If urban warehouse operators want to avoid costly legal disputes and be seen as good neighbours careful consideration must be given to the design of the facility and the mix of material handling equipment that operates outside and in, says Paul Murray, JCB’s Teletruk General Manager.
“Given that logistics hubs may need to operate 24 hours a day, it is essential that every effort is made to ensure that materials handling equipment in use within any urban warehouse is as quiet as possible,” he says. “Site managers must also ensure that they are using the cleanest machinery available and be certain that it complies with the minimum emission standard requirement for the area in which they operate – especially in higher density environments.”
Two of the most common causes of friction between industrial site operators and the local community are concerns about noise pollution and air quality. Even very low levels of noise can disturb sleep. With between 28,000 and 36,000 UK deaths attributed to long-term exposure to pollution each year, air quality anxiety is a concern.
“Emissions, noise and the need to maximise all available space are as important as productivity and running cost considerations when it comes to choosing materials handling equipment for an urban warehouse operation,” says Murray.
With the relentless shift towards online shopping and the trend among grocery retailers to refocus on convenience food outlets in towns and city centres, supply chain planners have recognised that logistics facilities sited within major conurbations have a key role to play in the drive for faster e-retail order delivery times and more efficient stock replenishment. However in the quest for profit, local considerations must remain a factor.
“Ever-tighter regulations and controls are likely to be announced in the near future and those operators of urban logistics sites should be planning ahead to ensure that the materials handling equipment they use is compatible with the local environment – and that means choosing machinery that is both quiet and emission free.”