Heathrow today announced that a GRAHAM proposal has been shortlisted to remain in the running to help deliver the expanded airport, signalling the project has reached a new and significant milestone on its path to delivery.
The former Michelin Site in Silverwood Business Park, which once served as the company’s main European manufacturing plant, has made it to the next stage of the process as it showcased a strong base of local support, demonstrated the area’s thriving supply chain, convenient connectivity links and the potential to tap into a skilled workforce.
The site has been selected from a longlist of 65, all of which were visited during a nationwide tour which concluded in the summer of 2018.
The longlisted locations were then all invited to take part in a pre-qualification questionnaire which helped to determine which sites were best placed to be involved in the delivery of Britain’s largest infrastructure project.
In the autumn, GRAHAM will have the opportunity to pitch to the airport’s bosses for its chance to become one of the final four construction centres, to be announced early next year, ahead of work starting in 2021.
The final four sites will become offsite construction centres that will help to deliver Britain’s new runway bringing jobs and economic opportunities to every corner of the country as Heathrow looks to construct as much of the expanded airport offsite as possible. This innovative approach will also help to make the project more affordable and sustainable – by transporting assembled components in consolidated loads.
Commenting on GRAHAM’s progression to the next stage of the process, John McDonald, GRAHAM Group Corporate Development Director, said:
“We are delighted to have been selected to proceed to the next stage of the Heathrow Expansion Logistics Hub competition. We believe our well-structured consortium presents a unique offer with the capacity to help realise Heathrow's vision to create the 'world's best connected' airport in line with its commitment to 'sustainable growth'.
“Coalescing around key partners, our solution offers a long-term strategic vision that could position Heathrow at the cutting edge of innovation and project delivery in modern methods of construction. We are looking forward to developing our proposal further in collaboration with Heathrow during the next phase of the process.
“This is a significant opportunity for us to help to boost productivity, create jobs, supply chain opportunities and leave a skills legacy for future generations in Northern Ireland.”
In addition to the economic opportunities the Logistics Hubs could bring to Northern Ireland, Heathrow’s ongoing Business Summit series is set to take place in Belfast on 17 September 2019.
This summit will provide small businesses throughout the nation with the opportunity to become part of Heathrow’s supply chain ahead of expansion. The summit will give hundreds of SMEs access to one-on-one appointments with Heathrow’s top suppliers.
Speaking at the BCC annual conference Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion, said:
“Our expansion plans are progressing apace and continue to be refined thanks to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. Heathrow is as committed as ever to creating a plan that delivers for every corner of the UK. Logistics hubs are key to achieving that. This innovative approach will be more cost effective, efficient and sustainable, helping to unlock much needed capacity quickly and responsibly.
“Logistics hubs are also integral to harnessing the skills the UK needs post-Brexit. We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector. One in which we’re better utilising new technology and offsite techniques to spread the benefits of major projects like expansion nationwide.”
DUP Leader Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA said:
“I’m glad to see very strong Northern Ireland contenders in the short list for the Heathrow Logistics Hub. If implemented this project will bring huge benefits to industry and business here. Having a centrally located hub will open up new markets and reduce transportation costs, which is good news for business.
“I want to congratulate both GRAHAM at the Michelin Site and MJM Marine at Ballykelly on being shortlisted for this pioneering infrastructure project. I look forward to seeing the delivery of Heathrow's expansion plans so that Northern Ireland can boast of increased connectivity as a result of further, forward thinking investment.”
Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim, Anne Donaghy, said:
"I am delighted the GRAHAM bid, supported by ourselves and our partners, including Silverwood, the Manufacturing Taskforce and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, has passed to the next stage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to play a crucial role in the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
"This excellent close-working relationship between local government and our private sector partners has resulted in this significant step forward in a process which could ultimately deliver an economic boost of £5billion and create 5,000 jobs in Northern Ireland. We look forward to the next stage of the process."
Heathrow will be the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of Logistics Hubs – aiming to build as much of the project offsite as possible.
The hubs will work by pre-assembling components offsite before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow just as they are needed. This method will boost the project’s efficiency and cut emissions by transporting components to site in fewer lorries. Research by WPI Economics revealed that integrating an offsite manufacturing supply chain into a major project has the potential to reduce the overall cost of the project by as much as 25% whilst speeding up delivery by up to 30%.
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