DPD was once again a multiple winner at the 2019 Motor Transport Awards, picking up two more awards to add to the 27 it had already won. Read on to see who received the trophies from host Omid Djalili at the Grosvenor House Hotel last night.

Haulier of the Year sponsored by Volvo Trucks

Winner: Culina Group

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Culina has grown to become one of the UK’s leading FMCG logistics specialists.

One of our judges commended the firm for an “outstanding” 2018, both in terms of growth through further acquisition and continued improvements in profitability.

Led by CEO Thomas van Mourik, Culina’s stats are impressive: turnover has risen to £650m a year, it employs 6,700 people across 62 sites with 8 million sq ft of warehousing, and the fleet stands at 1,200 trucks (which are replaced every two years) and 2,000 trailers.

Our judges noted that Culina was an early adopter of Earned Recognition and had very well managed business processes. They also commended the firm for pioneering use of new technology and innovation, and said it had managed the integration of a number of acquisitions well.

Operational Excellence Award sponsored by The Algorithm People

Winner: Wren Kitchens

Wren Kitchens Op Ex

Just as the kitchen is the heart of any home, so compliance and operational excellence are at the heart of any well run, sustainable and profitable transport business.

Wren Kitchens is a young business founded just a decade ago, and therefore has had the advantage – but also the challenge – of establishing systems and processes to encourage safe and efficient transport.

The own-account operator describes its approach to this as evolutionary. It continually seeks opportunities to streamline its business, while providing greater employee satisfaction and motivation, improving the customer experience and maintaining the highest levels of compliance.

That’s no mean feat, given that its distinctive green trucks and vans delivered more than 70,000 kitchens last year and the company has been hitting a self-set target of 20% annual turnover growth in the past few years.

Our judges said the business was dynamic and fast growing. “Customer service is at the heart of the operation and Wren understands that in order to deliver it has to invest in its systems and people at every level,” said one.

“We have come a long way in nine years and I am so proud and grateful to every member of the Wren team which continues to work tirelessly,” said Rafal Klimek, the firm’s manufacturing and logistics director – a sentiment our judges agreed with.

Service to Industry sponsored by Aquarius IT

Winner: Carole Walker, former CEO of Hermes Europe

Carole Walker

After much debate, the Service to Industry Award was a unanimous choice – Carole Walker, until recently CEO of Hermes Europe, who was described by one judge as “the most outstanding CEO I have ever met”.

After 31 years with Hermes parent Otto Group, Walker took early retirement this summer to spend more time on her smallholding and travel the world. “Everyone who knows me is aware of just how much Hermes means to me, and that the decision I took was by no means an easy one,” she said.

Walker started out as a graduate with mail order company Grattan, becoming operations director of Hermes UK (formerly Parcelnet) in 2001. Three years later she was made MD and in 2009 took the top job of CEO. In 2017 her success in the UK led to her being promoted to CEO of Hermes Europe.

Walker developed Hermes into one of the UK’s leading home delivery specialists. She was a fierce advocate of the sometimes controversial model of using self-employed ‘lifestyle’ couriers for final-mile deliveries, who, she told MT in 2010, were “the best thing about Hermes” and “set us apart from the other home delivery companies”.

The flexible working allowed by Hermes enables people with childcare and other commitments to fit the delivery work around their busy lives; 60% of its couriers are women.

“I am deeply proud of what the teams I have worked in have achieved,” said Walker.

Best Use of Technology Award sponsored by Bridgestone 

Winner: UPS

UPS Best Use of Tech

To overcome the challenge of charging an entire fleet of electric vehicles within existing grid capacity restraints, UPS partnered with UK Power Networks and Cross River Partnership on the Smart Electric Urban Logistics (SEUL) project, an initiative to develop radical new charging and battery storage technology for urban electric fleets.

The resulting ‘smart grid’, a world-first operating system installed in UPS’s Camden depot in north London, is capable of simultaneously recharging an entire electric fleet using artificial intelligence that responds to network grid capacity, thus electrifying UPS’s central London fleet without the need to upgrade the energy grid.

UPS said the SEUL project marked a major turning point in the cost-effective deployment of electric vehicles worldwide. It has shown that while the initial investment required for fleet electrification may be high, the total cost of electric vehicle ownership is significantly reduced for businesses, once ﷯the direct and indirect costs and savings over the lifetime of the vehicle have been factored in.

Judges liked the fact that UPS had not only developed a “world-leading” solution but also wanted to share its knowledge with the industry.

Home Delivery Operator of the Year sponsored by Cartwright Group 

Winner: DPD UK

DPD Home Delivery

Since 2013, DPD has captured 38% of all new home delivery revenue in the market, becoming what it terms the “carrier of choice” for online retailers. It has grown by 136% since 2012, with nine consecutive years of profit growth, which it attributes to “giving e-commerce retailers innovations that home shoppers love”.

The company’s 13,000-strong team delivers 250 million parcels a year for 8,000 customers, including brands like ASOS, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Gousto, EE and Nike.

DPD’s entry focused on five key areas: new thinking and processes that have improved service across high-volume peaks; the DPD app, which gives end recipients “more delivery options than anyone else” and other new services co-created with consumers; the launch of the UK’s first zero-emission parcel depot in Westminster; the company’s health and safety achievements; and an “inspirational new book for our people”, written by CEO Dwain McDonald, which reminds employees of the firm’s customer-centric culture.

The judges said DPD fulfilled every aspect of the criteria and were impressed it was not afraid to critique itself over a previously challenging period. “It is at the top of its game,” one said. Another added that electric micro-hubs were world-leading and that DPD was “definitely one to watch”.

Apprenticeship of the Year sponsored by CBRE

Winner: Nagel Langdons

Nagel Langdons Apprenticeship

After reading Nagel Langdons’ winning entry our judges were bowled over. “An excellent scheme and incredible success rates,” said one. “The Nagel Langdons academy is legendary and deserves recognition,” said another.

Part of Nagel-Group, the largest food logistics network in Europe, Nagel Langdons specialises in temperature-controlled distribution. Under the government’s Trailblazer apprenticeship programme, it recruits trainee drivers, warehouse operatives, workshop technicians and office staff, with apprenticeships lasting 12 to 36 months.

The legendary National Apprenticeship Academy, run in partnership with N-Gaged Training, has seen 188 apprentices successfully graduate over the past five years, with all finding employment.

MD Arran Osman said: “As a significant employer with operations across the country, we have always harboured an underlying sense of genuine duty to offer a progressive vocational pathway and professional development. Apprenticeships provide a successful platform in which to provide a structured entry point into the business.” The judges praised the company’s commitment to its apprentices and the number of apprentices achieving a distinction grade. They also noted the “solid” diversity of the apprentice intake, reflecting the areas in which Nagel Langdons operates.

One highlighted the “serious commitment” of the company management to the scheme, adding: “The sense of commitment in the MD’s testimonial demonstrates ownership at the top of the organisation of what must be a significant overhead for the business.”

Fleet Truck of the Year sponsored by Texaco Delo

Winner: DAF XF

DAF XF Fleet Truck

DAF has won the coveted Motor Transport Fleet Truck of the Year award more than any other manufacturer and although the XF is no spring chicken, a major overhaul a couple of years ago has helped it do so again.

Imagine a truck with equally high levels of driver and operator appeal. According to our panel, that’s exactly what DAF’s XF offers. “I can’t think of another truck that scores so highly from a driver acceptance point of view, yet ticks all of my boxes too,” claimed one fleet operator. “They’re comfortable and spacious, and the drivers love them,” added another. “In fact, so do I, because together with Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, DAF is head and shoulders above all of the others on purchase price.”

We frequently hear that the XF represents great value for money, and there’s no denying that the roomy cab is incredibly well specced and comfortable.

Widely considered an industry leader, DAFAid dealt with 100,000 call-outs last year, including to other marques and trailers. Operators waited an average of 46 minutes from call registered to arrival, and 80% of repairs were carried out at the roadside.

DAF’s dealer network was described as “brilliant” too.

“We find that the latest ones are great on fuel,” was another comment, presumably relating to the numerous improvements in fuel economy introduced in 2017 with the introduction of the new generation trucks.

Fleet Van of the Year sponsored by Close Brother Vehicle Hire 

Winner: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes Sprinter fleet van

If there’s a sense of déjà vu as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter takes the award for Fleet Van of the Year at the Motor Transport Awards, it’s because this is exceptionally familiar territory for the large German van.

The Sprinter has now claimed the award for the tenth time, and continues to grow in popularity with our judging panel. From the enormous breadth of the range to the unwavering development and support from the manufacturer, the Sprinter and its back-up define what an operator needs from a van.

The Sprinter appeals to just about everyone. Our judges spoke highly of it for its leading technology, its consistently strong residual values, its high reliability and its excellent maintenance costs. One judge summed it up neatly by saying: “It’s the combination of the van and the network,” and few would disagree. While the panel acknowledges the strength of the competition the Sprinter now faces, the Mercedes-Benz wins time and time again for its driver acceptance, back-up and innovation.

Partnership Award sponsored by The Commercial Vehicle Show 

Winner: The Haulage Holdings Group/Leo Group

Haulage Holdings Organisation

In October 2013, waste and recycling firm Leo Group and The Haulage (Holdings) Organisation begin a partnership in the demanding animal by-products sector to address the key areas of route to factory, fallen stock returns (livestock carcasses), production, fulfilment and warehousing.

It came after Leo Group gave Haulage Holdings a contract to take over ownership and control of its transport division.

The partners opened a new DC in Halifax in 2014 and development of a bespoke transport management system began.

Leo Group, which also produces poultry and tallow oils, saw an opportunity to grow this side of its business too and the partners now service sectors as diverse as power stations, cosmetics and the pet food industry.

Haulage Holdings now collects from farms throughout the UK and has more than 7,000 on its customer database.

“The comprehensive nature of this project marked this out as a strong contender,” said one of our judging panel.

“A great collaboration and impressive growth,” summarised another, underlining why this is our Partnership Award winner for 2019.

Low Carbon Award sponsored by Fraikin

Winner: Guernsey Post

Gurnsey PostElectricVan1

Guernsey Post is a logistics and delivery company based in the Channel Islands. Its business employs more than 240 people with annual revenue exceeding £30m. Each year, in conjunction with its global partners, it exports over 23 million items worldwide and delivers 17 million items to more than 30,000 addresses.

In 2016, Guernsey Post experienced a shift in its business model, with a volume increase of 10% across its parcels division attributed to online shopping and new trading relationships and an 11% decline in traditional letter deliveries as consumers embraced digital substitutes. It realised that its separate parcels and letter delivery networks were no longer fit for purpose.

In 2016 it set up Project Green Fleet, resulting in a significant rationalisation of its network, which has reduced overall mileage by 15%. It now runs a fleet of 82 vehicles, predominantly Nissan E-NV200s, and by summer this year these will all be powered entirely by electricity.

The judges said Guernsey Post’s entry demonstrated a “superbly executed project that took staff and customers with it on its journey”.

They felt it was an excellent example of a transformative project to achieve business and environmental goals and hailed it as “an extremely bold and innovative solution to reduce emissions”.

Innovation Award sponsored by Goodyear

Winner: Brigade Electronics

Brigade ElectronicsQVSvanInnovation 002

Brigade’s winning submission in this category for its Quiet Vehicle Sounder (QVS) was described by our judges as “a good, clear presentation, with fact-based research and a no-nonsense approach”.

It is the near-silent approach of electric vehicles (EVs), which can endanger pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users, that prompted Brigade – pioneer of the reversing alarm – to begin the nine-year process of developing the QVS.

With around 11 million EVs set to take to UK roads by 2030, and legislation coming into force this September requiring new hybrid and EVs to fit warning sounders, Brigade set out to find a solution to this rapidly growing safety issue.

The QVS – which sounds like a low hum – is in fact more complicated than it appears. Blended tones and frequencies are used to ensure the sound is distinctive without being irritating and that it can be heard clearly in close proximity while being less noticeable at greater distances.

The sound is directional, allowing pedestrians to judge where a vehicle is, as well as varying in pitch and tone as the vehicle speeds up or slows down.

Our judging panel praised the simplicity of the solution to a relatively new problem. “A small business has taken on a global challenge and produced something that will save numerous lives,” said one of our judges.

Another commented: “Having been in London electric cabs in which the drivers have reported more ‘near misses’ I can definitely see the need.”

Technical Excellence Award sponsored by Hankook Tyre UK 

Winner: Cartwright Group

Cartwright Group Tech Ex

The tunnel leading to Dublin docks, which has a height limit of 4.65m, has caused many a headache for UK operators wanting to run double-deck trailers into the Republic of Ireland.

So it was no over-statement when Cartwright’s low-height refrigerated double-deck trailer was hailed as a ‘game-changer’ by one of its major customers running into the Republic of Ireland. A typical double-deck capable of carrying 44 standard 1,830mm tall cages on both decks would be almost 4.9m high, after all.

Cartwright’s technical director Lionel Curtis came up with a solution that shaved 200mm off the height of the trailer without compromising on structural integrity or practicality, using super-slim panels for the roof, a strong but slim floor and insulated wheel pans on the underside of the floor.

The trailer retains its lifting second deck and so allows the operator to replicate its UK operations in the Republic of Ireland.

Judges said this was a clever solution to the problem and noted that many of these innovations could be carried over into 4m high fridge trailers to get the benefits of reduced fuel consumption.

Team of the Year sponsored by Hiab

Winner: Collett & Sons

CollettSons DeliveringWillenhall1 Team

In a very strong category that was hard to call for our judges, heavy haulage specialist Collett & Sons came out on top with an impressive entry describing a unique project to deliver three 169-tonne electrical transformers for the National Grid in just four weeks.

The Collett team had only six months to plan and execute the three moves, which involved shifting the transformers a total of 270km from ports to substations. Two moves took place from Ellesmere Port, one 107km to Stoke-on-Trent and the other 145km to Willenhall, while the third was a short 20km haul from Portsmouth to Lovedean.

As well as transporting the transformers, the Collett team had to arrange a 1,200-tonne mobile crane to load and unload the transformers at either end of the moves.

The judges said the project was extremely challenging, especially as these high profile moves had attracted a lot of publicity and left the team under great pressure to deliver. “Even for a company that specialises in the transportation of heavy loads this was a great team effort,” was a typical comment.

Business Excellence Award sponsored by Hireco

Winner: Whirlpool UK

Whirlpool Busi Exc

Whirlpool UK is the only major domestic appliance manufacturer to manage a home-delivery service direct to consumers.Its logistics division, Hotpoint Home Solutions (HHS), is one of the largest movers of white goods in the UK as a consequence, delivering one million products to consumers’ homes and small trade annually. Despite this, its fleet statistics and training activities are impressive.

The process at HHS is ‘end to end’ and encompasses everything from when the customer first places their order right through to unpacking, installation, removal of their old machine and packaging for recycling.

Through HHS, Whirlpool provides a seven-day-a-week service. Following expansion of its offer in 2017, it has extended the cut-off time for next-day delivery from midday to 6pm.

The operator’s principle strategy during 2018 was ‘business excellence = people excellence’, along with a focus on corporate social responsibility, which formed the core of its award-winning entry.

Whirlpool has a purpose-built training academy featuring classrooms as well as a live training home, which lets staff gain invaluable first-hand experience for their day-to-day jobs back in the real world.

“Would I like to deal with them? Absolutely. From the customer’s point of view this is an excellent business,” commented one of our judges.

Customer Care Award sponsored by Isuzu Truck 

Winner: DPD UK


DPD has now won this award in five of the last six years and the parcels delivery market leader continues to impress our judges with its relentless focus on its retail customers – and perhaps more importantly, on their customers, the consumers.

A series of innovations has made DPD the UK’s stand-out parcels carrier and last year it delivered 250 million items for 8,000 customers. But the peak in 2017 led to it slipping below its own high standards, with first time delivery rates down to 96.5% compared with its KPI of 99% and its Net Promoter score slipping from 66 to 63.

CEO Dwain McDonald immediately made it his mission to put the shine back on DPD’s performance, launching a series of initiatives across the business.

As a result, peak 2018 saw service levels exceed the KPI, with 99.8% of the 38 million parcels delivered on time, keeping all its major retail customers happy and with DPD into 2019.

Judges were impressed by an entry that was well up to DPD’s usual high standards and showed that, even after six years of solid growth, the company still regards customer service as a top priority.

Training Award sponsored by Palletforce

Winner: ArrowXL


The winning submission from ArrowXL gained approval from our judges for showing a clear needs analysis and an innovative approach to training in the aftermath of a devastating fire at its Worcester HQ in 2017 that destroyed many of its training records.

ArrowXL’s head of resource and development Zoe Sinclair took responsibility for training in January 2018 and since then, the firm’s training programme has risen like a phoenix from the ashes.

The centrepiece of its programme is a new £50,000 Development Academy, which it opened in May 2018. This has allowed ArrowXL to centralise its training programme and deliver over 1,200 training sessions in courses such as Driver CPC, materials handling equipment, health and safety and management training.

The academy houses a purpose-built apartment where specialist delivery crews can practice skills such as installing and plumbing white goods and assembling furniture.

The results have been far-reaching, the company reports, with significant improvements in service levels, employee engagement and staff retention levels.

Judges praised ArrowXL’s ability to significantly improve its training programme after such a traumatic event and were impressed by the practical training provided at the academy.

One described it as a really strong entry that demonstrated innovative thinking to make the most of training time by giving staff hands-on experience in a safe environment.

Livery of the Year sponsored by Prometeon Pirelli Truck

Winner: Travis Perkins

Travis PerkinsUSE

Our judges loved Travis Perkins’ ‘Living Livery’ campaign.

The builders’ merchant aims to raise the profile of the charities it supports through its liveries, describing them as “a bridge between our charities and a target audience through the passing of knowledge and awareness between the driver and those who are visually drawn to the artwork”.

To this end the company has decked out a number of trucks with livery representing Mind, Prostate Cancer UK and the Alzheimer’s Society, while at the same time educating its drivers to be ambassadors for the charities.

The charities represented are pleased with the Living Livery campaign, with a spokesperson for Mind saying: “Awareness-raising is a key priority for our strategic partnership as we work together to support the one in four people that will experience a mental health problem in any given year.”

The judging panel liked the way the campaign reached out to the community and used drivers as ambassadors.

One judge commented: “A very positive message with target audiences linked to issues associated with the industry.”

Urban Delivery Operator of the Year sponsored by Prohire 

Winner: O'Donovan Waste Disposal

O'Donovan Urban Delivery

Family firm O’Donovan Waste Disposal employs 165 staff, and runs a fleet of 95 HGVs across six depots in London with a clear focus on safety and efficiency in its urban operation.

The company has held its FORS Gold standard for eight years and worked closely with the CLOCS team to help shape ideas for improved, safer urban truck designs, itself being an early adopter of direct vision, low-entry cabs on its fleet. It also places a significant emphasis on training and ensures its drivers take part in courses such as LoCITY Driving and security/counterterrorism best practice.

MD Jacqueline O’Donovan sits on the TfL Quiet Deliveries working group, where she ensures innovations shared from other industries are adopted or applied to the company’s fleet.

The judges praised O’Donovan Waste Disposal for being a family firm willing to devote considerable time and financial resources to mitigating its impact on the urban environment in terms of safety, noise and pollution. “This makes them our inaugural winner of the Urban Operator category and a role model, not just for London but for hauliers across the country,” they said.

Fleet Van Operator of the Year sponsored by Renault Trucks

Winner: City Plumbing Supplies

City Plumbing SuppliesFleet Van Op

Picking City Plumbing Supplies as the winner in this category our panel of judges praised the company’s “robust, professional and clear processes” and the “excellent use of IT and telematics, not least in improving control of a scattered network”.

Over the last three years, City Plumbing Supplies took its newly divisionalised company comprising 370 UK and Ireland operating centres to a position of - in its own words - “industry leading transport management and excellence”.

City operates 679 vehicles across all of its operating centres and managing those all remotely was a huge challenge for a small team that it overcame through the ACCESS operational excellence programme.

ACCESS was introduced by the company’s newly appointed head of fleet, Richard Horton, the goal was to ensure City’s customers have ‘access’ to the best delivery service in the industry.

Judges were impressed by the steady reduction in tachograph and other compliance infringements, down 75% over three years.

“A very good submission that for a smaller company exemplified the professional approach they have adopted and the successful results they have achieved,” said one judge.

Safety in Operation Award sponsored by VisionTrack

Winner: Greenergy Flexigrid

Greenergy Flexigrid Safety

Naming fuel distributor Greenergy winner in this category, our judges said it had demonstrated a top-down approach to safety, with a wide range of initiatives across the business yielding impressive results.

Established in 2012, the company provides UK-wide fuel haulage to Greenergy and third-party customers with 133 fuel tankers.

When in-sourcing its haulage operations, Greenergy Flexigrid broke the industry mould, setting up a partnership with drivers who own 25% of the business through an employee benefit trust.

The company has also adopted a highly collaborative approach to safety, involving continuous direct interaction between management and workforce. This has resulted in greater visibility and control, allowing them to improve safety and service together.

The judges were particularly struck by the ownership model, which gives drivers a share of the company, as well as by the CEO issuing his mobile number to all staff.

“The ethos and culture of transparency and collaboration towards health and safety is clearly portrayed in this submission,” remarked one judge. “The top-down support was encouraging with clear and positive results from the initiatives.”