Raising efficiency through the roof

31 March 2020

At Cogent Logistics Hub, everything is under (or over) one roof, thanks to a world’s-first rooftop container depot design.

Skyscrapers are commonplace in land-scarce Singapore, but there’s only one 40-storey-tall warehouse and logistics centre that continues to turn heads and raise eyebrows. The reason why Cogent Logistics Hub towers over other factories and warehouses is because its rooftop has been cleverly converted into a massive storage space for up to 16,000 20-foot shipping containers.

A standard 20-foot container is typically over 6m long, almost 2.5m wide, and close to 2.6m tall. It weighs about 2,000kg when empty. And at Cogent Logistics Hub, 15 of these containers are stacked, one on top of another, in countless rows on the roof of its 1.4-million square foot warehouse.

This massive undertaking required a team of qualified consultants from various fields. As architects of the project, we collaborated with the client and the broader team to overcome numerous design challenges, including a slight vertical deviation of the building. To ensure structural integrity, we worked with the main contractor and crane installer to introduce a corbel, runner beam and bridge overhead crane. We also had to pre-empt toppling issues. On the recommendation of the wind tunnel consultant, the deflection fins were seamlessly incorporated into our design to address the issue.

By working together, we successfully placed Cogent’s container depot on the free airspace above its warehouse. This has greatly reduced its land use and the associated operating cost. The innovative design also drives greater supply chain efficiency — after the contents have been offloaded at the warehouse, the empty shipping containers are simply moved to the rooftop, rather than transferred to a separate depot.

This daring idea, together with a bold design and deep engineering prowess, has earned Cogent patent grants in USA, Singapore, Europe, China and Hong Kong.

This project is by AC Consortium, a subsidiary of RSP Group.