Hanwha Flexible Warehouse Storage Case Study

Hanwha Q CELLS is one of the world's leading solar companies.  In January 2014, they needed a flexible warehouse storage base near Stretham, UK, for a series of consignments of palletised solar panels, needed for the construction of a nearby solar farm.

With thousands of solar panels arriving in the UK from Germany imminently, Hanwha Q CELLS realised that weeks of severe weather meant construction of a new solar facility could not begin on time. As a result they needed to find flexible warehouse storage facilities close to the site where the pallets of solar panels could be stored.

The storage period was unknown, but it would be until conditions had improved sufficiently for construction of the new solar farm to begin so the solar panels could be deployed to site.

The temporary warehouse facilities were required immediately and the provider would need to offer flexible terms for the storage, handling and transportation of the products.

Following a recommendation and introduction from a fellow Palletline member, Hanwha Q CELLS approached Masters Logistical.

The Requirement

Unprecedented levels of rain and the resulting standing groundwater in the weeks prior to the scheduled construction date meant that the intended solar farm site was waterlogged.

During early telephone and email negotiations in January 2014 it was established that 1,800 pallets would need to be received into the warehouse, stored on a temporary basis, and then delivered via a maximum of six articulated loads per day to the construction site.

It was envisaged that as one load of pallets was shipped out to site, the next load would arrive into storage until required on site.

However as construction could not begin due to the weather, the outward deliveries could not be made and so the space for the next pallets could not free up.

This meant that an undefined and constantly changing amount of additional pallet capacity would potentially be needed over a period of weeks.

Why Hanwha Q CELLS Chose Masters Logistical

Following a site visit, Hanwha Q CELLS selected Masters Logistical as its warehouse and transportation partner for three key reasons:

  • Location: Masters' excellent location, being close to Felixstowe, the A14 and the solar farm construction site;
  • Flexibility and responsiveness: Master's flexible and accommodating approach towards Hanwha Q CELLS' potentially fast-changing receiving, storage and delivery requirements;
  • Integrated service: the fact that Masters could store Hanwha's products on a flexible basis and transport them to the construction site as required.

Key Outcomes

The intended construction site was sufficiently dry for construction to commence by March 2014. Masters Logistical then commenced delivery of the solar panels to site, but due to the delays, Hanwha Q CELLS were now under pressure to complete the installation quickly to get back on schedule.

This in turn increased pressure on Masters Logistical, who were now required to increase deliveries from 6 to 12 full loads per day in order to meet the revised construction timetable.
In total, Masters Logistical received 94,000 solar panels from Germany into the warehouse, stored the panels for a number of weeks while the construction site came into service and then delivered each shipment on time from the warehouse to the site as required.

It was a very complex and challenging project, but one Masters Logistical was able to deliver on in full.

Sebastian Paul, Project Manager of Hanwha Q CELLS says:

"We appreciate the highly flexible approach of Masters Logistical for their highly flexible approach in helping us address our storage and transportation requirements in very difficult circumstances brought about by extremely bad weather.

Without Masters we would have faced significant extra cost. They went to extraordinary lengths to support us, resulting in significant benefits to both ourselves and our clients.

On top of that, they provided all advice and assistance in a calm and professional way at each step of the way, a testament to their profound knowledge and experience of warehousing and logistics."

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