Case Study


Komatsu is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction, mining and utility equipment, and renowned for its cutting-edge technology and quality. At its 200,000m² plant in Birtley, near Gateshead, Komatsu produces excavators ranging from 20 to 80 tonnes.

THE CHALLENGE: Komatsu’s excavators are built from a huge variety of components imported from Asia – including sheet metal, fuel tanks, hydraulics, engines, motors, operator cabs and excavator arms weighing more than three tonnes. Perfectly timed deliveries are crucial to keep the automated production line going.

THE SOLUTION: Komatsu imports their containers into South Shields. The Port organises steady, planned deliveries to the Birtley plant. The giant excavator arms are devanned and delivered to the factory on the Port’s curtain sided trailers. Completed excavators are shipped out of the Port to various European destinations.

THE OUTCOME: Instead of covering hundreds of road miles from a southern port, all of Komatsu’s Asian freight is now handled by the Port of Tyne, ten miles from the plant. Komatsu has reduced its UK inland carbon footprint by 95% and benefits from a lean and simple supply chain.