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The new owner of Osborne Motor Transport is looking to grow the firm’s turnover by £1m to £4.5m over the next three years, expand its newly liveried fleet and move to new premises.

The Tyne and Wear-based haulage company also recently leapt from silver to platinum status as a Pallet Track member, which owner Richard Preston says reflects the changes he and his management team have implemented since he bought the business in October last year.

Entrepreneur Preston, who also owns Lincolnshire County Couriers, bought Osborne Motor Transport from founder Stan Kidney, who was looking to sell after 42 years at the helm.

Preston said: “I wanted to buy a company with a structured management team in place that was experienced and had a stable set of drivers and warehouse workers and Stan wanted to sell the company to someone who would carry on the legacy.

“It is a fantastic business and I also liked the fact the company was a member of Pallet Track which I believe is at the high end of the pallet network spectrum.”

Following the acquisition Preston’s first move was to look at where opportunities lay both with existing customers and potential customers in the region.

“For example we have a 28,000sq ft warehouse which was only a third utilised - we installed new racking and made our customers aware of this facility – some had been with us ten years and did not know we had this to offer.”

As a result, within two weeks, the company had landed an extra 300 pallets.

Encouraging staff to make customers aware of the firm’s various services also resulted in one customer switching suppliers after being made aware that the company had a crane vehicle.

“And then the pandemic hit,” Preston said, “and it was very quiet for about two weeks but we have come out of that. Our turnover is now 75% to 80% back to normal levels and we are bringing back the three drivers and one manager that we furloughed, so we have not been hit too badly.”

He added: “It has been a hell of a journey but it certainly helped bond the team - if we can get through this we can get through anything.”

The company, which has 21 drivers and a total of 37 staff, is currently in the process of refreshing the fleet’s livery.

“The new livery will be fully rolled out within the next three weeks,” said Preston. “It is quite a departure from the old livery, which was quite old school, but it still retains some of that retro feel, by going back to the big bold colours used in the original livery but with a cleaner look.”

Looking to the future Preston said the company aims to expand the 26-strong fleet, starting with the replacement of its two 7.5 tonne vehicles with two new 18 tonners.

“Expanding the fleet will also require us to move to new premises,” he added. “So within the next two and a half years, as we fill existing capacity, we plan to move to a new purpose built development which will accommodate the larger fleet that we will need as we continue to grow.”