Awards

2012 Haulier of the Year CM Downton profiled

August 3, 2012 Steve Hobson

The 2012 Haulier of the Year, CM Downton, is a family-run firm based in Moreton Valence, Gloucestershire. Despite MD Andy Downton’s self-deprecatory comments about the family just being simple West Country folk, the company is highly respected for its professionalism and consistent strong performance. In an industry characterised by brutally low margins, where hauliers are often confronted with the unpalatable choice of buying unprofitable business or protecting profit at the expense of turnover, Downton has achieved the remarkable feat of […]

Interviews

Wm Armstrong – keeping it in the family

July 18, 2012 Steve Hobson

Haulier Wm Armstrong, based just on the English side of the Scottish border in Longtown near Carlisle, celebrates its 85th anniversary this year, and the third generation of the family running the business today are working hard to ensure the business is handed on to future generations. The famous green livery – which the firm has used ever since William Armstrong acquired his first Model T in 1927 – has long been associated with livestock wagons, but the foot and […]

Interviews

Widdowson builds on Waitrose success

June 15, 2012 Christopher Walton

In April, Leicester-based Widdowson achieved a significant milestone: it became the first third party selected by Waitrose to be the supermarket chain’s official logistics partner in the Midlands. Waitrose has previously nominated carriers only to assist with distribution in the North and South. The move demonstrates how far the operator has come since it started life as a coal merchant in the early 1900s – it is registered as AM Widdowson, which stands for Ada Mary, the wife of the […]

Interviews

Vosa chief prefers carrot to big stick

June 1, 2012 Steve Hobson

In his introduction to Vosa’s recently published 2012/13 business plan, chief executive Alastair Peoples promises the agency’s focus will be “on balancing ‘regulatory’ enforcement interventions with education initiatives to empower the industry to increasingly manage [its] own compliance”. To the glass half empty contingent, this could sound like an alarming budget-driven reduction in enforcement effort just at a time when wafer thin margins must be tempting some cash-strapped operators to cut maintenance budgets and put pressure on drivers to bend […]

Interviews

Ryder on track with Hill Hire integration

March 28, 2012 Justin Stanton

Ryder Europe vice-president and MD David Hunt’s claim that “Ryder is full of the joys of spring”,  is not what MT expects to hear as we meet to discuss the integration of Hill Hire. But like the company he works for, Hunt can pull the occasional surprise. Ryder’s big surprise last year was the £151m acquisition of Hill Hire, announced the day before its 40th birthday in the UK (MT 13 June 2011). This takeover created a rental and leasing […]

Interviews

The great car adventure – John Harvey part 2

March 12, 2012 Steve Hobson

John Harvey recalls Tibbett & Britten’s (T&B) time in the car industry as a “great adventure”; he does not regret moving into the sector, but wishes T&B had exited sooner as he tells Justin Stanton. Ultimately, the Ford contract forced Harvey to announce T&B’s first profit warning just two days after announcing the annual results in 1995, where the outlook had been bright. “The analysts asked: ‘how deep’s the hole?’ and I said: ‘I have no idea.’ That spooked everybody. Again […]

Interviews

Interview with a legend – John Harvey part 1

March 12, 2012 Steve Hobson

A legend, a pioneer, an inspirational leader – just some of the names John Harvey has been called. Justin Stanton caught up with him for an indepth interview. Just about any aspect of transport, logistics and supply chain management you can think of, Harvey has been there, seen it and done it via his stints at Unilever, SPD and Tibbett & Britten (T&B) – and he probably did it first. He was awarded the CBE in 1992 for his services […]

Interviews

Kuehne + Nagel stays on growth track

March 8, 2012 Steve Hobson

Kuehne + Nagel’s acquisition of international groupage specialist RH Freight in March last year caught many in the industry – including Motor Transport it has to be said – by surprise. But it was all part of the Swiss-owned global logistics business’ long term strategy, as Glenn Lindfield, KN’s senior vice president  for contract logistics in North West Europe, tells Steve Hobson Unlike some other logistics firms who spend big money promoting their brands, family-owned Swiss logistics giant Kuehne + […]

Interviews

French Connection

February 23, 2012 Motor Transport

Norbert Dentressangle’s acquisitions of Christian Salvesen in 2007 and TDG in 2011 made the French group’s UK logistics operation a £1bn a year business, representing almost a third of group turnover, and silencing critics who had questioned the company’s commitment to the UK. […]

Interviews

Taking a cool approach to ambient distribution

February 23, 2012 Motor Transport

While Fowler Welch-Coolchain (FWC) has built a successful business in chilled distribution, the company is now looking to expand into bigger – and arguably more profitable – ambient markets. A glance at the business card handed over by Nick Hay – installed as MD in November 2010 – reveals the ‘Coolchain’ has been quietly dropped, although the logo still resembles a basket of fruit and flowers.