Welch’s Transport has laid down foundations for the future with the appointment of fourth-generation family member Chris Welch as its commercial director.

Welch, who is the great-grandson of founder Gordon Welch and son of MD Jim Welch, joined the Cambridgeshire-based family firm in 2014.

His previous posts include operations director at DHL in Cambridge and general manager at Dial-a-TV in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Speaking to MT, MD Jim Welch said his son’s appointment as commercial director was part of a succession plan. He said: “We have to plan for the future and although it’s at an early stage we’re in the process of moving to the fourth generation of the business.

Welch said family members are expected to earn their place in the firm. “Chris has learnt the business from the bottom up. He’s done some driving, got to know all our customers and he is at the point where he is ready to step up and take on some responsibility.”

As commercial director Chris Welsh will help expand the company’s customer base, which includes Paperchase, Hamleys, Tarmac, Cemex and Scott Group.

Jim Welch said the company, which specialises in general haulage, palletised freight, contract distribution, hazardous goods and warehousing, has experienced strong revenue growth since its relocation in 2015 with turnover up 15% year-on-year.

“Some of that is down to existing customers expanding their business and some down to new customers and you could argue that the new facilities make it an easier sell.”

Welch’s Transport is on a drive to expand its geographical spread of customers. “Most of our customers are quite local but we are getting new customers who are further afield and we’re well placed to expand along the M11 and the M25, if we can find the right size of customer,” said Welch.

With an increasing amount of deliveries into London and other cities the company is refreshing its 70-strong fleet of Dafs and Renault trucks to bring them up to Euro-6 standards.

An apprenticeship programme launched five years ago is starting to pay dividends, Welch added, with the first cohort of 15 apprentices now fully fledged Class One drivers.

“It’s expensive, but it’s the right thing to do. We can whinge about the driver shortage and wait for the government to do something or get out there and do it.”

In its most recent annual results the operator's turnover and profit was up.