If you closed your eyes, took a pin, and stuck it into the middle of a map of the UK, the chances are you’d land somewhere around Northamptonshire. One of the results of this central position is that Northamptonshire has become a key strategic location for the logistics industry.
Teamed with excellent road and rail links and numerous purpose-built distribution centres, it’s perhaps not surprising that Northamptonshire has developed an enviable reputation as a centre of excellence in the logistics sector, an industry that continues to thrive and develop in the county, particularly as companies look to implement new environmentally friendly technologies to become greener and trim down on operating costs.
The DIRFT II (Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal) Centre in Daventry, built by ProLogis, is a shining example of the kind of specialist purpose built facilities that are helping logistics companies in Northamptonshire to be at the top of their game. Earlier this month, we saw the launch of a large (817,000 sq. foot, or nine Wembley-sized football pitches!) new Tesco distribution centre at the DIRFT II site.
What’s really exciting about this centre is that it is both road and rail connected. Rather than relying solely on road transportation, Tesco’s new centre at DIRFT II has a dedicated rail terminal, which will receive up to eight trains a day, saving 100,000 lorry journeys per year, the equivalent of 14 million road miles and 19,600 tonnes of CO2emissions.
The new Tesco centre has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Where carbon emissions are unavoidable, this will be mitigated by 110% through investment in an avoided deforestation project. What is fantastic to see is that as newer distribution centres are built with impressive environmental credentials, others are looking to see how they can also implement greener technologies.
Many logistics companies in Northampton are members of the county’s Environment and CR group – a cross sectorgroup which meets to discuss and share best practice around these topics. Currently the group is discussing a wide range of environmental options for sites including retrofitted technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of warehouses – from wind turbines to rain water harvesting and solar panels.Two wind turbines for example have already been installed on other sites at DIRFT - helping businesses to use renewable energy and become more environmentally friendly.
Logistics is an important employer in Northamptonshire, and the industry is helping to prompt further inward investment in the county. Including the new Tesco centre, ProLogis has built almost 7 million sq. ft. of distribution space in Northamptonshire, representing around 8,000 jobs to date.
Another important environmentally friendly logistics site in the county is the Sainsbury’s site just down the M1 from DIRFT at Pineham. This site uses arange of progressive technologies and as a result is a one of the world’s greenest distribution centres. This includes rainwater harvesting and water recycling which will save 40 million litres a year. An on-site power plan reuses the heat produced by air conditioning, while the site also has solar panels and walls for energy production, energy efficient lighting and an on-site recycling facility.
The environmentally friendliness of Tesco’s new centre, both in terms of the rail connectivity, and the design of the building, and other new sites like Sainsbury’s are incredibly important as the industry as a whole looks to better its carbon footprint. Northamptonshire is the perfect place to support these exciting steps forward, with its strategic location, progressive new centres such as DIRFT IIand support for logistics companies looking to improve their existing sites.