NFT, the UK’s market leader in temperature controlled logistics, has opened bespoke chilled produce chambers within its flagship 230,000 ft2 facility at Tilbury enabling fast and efficient importation of fresh produce.

Since the start of the year, NFT has won significant contracts from shipping lines and produce importers to handle pineapples, melons, banana’s, grapes and oranges processing over 5,000 pallets per week.

With the capability of handling both reefer container and traditional break bulk vessels; it is strategically positioned to provide optimum inbound solutions regardless of the point of entry into the UK’s South East, be it from the Container Terminal located next to NFT at Tilbury, or from London Gateway 9 miles away.

Being located at the Port creates a highly efficient supply chain with distinct advantages. Distribution costs are lowered as a result of eliminating unnecessary food miles. Crucially, the NFT facility also operates 24/7 ensuring products get from the arriving vessel to retailer faster, thus increasing shelf life.

Of the 230,000 ft² total space, two 30,000 ft2 chambers operate at 7°C and 14 °C respectively. Additional capacity of 30,000 ft2 operating at 10-12°C will become available very soon with the remaining 140,000 ft2 is operating at 2°C.

Another factor underpinning these new business wins is that NFT’s operating model enables the temperature profile and labour resource in each chamber to be flexed to match the produce seasonality and retailer demand. This provides a highly versatile and cost-effective supply chain solution.

All contracts involve warehousing and storage, however the key benefit for importers is NFT’s capability to also provide added-value activities involving retailer reworking and stock ‘top up’ service.

From an initial volume of over 55 reefer containers per week, this will rise rapidly to a volume equivalent to over 230 containers from summer with the addition of grape and banana volumes Much of this additional volume will be created by a new Seatrade reefer service into Tilbury. Each week the vessel will birth immediately behind the NFT facility enabling pallets to be unloaded directly from the vessel to the NFT warehouse door.

Chris Soanes, Commercial Director at NFT said: “These are exciting times for the team at the Port of Tilbury. The momentum of interest we are experiencing is testament to the scale of operations and large volume of fresh produce we’re capable of handling, and this growth illustrates that we are very much open for business right now!

A big positive for me has been the way we have been able to impart our specialist expertise and work collaboratively with growers, and importers who we recognise as being experts in their field to create a highly responsive and efficient supply chain into UK retailers”.

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