Features - Business

A backward glance on transport and logistics infrastructure

Ahead of this year’s UK Infrastructure Show (UKIS), which will be taking place on the 22nd April at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, it would be worthwhile to look back on the infrastructure projects which have defined the past year in the construction industry.

One subsector, of the more broad infrastructure sector, which should doubtlessly be acknowledged is that of transport and logistics, as the projects which have assisted with the movement of people and materials across the UK have been undisputedly important to the construction industry in a year which has been hindered by political misdirection.

Despite the fact that most construction projects were forced to endure delays from the uncertain political situation which the UK experienced throughout 2019, particularly towards the end of the year, many infrastructure projects continued as planned and therefore supported the entire construction industry in a time where sector value and output was on the decline.

This is doubtlessly due to the majority of transport and logistical infrastructure projects being commissioned and organised between companies and organisations within the UK. For example, the construction of most roads, railways, and ports are commissioned by local authorities and government departments, such as local councils and the Department for Transport.

According to Glenigan’s Construction Industry Review for December 2019, the value of civil engineering contracts, which is relevant as infrastructure projects are usually contracted to civil engineers, measured at double the value of December 2018, with the total value of contracts reaching total of £4,940M, despite the number of project starts being 67 per cent lower.

Ultimately, this healthy sector value can be attributed to major projects in the subsector of transport and logistics, covering the likes of HS2 and Crossrail, providing contract values that are so steep that they could effectively support the construction industry for another year.

In addition to this, the transport and logistical infrastructure projects which are being planned and organised within the private sector are generally being conducted by companies within the UK, meaning that their progress and approval will not likely be dependent upon the progress of Brexit and Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

One example of a major logistics infrastructure project from the private sector is the SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway which covers a total area of 700 acres with planning consent for up to 6Msq ft of logistics accommodation and a 50 acre Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI).

Furthermore, the development contains eleven logistical units as well as the aforementioned rail terminal, container storage, a bus interchange, and motorway connections through Junctions 23a and 24 of the M1 via the A453. It is unknown how much the entire scheme has cost but the road improvements and rail terminal alone have cost approximately £100M, placing the estimated cost of the entire project into the hundreds of millions.

Another example of a major logistics infrastructure project in the private sector is ICON, a £150M logistics and creative content studio at Manchester Airport that is owned by a joint-venture of The Hut Group (THG) and Stoford Developments. The development itself includes logistics and content creation facilities, totalling an area of 168,000sq ft, and office space, totalling an area of 104,000sq ft over four floors, with the appointed contractor being named as Winvic Construction Ltd.

Having recapped the transport and logistics infrastructure projects of 2019, the best way to now plan for the foreseeable future within the infrastructure sector will be to attend UKIS, where infrastructure professionals will be sharing their expertise and knowledge of the projects to come.

Excitement builds for the UK Infrastructure Show 2020, bringing together buyers, planners and key decision makers from across the sector.

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