Meachers Global Logistics and Steve Porter Transport Group have launched phase one of a partnership they hope will develop, generating new business and stripping out duplication from their respective networks.

The strategic partnership, which began in earnest this week after months of preparatory work, sees Meachers trunking the Isle of Wight-based Steve Porter Transport’s overnight groupage from Southampton to its Midlands DCs in Northampton and Coventry.

The trunking includes work undertaken by Steve Porter Transport as part of the Fortec pallet network.

In turn, Steve Porter Transport, which acquired the distribution business of Red Funnel Ferries in June 2011 and is the company’s preferred freight partner, will bring in any consignments via Meachers destined for the island.

Malcolm Gibson, MD of Steve Porter Transport told that the companies, who share a mutual customer, got talking about 14 months ago and found “we have a lot in common”.

Central to any partnership was the desire to ensure each operator’s continuing independence.

Garry Whittle, commercial director at Meachers, said: “Although it’s hard to dictate volumes we expect the deal to be in seven figures in terms of value in year one. After this will come more phases supported by significant sales activity as we look to expand the partnership.”

Meachers has recruited five drivers to work in its business and provide specific support for the deal as and when required, while Steve Porter Transport will be upgrading its trailer fleet courtesy of Leighton Buzzard’s BS Trailers Services.

Partnership approach makes sense

Steve Porter chairman of Steve Porter Group said: “As a strong regional player we look forward to enhancing our services by capitalising on their national distribution strength.”

Porter, who since 1981 has grown his business to 40 vehicles and 80 trailers in size, said it was increasingly difficult to grow a business organically, and a partnership approach made perfect sense.

Stuart Terris, MD of Meachers, added: “The alliance is expected to provide significant opportunities for both businesses and we will be looking to promote the commercial advantages to supermarkets, retailers and organisations currently moving significant volumes of cross Solent freight.

James Fulford, Red Funnel’s chief executive welcomed the tie-up, and said he was pleased to offer his support to both organisations.

Picture caption (from left): Stuart Terris, MD of Meachers; Malcolm Gibson, MD of Steve Porter Transport; Gary Whittle, commercial director at Meachers; Steve Porter, chairman of Steve Porter Transport; Lee Hudson, revenue and freight director at Red Funnel; and James Fulford, chief executive of Red Funnel.