Robert Burns - Culina

Culina Group has confirmed that Fowler Welch has completed the acquisition of Scottish temperature controlled haulier Robert Burns. Formed in 1984, Robert Burns turns over around £15m a year and runs temperature controlled operations in and out of Scotland with a fleet of 70 vehicles.

Based in Broxburn to the west of Edinburgh, it further complements Fowler Welch’s geographical coverage and that of Culina Group’s overall chilled network, which also includes Culina Logistics, CML, Morgan McLernon and MMID.

“Culina Group is developing a company IT system to allow all of these companies to interchange freight with each other,” Culina Group CEO Thomas van Mourik told MT. “This acquisition will enable us to reload a lot of our trucks that we have in the north.

“It is part of our chilled jigsaw puzzle and gives us a geographical presence in the north. We might buy once or twice more to complete the puzzle.”

Following the acquisition of Eddie Stobart last year and the appointment of William Stobart as Culina Group Deputy CEO, the group is going through a rebrand with new vehicle liveries being introduced designed to bring a consistent look to the Culina Group fleet. This rebrand will mean an end to the famous Stobart red and green livery and the naming of trucks.

“Our whole fleet of 5,500 trucks and 12,000 trailers will be owned by our asset management company which will manage them for all companies in the group,” said van Mourik. “We will always have Stobart livery on the trailers combined with Culina branded tractor units.

“Stobart is a transport business with a bit of warehousing and Great Bear is a warehousing business with a bit of transport so this year we will move warehousing into Great Bear and quite a bit of the transport into Stobart.”

As well as Stobart, Culina Group acquired B2C efulfillment business iForce as part of the GWSA acquisition and van Mourik did not rule out adding a home delivery operation to the Culina Group stable at some point.

“Never say never,” he said. “Wait and see.”