Thinking outside the supply chain box on building Eden North

By North Star Projects

30 Oct 2023

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With all the spotlight on reducing carbon footprint, coupled with the already overly congested roads, it’s part of our mission and mantra here at North Star Projects to put our years of industry knowledge and skills to the test when it comes to thinking outside of the box.

Whilst we often have to deal with common problems of not improving or changing with the times (e.g. letting five years go by and not looking at your supply chain setup), every now and then we get a particularly interesting challenge which makes us look at just how different a supply chain and the inherent logistics could be, and what would be the impact if we could just get away from traditional thinking.

When the Eden Project for the North was in its infancy, we were involved in many conversations and open forums. During this time, we discovered a common theme being raised which was the issue of receiving and storing materials for the build site when the work commences. This would prove a problem for an already heavily congested Morecambe Sea front – especially during the high season.

We derived this into a problem statement to give over to Eden:

The site for the Eden Project for the North is in a busy commercial area situated on Morecambe Sea front. Traffic and congestion have been raised in various forums, including community conversations.

Finding a solution that addresses the delivery of construction material, people and ongoing operational material to the site of Eden Project for the North could help with planning and further community acceptance of the project.

There are several possible options, with positives & negatives, for how to supply the site:’

OptionPositiveNegative
Use current road infrastructure to deliver materialsProcess already existsDisruption to local traffic & environment
Night delivery & mega load trucksProcess already existsRequires specialist equipment & planning permissions
Deliver materials via Heysham port through Morecambe BayAvoids congestion and promotes an alternative business opportunityNew process that needs to be developed
 

 

As with most of our approaches, often through years of obscuring standard practise, we forget to apply an answer that would be seen as the most logical.

Next to the proposed work site is an abundance of open water. Although there are legislative restrictions around natural environment, and some challenges around the tide heights, we feel using a transportation method utilising this could be a much stronger option which will provide potential HUB storage points for material, and freedom to transport without significant impact to residential and non-industrial traffic flow.

Having already developed programmes for shipping ports in Canada to allow for expansion, and working with both Heysham and Lancaster Port on projects, we started to develop the plan and theory behind how this would work, and ultimately managed to put this into a very clear set of flows and images.

INBOUND MATERIALSTORAGEOUTBOUND MATERIAL
Rail link to portConsolidate at Heysham PortTruck/Barge to site
Material to port through Liverpool, Lancaster and HeyshamConsolidate at Heysham PortTruck/Barge to site
Truck to port using GatewayConsolidate at Heysham PortTruck/Barge to site

The result from the feasibility study shows that involving the port as a base for supply chain and moving goods by barge to the proposed construction site is possible. Although it will provide several challenges throughout, it opens up the possibility for a new project to be put in place, creating further jobs and potential business opportunities to achieve the desired outcome.

Although the bay has multiple protected habitats and regulated sand flats a material supply barge is the most forward-thinking option. Morecambe's waters are tidal and can be predicted in advance to allow for 2 high water deliveries to the construction site per day.

North Star Projects has provided examples of sea fairing barge workshops and offshore installation barges that would be beneficial for the Eden Project for the North to consider based on low habitat disruption data.

Whilst this hasn’t actively been taken up by Eden as part of their planning proposal - largely due to needing to fit the framework of the council for planning applications - our conversations with them have always been with an open mind. This is what we ask of anyone when thinking about their projects. There is always more than one way, we have proven this time and time again.

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