£176m Calais project connects UK to Russia

£176m Calais project connects UK to Russia : French property developer DCB International was in London last week to talk about Calais Premier, a new logistics project which is set to become one of the first direct gateways for goods distribution between the UK and continental Europe.

Calais Premier is the biggest logistics project in northern France, with a total surface area of 160 hectares. The chosen site is the industrial zone Turquerie, which stretches along the Calais-Dunkirk railway line and is ideally placed between Calais Port and the Channel Tunnel.

The Calais urban agglomeration community, Cap Calaisis, has chosen the Lyon property development company DCB International for the construction of Calais Premier. The first phase of the project, a surface area of 50 hectares is due for completion by 2014. This first site will be dedicated to logistics activities and transport services, and is expected to have 220,000 sq m of logistics warehouses, 50,000 sq m of industrial parks, and 11,000 sq m of commercial property.

According to Didier Caudard-Breille, managing director of DCB International, the first phase of the Calais Premier project will create “thousands of new jobs” and will bring in £176m worth of investment. By the second phase, this figure could reach up to £264m.

The scale of the Calais Premier project will have a direct effect on the development of the Calais infrastructure. Cap Calaisis is planning to invest £1.8m to create a railway junction at the site as well as modernising the whole Calais-Dunkirk railway line. In addition, the Calais 2015 Port Project, worth £350m, will extend the port to twice its size, making Calais Europe’s central communications point.

All of the above developments will constitute a direct entrance point to England from Europe. “With this project,” stated the mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, “Calais will assert its strategic position as a European crossroads.

The economic development agency Calais Promotion played a key role in finding investors to take on this project, and in finalising negotiations. Initial contact has already been made with potential clients, in particular, suppliers in the automobile sector and British mass-market suppliers.

German company CargoBeamer [www.cargobeamer.com] made a joint presentation with DCB International as it is targeting the UK logistics industry with an innovative system which lifts unmodified lorries – also known as semitrailers and megatrailers – onto trains, when its new facility at the Calais Premier logistics park opens.

The system will create a ‘rail motorway’ connecting the UK and France with Eastern Europe and Russia, freeing up heavily congested roads, and offering more profitable transport to hauliers.

CargoBeamer director Michael Baier said: “CargoBeamer offers the only fully-automated system for transferring non-craneable semitrailers onto the railway and vice-versa. Within one of our CargoGates, we can shift up to 10 times more trailers to trains than a crane terminal can operate. We have chosen to base our facility at Calais Premier as it’s strategically an important location, close to the UK and the extensive European rail network.”

Currently only a fraction of road transport volume can be craned, and existing systems have high operating costs and take several hours to load. The CargoBeamer technology uses parallel, rather than sequential, loading, meaning 98% of non-craneable trailers can be on the train within 15 minutes.

Additionally, it allows a change of railway gauge, thereby easing transport between countries.

The firm’s goal is to have 75 of its CargoGates in Europe, creating a network of all freight centres and connecting all European cities, from Glasgow in the west to Moscow and Istanbul in the east.

Calais-Premier

Source : SHD Logistics

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