Northern Ireland-based haulier Morgan McLernon, which is a subsidiary of Culina Group, has landed a major “multi-million pound” contract.
The deal comes as Culina Group announced this week the appointment of John Kerrigan to lead the Northern Ireland company, which he will do in addition to his role as chief executive of Culina subsidiary Fowler Welch.
Both moves are part of a major growth drive which has also seen a major investment by Culina in Morgan McLernon’s fleet and infrastructure.
Announcing the contract Culina Group said that Morgan McLernon was entering a new phase, after facing the “difficult” challenges of Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, labour shortages and more recently high inflation and soaring energy costs.
It added that the new deal offers “a massive opportunity for this operation to be completely re-energised”.
Kerrigan brings many years of industry experience and was an integral part in the integration of both the Robsons’ and Eddie Stobart chilled transport operations into Fowler Welch. He also led the successful acquisitions of both AIM Logistics in 2021 and Robert Burns in 2022.
Morgan McLernon’s contract win, which is due to start this month, will see the company transport 80 to 100 loads per week from England to Northern Ireland.
Culina said the deal will complement further new full-load and groupage volume that will be grown through the Irish operation in the coming months, as part of a wider strategy to drive volume growth across the Irish Sea.
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As part of this strategy Fowler Welch is opening a new cross-dock facility in Appleton, Warrington next month. This site will act as the GB consolidation and cross-dock hub for Morgan McLernon, in addition to the volume that they will continue to cross-dock themselves in Northern Ireland.
Morgan McLernon’s fleet is also being expanded with the addition of a number of new trucks which have been arriving at the Northern Ireland site since February.
Kerrigan said: “It has been a difficult few years in the Northern Irish logistics market post Brexit, not to mention the many challenges that the whole of the UK has faced since, and continues to face.
“The Culina Group vision continues to be to operate a successful and sustainable business in Ireland that is there for the long term.
With Morgan McLernon now a solid part of our extended Culina Group family I see Fowler Welch very much as the GB partner for their Northern Irish operation.
We are working in active partnership to create efficient transport flows in and out of Ireland, with Morgan McLernon managing all collection and deliveries in Ireland, and Fowler Welch managing the activity in England and Scotland.”
Kerrigan added: “We will take the time to let these positive developments and this new way of working settle operationally. We will then be considering the long-term location, and investment in facilities and welfare for our colleagues in Northern Ireland.
“I am very confident that these positive developments and our commitment to the Morgan McLernon business will ensure the temperature-controlled vision is realised for Culina Group in Ireland, whilst growth opportunities are explored in other sectors to create further scale and synergies.”