Known as the ‘1Hub,’ the £30m state-of-the-art groupage depot is the largest of its kind in the UK. Since it was constructed in 2015 at a key gateway location close to the Dartford Crossing, it has seen a 15 per cent increase year on year in the number of European road freight consignments being managed.
Today a record 40,000 consignments per month pass through the terminal, thanks to the unique addition of Europa Flow, the firm’s frictionless customs product which optimises the movement of goods to and from the continent post-Brexit.
Dan Cook, Group Operations Director at Europa Worldwide Group, explained: “Europa takes bold steps to drive out complexity and deliver simple, effective transactions. For our Road network, developing the Dartford site has meant a significant restructure and investment to transform the 1Hub into the unique transit terminal it is today.
“We believe Dartford is an optimum location to consolidate groupage destined for the continent, or for goods arriving from it for onward distribution though out the UK, with cargo heading in its natural direction of travel to its end destination.
“Our 1Hub is one of the most simple, efficient and highest quality of any European distribution platforms, with a number of innovative operational concepts, all supported by excellent IT.
“These latest statistics are testament to how our road freight network infrastructure delivers the best solution for every type of shipment, as well as to the hard work of our teams working on the ground.”
With 37 direct European connections, and 12 daily connections to UK distribution platforms, 1Hub facilitates the movement of exported and imported goods effectively and is at the heart of Europa’s 16 strong branch network across the UK.
It is at Europa’s 1Hub that over 35 independent partners and 260 Europa trailers combine to ensure goods are moved seamlessly to and from the continent.
To mark these latest milestones, Europa has launched a new video. It takes viewers on a virtual tour of the site, showing how the latest technology boosts shipping efficiencies, drives down costs, delivers real-time visibility of goods and ensures customer satisfaction.
The footage highlights how consignments arrive in side-loaded trucks, as they do each night, from Europa’s domestic depots around the UK and Ireland. These are then discharged into the side of the building specifically designed to accommodate level access side loading.
The reverse process is also captured, illustrating how, on the opposite side of the building, the 1Hub’s design changes to accommodate trucks leaving for and arriving from the continent. In both cases, location control and customs clearance information are shown to all internal users to ensure slick handling and turnaround. The terminal is also racked, so each consignment is assigned a specific rack location. By using double deck trailers, the need for double stacking is removed, reducing the risk of any damage prior to onward movement.
Dan continued: “This video is all about giving an insight into how our high-tech, purpose-built 1Hub works day-to-day. It captures the scale of our super-sized facility – which is large enough to house seven football pitches – and shows the longstanding, dedicated and highly trained team in action as they safely manage the tried and tested site processes.
“Here, Europa performs the full range of processes to optimise flows, offering a highly competitive and comprehensive logistics infrastructure that reduces transit times through daily structured departures, and ensures high quality for our customers.
“No other European groupage freight operator works in this way, making Europa unique in how it keeps vital European supply chains moving. The introduction of Europa Flow – our market-leading, frictionless customs product – launched in response to Brexit, has played a crucial role over the past 18 months in ensuring this remains the case.”
Evidence compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows Brexit and the pandemic have negatively impacted on domestic and global supply chains. More than a quarter of UK firms have reported logistics disruptions, and one in twenty said they had made radical changes to supply chains as the transition period ended. For many, the focus is now on diversification and re-shoring to bring supplier links closer to home.
For Europa, this situation means there is an even greater need – particularly amidst predictions of a Eurozone downturn – to balance any risks with its continued ambition to set the pace in the market, helping customers adapt and optimise along the way. Europa Flow is proving pivotal to this approach, allowing customers the space to conduct their operations as ‘business as usual’ whilst they focus on building up future resilience.