As the nearest point of the UK to mainland Europe, close to London with motorways to the rest of the country, it is not surprising that Kent has a vibrant logistics and distribution sector.
The Port of Dover, which in 2014 welcomed more than 2.4 million freight vehicles, is Europe’s busiest ferry port and offers easy access to France. Nearly 2.5 million cars, and 13.3 million passengers, also passed through the port that year.
As one of the UK’s strategic trading gateways Dover Harbour Board has plans to regenerate the Western Docks, creating a dedicated cargo terminal for fresh produce and other goods, and added-value distribution services. Thamesport is a specialist container port and Sheerness is equipped for a range of commodities including automotive, forestry, dry and liquid bulks and energy products.
As the UK’s fixed link to Europe, Eurotunnel stretches 50km from Folkestone to Coquelle, near Boulogne, and its Shuttle services welcomed more than 2.6 million cars and 1.5 million trucks in 2015.
The M25, M20 and M2 are also vital national links for the industry, with strong distribution, logistics and freight operations clustering around key motorway junctions, including the Dartford River Crossing.
Investment in regional distribution centres, cold storage facilities, and general warehousing, makes Kent a strong, and cost-effective contender for the logistics and distribution sector, with distribution parks such as Aylesford and Crossways an added form of support. Waitrose and Morrisons also have regional distribution centres in the county.
A young and enthusiastic skills base is provided by degrees in Business Logistics and Transport Management, and Business Purchasing and Supply Chain Management at the University of Greenwich.
Key companies in Kent include Doree Bonner, Keuhne & Nagel, Salvatori, S&S Logistics and Trans Global Logistics.