Bedfordshire haulier FA Hawkins Transport and sustainable wooden pallets pooler IPP are celebrating the 15th year of their partnership.
IPP is one of Europe’s largest poolers of sustainable wooden pallets, which are used by major customers including PepsiCo and Tayto to transport their products from factory to store.
FA Hawkins moves around 88,000 pallets a week for IPP, and more than 30 people are employed by the company as a direct result of the contract.
The partnership has played a significant role in FA Hawkins’ growth and longevity, which started with one vehicle per day on IPP work and has swelled to between 20 and 28 trucks a day.
The partnership also plays an active role in reducing empty running with IPP’s transport planners working strategically with FA Hawkins to ensure efficient pickup and delivery of everything from cut flowers to paint and crisps, and significantly reducing unnecessary miles.
Eaton Bray-based F.A. Hawkins is a family-owned firm overseen by MD Jim Hawkins, whose grandfather Frederick Alfred Hawkins launched the company in 1926. Jim’s father Peter James Hawkins took over the company in the late 1940s, followed by Jim’s brother, Pete Hawkins, who retired in 2019.
The family-run firm has now entered its fourth generation with Jim’s niece, Lizzie Hawkins, joining him at the helm.
Jim Hawkins said: “We started working with IPP in 2007 after a phone call out of the blue, which has grown so much they are now one of my biggest customers. The work with IPP has played a big role in our company’s growth.
“We are fully loaded nearly all of the time we work for them, which is obviously good for the environment compared with running empty and has a significant impact on the carbon footprint of those goods.
“It’s also very varied work – we supply pallets for fruit growers in Kent to paint suppliers and crisp producers.
“Whenever we’re doing a job for IPP, we dedicate those vehicles to it, which is better for reliability as well as enabling us to backload effectively. We just run everything as efficiently as we possibly can.”
Hawkins also hailed the productive working relationships he enjoys with the IPP team. He said: “IPP is a very easy company to work with. We have a great relationship; the team is very approachable and I get on with everyone there. They are always happy to help.”
David Bage, IPP operations director,, said: “Empty running is an environmentally-damaging and costly process and leads to delivery vehicles clogging up the UK’s motorways when returning to depots without a payload.
“We work closely with our customers and hauliers to co-ordinate the back loading of used pallets on return journeys, eradicating the need for other vehicles to collect them for repair and repatriation.
“FA Hawkins is one of our most successful examples of this type of partnership, providing the essential transport link in the circular economy by delivering, retrieving and repatriating our pallets. Seeing how our working relationship has grown over the last 15 years is testament to this.”