Construction materials producer Benders Sverige AB recently entered into an agreement with the municipality of Umeå for the acquisition of a large site. This is to be the object of a logistics investment. The goal is to use a train solution to replace long-haul lorry traffic to Norrland, thereby thoroughly strengthening market presence in this northern area.
Benders has a number of factories in southern Sweden. Their traffic volumes northwards are constantly rising. In line with its environmental goals, Benders is keen to now create the right conditions for sustainable deliveries to its northern markets.
“Thanks to many large industrial investments, Norrland is currently growing rapidly. We’re seeing increasing demand for our products. The market is also looking for sustainable solutions,” reveals Christer Hofling, Benders’ supply chain manager.
Train traffic is the key to sustainability
Initially, the Umeå investment is a site of around 65,000 m² that already has rail tracks. However, Benders also has an option for a further area that is directly adjacent and roughly the same size. The plan is to create a logistics centre that will warehouse Benders’ wide ranges.
Three of the company’s facilities already have rail tracks. These are Åstorp, Uddevalla and, just outside Stockholm, Bålsta. From the Hjo and Götene factories, there is a train solution based in Skövde.
“As early as 2010, we began running our own train between the Bålsta factory and the warehouse depot in Kongsvinger, Norway. Since then, we have worked intensively on transferring as much transport as possible to rail. This has been in collaboration with, for example, Green Cargo,” continues Christer. He adds that rocketing fuel costs are also driving development towards sustainable solutions.
Local distribution networks taking shape – Preparing for electric lorries
“In Umeå, we’re establishing a local distribution network for customers in an approximately 250 km radius. This includes places such as Luleå and Sundsvall. In the long term, Vasa in Finland will also be included via ferry. Our target is that, as soon as possible, only fossil-free fuel will be used for transport here. Vehicle manufacturers’ solutions are not quite ready yet, but development is rapid and we want to be a part of it. Whether we’ll be using electricity, biogas or hydrogen, only time will tell,” says Christer.
New concept – Possible production in Umeå
The size and structure of the Umeå facility will be decided before this summer. Discussion around a concept that is new for Benders has just been initiated with external stakeholders.
“We also want to offer other companies sustainable warehousing and logistics solutions here. The volume of interest will affect the structure of the facility. We are sure there is a solid foundation. In the slightly longer term, when the market is right, there may even be a production facility in Umeå. Space for such is included in the plans for a logistics centre,” comments Christer.
Major positive impact for the environment
Benders estimates that, as soon as year one, around 25,000 tonnes of products will pass through the facility. This equates to taking almost 700 diesel-fuelled lorry-based transport runs off the roads and, consequently, losing up to 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
“We want to be at the cutting edge and are convinced that this is the right way ahead,” concludes Christer, who hopes that building can start this year and that the facility will be taken into use no later than the start of 2023.
Christer Hofling, tel. +46 (0)10-888 03 10, firstname.lastname@example.org