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Off-quay storage: an alternative warehouse option ahead of Brexit

Comment | 14 August 2019


With storage space in great demand ahead of October’s Brexit deadline and Christmas peak, some businesses could benefit from an alternative to the traditional warehouse. Off-quay storage could be the solution; we explain what it is, how it works and how Wincanton can help.

We’re in the midst of an unprecedented demand for storage space across the UK.

With facilities already running at, or close to, capacity following the stockpiling activities of the early months of 2019, it’s estimated that the vacancy rate among warehouses of over 100,000 sqft will be just 6.8% in Q2.

So, with Christmas peak for retailers on the horizon, October’s Brexit deadline poses challenges. As space is harder to find – amplified by the time constraints - finding an alternative to the traditional warehouse makes sense for businesses.

Off-quay storage could be that alternative.

What is off-quay storage?

When containers of goods are shipped into the country, they are typically stored ‘on-quay’, (or dockside). Ports usually allow a short period of ‘free’ storage while onward transportation is arranged; but after that, charges can be high.

Off-quay storage involves moving containers from the dockside to a secure location away from the port, where they can be stored for longer periods at a lower cost.

Why is it a good option?

While ports allow a grace period of free dockside storage, the fees after this time can mount up; especially when dealing with multiple containers. It’s in the port and shipping companies’ interest to clear goods to avoid congestion and open up space for future arrivals, after all. Off-quay storage fees are generally much lower, which makes financial sense if goods are being stored for longer timeframes.

Portside congestion is also a problem for onward transport. With high volumes of traffic and subsequent delays on roads in and around ports – which could increase depending on the nature of any withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU – it’s beneficial to remove containers from these locations as soon as possible. Off-quay storage facilitates this, with goods shunted to storage sites in areas of lower congestion, reducing the threat of disruption to the supply chain at times when goods are in urgent demand.

From a physical storage perspective, it makes sense too. Items take up less space in a container than they do when removed and palletised, maximising cubic capacity. With storage space at a premium due to current and potential supply chain bottlenecks, this is an option worth considering.

Off-quay storage can work as part of wider contingency planning. By removing bulk loads of goods from ports and storing them in strategic locations, lead times can be significantly reduced. This is important for just-in-time manufacturing and FMCG companies, both of which benefit from more efficient product flows.

How can Wincanton help?

With more than ten years’ experience of providing off-quay storage, Wincanton offers plenty of expertise in this area.

We have a dedicated team of experts, allowing us to provide end-to-end support through a single point of contact. Our off-quay solution includes:

Our off-quay solution can also integrate with our extended logistics services, meaning businesses can entrust the process from port right through to customers’ homes in one place: with Wincanton.

Read more about Wincanton's off-quay storage solutions

How can we help?

Have a supply chain question, need some help, just want a chat? Contact Wincanton today.