Claire and George Hewitt, Hastings Freight 25

Husband and wife duo, George and Claire Hewitt, have completed a management buyout of Hastings Freight Limited (HFL), one of the founding members of Palletways.

The couple said their investment in the Chesterfield-based firm will stabilise the business and provide a strong platform for its future development.

The Hewitts have acquired a 100% shareholding following the retirement of the existing owners. George has been with HFL for nearly 15 years, most recently as its general manager, while Claire joined the operations team five years ago and became the business development manager 18 months ago.

HFL began trading in 1983 and in its early days operated as a general haulier before joining the newly formed Palletways network in 1998. Since then, the company has grown to employ 75 people and operate a fleet of 34 vehicles.

Working with Palletways and other partners, it provides transport across the UK and overseas. The company services Sheffield’s ‘S’ postcodes and some of Doncaster’s ‘DN’ postcodes exclusively for Palletways.

“George and I are passionate about transport and supporting local independent businesses, as well as larger companies, with their transport needs," Claire Hewitt said. "HFL is a steadfast company whose relationships with customers are built upon reliability and communication, and we don’t plan on changing what works. Our employees are the key to this and are what make the business what it is. We were keen to make the MBO happen to ensure that employees are valued for who they are and what they contribute, and we’re delighted to have reached a successful conclusion with the sale.”

George Hewitt added: “There’s no significant or material change to the running of the business and we’ll continue to provide the same quality and service levels going forward. We thank our valued employees and customers for their support during this process, against the backdrop that the challenges recent months have brought. Looking ahead, we’ll keep investing in our people and technology to provide even greater customer service, and to adapt to changing consumer buying patterns, whilst remaining competitive.

“We value our position within our local community and wider haulage industry and recognise our responsibility to ensure we grow the business mindfully, working with sustainable and environmentally- aware suppliers and customers.”

Palletways UK MD Rob Gittins said: “The Palletways network is growing all the time. It continues to go from strength to strength because of companies such as HFL and the passion of people like George and Claire. The MBO is great news for the future of the company and I’m confident it’ll continue to flourish under their strategic direction.”