme efficiency and management:

Having a single point of contact for various materials can mean improved visibility of all stock, better control over deliveries, and less time waiting for materials, not to mention simpler supply chain management. The inherent reliability doesn’t just make things better on a day-to-day basis, but also reduces the risk of project over-run. 

On-site space requirements for vehicles and storage are reduced, leaving the site more free to get on with being productive.  

Waste can be reduced, as the daily deliveries include only what’s needed at that time. 

Reduced construction cost:

Cost savings can be achieved by through economies of scale, procuring materials for numerous projects and having them delivered to the one hub. 

Health and safety: 

Virtually all investigations point to a positive effect on the work environment and a reduction in incidents on site as a result of lower stocks on site, reduced vehicles on site, and materials being handled by dedicated logistics contractors. 

Reduced waste (appropriate product volumes dispatched to site) and carbon emissions (fewer trucks making deliveries) enable the attainment of environmental objectives. 

Benefits to vehicle operators and suppliers 

Delivery trucks will operate to and from the construction site, as well as to and from a single product storage site. A truck can carry whatever mix of products that’s needed at that time, ensuring fully loaded vehicles without the risk of delivering too much of one thing or another. 

Loading up a truck at a single, purpose-designed distribution facility can be speedier than the alternatives, and unloading the entire cargo at a single site – rather than across several sites – supports the driver and asset in completing as many jobs as possible in a shift.   

Reverse logistics can be deployed for waste removal, returning unused materials/packaging, and repositioning materials and equipment that does not need to be on-site at that time, making the return leg as useful as possible. 

Benefits to society/environment 

Fewer vehicle on the roads, in particular in and around busy construction sites, reduces congestion, emissions and noise, as well as collision risks on and off the site. 

In addition, if the hub is located at a port – where the materials land in the UK – road journeys can be further reduced, since the product goes directly into a warehouse, without hitting a public road at all. 

Additional benefits of shared-user sites 

Serving more projects, and having higher materials throughput, mean that the fixed costs of operating the hub can be reduced and spread across users, leading to a lower cost per unit handled. 

Smaller projects that would not consider setting up their own hub can tap in one, as the warehousing, labour, equipment and administrative systems are already in place, and the costs can be shared by several parties. 

There are greater opportunities to optimise resource utilisation: delivery milk rounds can cover more than one site if consignments are small, and reverse logistics opportunities are maximised. 

Peel Ports Group have a strategic network of ports that cover all sides of the UK and major centres of growth, including London, Glasgow and North West England. If you would like to find out more about how using a consolidation centre at one of our ports can benefit your logistics management, speak to our expert team at