Integrating a Consolidation Centre Within a Dryport for Improved Freight Distribution

Integrating a Consolidation Centre Within a Dryport for Improved Freight Distribution


M AL-Azzawi, URS/Scott Wilson, UK; I Mathie, SEStran, UK


Presents research into the lessons learned from 6 Consolidation Centres. Various new sites in Central Scotland were examined. Potential method for integrating a new CC within a Dryport scheme was then developed, and transport benefits estimated.


The South East Scotland Regional Transport Partnership (SEStran) is one of 7 Regional Transport Partnerships in Scotland. SEStran represents 8 local authorities covering an area of 3,180sq miles and is home to 28% of Scotland's population ( SEStran is the main area of Scotland's financial, economic and Central Government activities and has fundamental needs for the freight and logistics sector, which places great pressure on the transportation network.

Many towns and cities within SEStran experience significant congestion at certain times of the day, which impacts on both businesses and residents. SEStran aims to address these issues and work towards a more sustainable and efficient transport network. One of the initiatives being examined by SEStran is the potential for Consolidation Centres strategically located in its area to improve freight deliveries to key locations and reduce the impacts of air pollution, congestion and noise.

However, experience from elsewhere suggests that Consolidation Centres seem to be most feasible when they can provide a range of services or are part of other freight activities at a site. This allows for economies of scale in operations, integration with different modes and bundling together of deliveries from several shippers for one destination. The idea of incorporating a Consolidation Centre within another freight hub raises interesting possibilities. To that end, SEStran commissioned URS/Scott Wilson to investigate the potential for integrating a Consolidation Centre within a Dryport facility to serve the South East of Scotland and integrate road, rail and sea modes, allowing more choice and improved freight distribution. Dryports are intermodal facilities located inland connecting rail and road facilities with sea ports. SEStran are members of the EU Dryports initiative funded by the IVB North Sea Programme which has 14 partners from across Europe studying the potential benefits, costs, operations and impacts of Dryports for different locations in the EU (

This paper presents the results of a major research study looking at the potential for Consolidation Centres as part of a Dryport scheme. The research compared six different Consolidation Centres implemented elsewhere in Europe and collated data on their effectiveness and evaluated the lessons that were learned. Different types of Consolidation Centres were examined in detail to account for the different characteristics and types of markets served. The impacts examined covered over 15 key performance indicators representing a range of headline categories including operations, finance, demand, modal shift and other benefits.

Stakeholder consultations with a range of industry representatives and freight operating companies were also undertaken. This identified the views of the private sector which are important to the success of any potential scheme. The respondents were drawn from a wide geographical area across central Scotland to reflect the changing needs between urban, rural and large cities. This consultation also helped to identify the types of markets which are most likely to use a Consolidation Centre.

An operating plan for integrating a Consolidation Centre within a Dryport was developed, indicating how the different freight sectors would be serviced. This showed how it is possible for a Dryport and a Consolidation Centre to work together on the same site. The potential method of operation extended to the activities at a Dryport and how they would be slightly adapted to accommodate a Consolidation Centre in terms of staffing arrangements, management structure and operations. The findings also displayed the potential savings in operating costs due to improved economies of scale.

Possible locations for Consolidation Centres in the SEStran area were identified and demand forecasts carried out to help quantify the potential improvements to freight movements. A restricted cost/benefit analysis (R-CBA) was carried out using the estimates of demand and costs from the rest of the research to highlight the potential benefits to the various stakeholders (private and public) as a result of integrating a Consolidation Centre within a Dryport.


Association for European Transport