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EV Cargo Urges Government To Take Action To Alleviate Supply Chain Challenges

EV Cargo, the UK’s largest privately-owned logistics provider, is urging the UK Government to do more to deliver a short-term solution to address the country’s current supply chain challenges.

The ongoing and well-documented driver shortage is being compounded by manufacturing, retail and supply chain workers having to undertake necessary COVID-19 ‘pingdemic’ self-isolations.

So far, Government measures to alleviate the problem include extending drivers’ hours and increasing capacity at DVSA test sites for new recruits acquiring their HGV licences.

However, EV Cargo believes this will not deliver the short-term solution required and says supply chain workers should be recognised as both skilled and essential in keeping goods flowing to retailers across the nation.

Michael Conroy, EV Cargo UK chief executive, said: “The current rules around self-isolation are due to change on 16 August, but we are calling on the Government to step in now and recognise logistics workers as being critical to maintaining the UK’s supply chains.

“A record number of more than 600,000 people have been told to self-isolate last week and that’s looking set to increase again, but we believe that if logistics workers have had both doses of the vaccine and have tested negative, they should be exempt.

“The Government should also add HGV drivers to the post-Brexit skills shortage occupation list, allowing EU drivers to work in the UK and add some much-needed driving capacity. Drivers need to obtain two licences and complete annual professional development training to undertake work, so the profession is clearly highly-skilled.

“These are two short-term measures which we believe would have a significant impact and help alleviate the immediate challenges. The issue is simple supply and demand, the demand within the UK supply chain is high and the pool of available UK drivers needs both protected and bolstered immediately.

“We are working closely with our customers and leveraging our agility and resource across the entire business to find solutions. But many retailers and supermarkets are already concerned that, if not addressed, the wider national situation will negatively impact supplies and some are already closing stores or reducing hours.

Mr Conroy said that the recently-announced additional DVSA testing capacity would take months before producing any tangible results and the changes would need to ensure drivers were adequately trained to maintain standards around safety and quality.

“Relaxing the drivers’ hours was seen to be a quick win by the Government but it has been universally recognised by the industry as being ineffective and potentially counter-productive,” he added.

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William Kirk joins Palletforce

Cheshire-based haulier William Kirk has become the latest member of the growing Palletforce network, further boosting Palletforce’s coverage and volumes in north-west England and the SK postcodes around Stockport in particular.

William Kirk is part of the Kinaxia Logistics group, and a former member of Palletline. It recently merged with another Kinaxia company, BC Transport, who already serviced the SK postcodes for Palletforce. William Kirk, incorporating BC Transport, will now cover Palletforce operations in the SK area.

William Kirk managing director, Carl Wagstaffe, said: “Palletforce is a quality network and one of the leaders in their field when it comes to investment and innovation. We are proud to play a part in their ongoing success and look forward to offering a great service to their members and customers.”

Founded in the 1930s, William Kirk began as a one-man operation transporting coal and milk to the local area. Based in Macclesfield, it now specialises in warehousing and distribution and direct delivery of full and part loads throughout the UK.

“The core values at the heart of the business have remained the same throughout the years, which focus on working together and a strong dedication to providing reliable, customer-focused services,” said Mr Wagstaffe.

Palletforce has reinforced its position as the UK’s leading freight distribution network with ongoing major investment in infrastructure, innovation and technology helping to secure unrivalled membership growth over the last 12 months.

Since June 2018, the Burton-based company has grown its membership at a greater rate than competitor networks and has seen its market share increase significantly over the first half of this year.

Palletforce chief executive Michael Conroy said: “We are delighted to welcome William Kirk into the Palletforce family. They are an established force in the north-west and I have no doubt they will prove to be a major asset as we continue to invest in the network to deliver the highest quality, safety and service.”

EV Cargo’s Palletforce SuperHub Shortlisted As Heathrow Logistics Hub

Palletforce’s Burton upon Trent SuperHub has been named as one of 18 shortlisted sites that remain in the running to help deliver the expansion at Heathrow Airport.

Part of the EV Cargo group, the UK’s largest privately-owned logistics business, the state-of-the-art Palletforce SuperHub is perfectly placed in the centre of the UK in a strategic location for national coverage.

And, with a network of 100 quality members covering every UK postcode on a daily basis, the Palletforce express distribution network is the ideal partner to deliver Britain’s largest infrastructure project.

The 620 sq ft SuperHub offers 24-hour freight sortation and parking for 450 trucks at its 38-acre site. Operated by Palletforce, it benefits from award-winning, sector-leading technology – making it one of the most efficient drive-through distribution centres in Europe.

Alongside the SuperHub, Palletforce member Immediate Transport has its Iver Hub, just minutes from Heathrow, also in the shortlist.

The sites have been selected from a longlist of 65, all of which were visited during a nationwide tour which concluded in the summer of 2018. In the autumn, the 18 sites shortlisted will now have the opportunity to pitch to the airport’s bosses for their chance to become one of the final four construction centres, to be announced early next year, ahead of work starting in 2021.

The offsite construction centres will help to deliver Britain’s new runway, bringing jobs and economic opportunities as Heathrow looks to construct as much of the expanded airport offsite as possible.

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow executive director for expansion, said: “Logistics hubs are integral to harnessing the skills the UK needs post-Brexit. We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector. One in which we’re better utilising new technology and offsite techniques to spread the benefits of major projects like expansion nationwide.”

Michael Conroy, Palletforce chief executive, said: “Palletforce has continually invested in infrastructure and our SuperHub is a unique asset that sets us apart from all other UK distribution networks. It has the capacity to both create growth for our members and to take advantage of commercial opportunities, and we’re excited to be in the final UK-wide shortlist for the Heathrow logistics hubs. Being selected would create significant jobs for the local region and drive growth for our members by creating further long-term commercial opportunities.”

EV Cargo confirms executive appointments and management changes

EV Cargo, the UK’s largest privately-owned logistics group, has announced a series of executive and management appointments after a successful group-wide festive trading period.

Created by specialist private equity investor EmergeVest, EV Cargo was launched in November 2018 after the consolidation of six UK logistics businesses.

The business has four operating segments with the chief executives of each segment taking a place on the group board while still retaining their current roles within each individual company. They will report directly to EV Cargo chief executive Heath Zarin.

Palletforce chief executive Michael Conroy will head the Express segment, Clyde Buntrock from Allport Cargo Services will oversee Global Forwarding while Adjuno chief executive Craig Sears-Black will take charge of the Technology segment.

Heath Zarin will also become chief executive of the Logistics division, within which CM DowntonJigsaw and NFT will operate.

There are also a number of changes within individual businesses, which are all part of that company’s long-term succession planning.

Duncan Eyre was appointed managing director of CM Downton in January to allow Andy, Richard and John Downton to transfer to non-executive roles. 

Zac Brown has joined CM Downton as operations director while finance director Ben Armstrong will step up to become finance director of the EV Cargo Logistics unit.

At the beginning of January, Palletforce appointed Steve Back as its new chief financial officer, replacing Neil Carpenter who moves to the new role of senior advisor.

Mel Brockhouse and Aaron Scott will become joint managing directors of NFT, with Mel taking operational responsibility across the NFT group and Aaron focusing on customer development and continuous improvement. Ross Eggleton will transition to a senior advisor role for EV Cargo to develop strategic initiatives across the group.

In March, Charles McGurin will move to a non-executive role within the EV Cargo group and Clyde Buntrock will take over as chief executive of Allport Cargo Services. 

Andy Humpherson continues in his existing position of managing director of Jigsaw.

Heath Zarin, EV Cargo chief executive, said: “With the appointment of chief executives for each operating segment, along with key strategic management changes across the individual businesses, we’ve created a robust structure to help deliver our long-term strategy of added value to our customers and sustained growth across the group.

“One of the main priorities in creating EV Cargo was to ensure the needs of our customers are consistently met across all parts of the business. The Logistics division deals with a number of related customers and we’ve introduced a simple management structure, reporting to myself, to allow us to deliver the best service to our customers.”

Palletforce boss toasts 10-year landmark as network continues to thrive

The chief executive of Palletforce is celebrating 10 years at the helm of what is the UK’s leading, and now global, palletised freight distribution network.

Michael Conroy has overseen unprecedented growth at the company. Since joining Palletforce in 2008, volumes have more than doubled and the company now has an annual turnover in excess of £100 million.

Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, Michael first made his name in the logistics sector with TNT, Parceline, ANC Logistics and FedEx. He was recruited by Palletforce when founder Mick Scarlett decided to step down after eight years.

Indeed one of his first actions as chief executive was to oversee the move to a £30 million custom-built site at Burton upon Trent. Previously the company, which was launched in 2001, was based at a disused airfield in nearby Fradley.

“I arrived at an old World War Two aircraft hangar and some bolted together Portakabins and I thought, what is this all about?” he recalled. “But after spending a couple of hours with the Palletforce team I thought, Wow! What a great concept, what a great business, what a great success story.”

Under his stewardship, Palletforce has become a market leader in the competitive express distribution sector, and now boasts over 100 members covering postcodes across the UK. Michael recently headed further expansion with the opening of the new SuperHub – a £50m world-class distribution facility creating the capacity to enable future growth.

Michael played a crucial role when Palletforce was acquired by EmergeVest in 2015, helping to secure the financial firepower to invest in the long-term future success of the company.

His vision has helped the company develop the best technology platforms, culminating in winning Best Use of Technology at the Motor Transport Awards this year, and expanding services firstly into Europe and then globally with an emphasis on Asia – with the Palletforce model set for a roll-out in Shanghai. This year the company has already posted record domestic volumes, while international volumes have increased by 45% over the last 12 months.

At this year’s Gala Awards Night, Michael was presented with a special award in recognition of his decade-long service.

He said: “Palletforce is unique, and I am proud to be the head of a company whose staff and members consistently strive to be the very best in the business. I have enjoyed every minute of the last 10 years, and I look forward to the next chapter in our remarkable success story.”

Palletforce Member C&D South West Named Green Award Finalist

A founder member of the Palletforce distribution network is in the running for a prestigious environmental award.

C&D South West has been named a finalist in the environmental category of the Somerset Business Awards, which takes place on October 23.

The Chard-based firm impressed judges by demonstrating its long-term commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency across its entire operation.

This includes major investment in energy efficient, eco-friendly vehicles – including a range of longer trailers as part of the Department for Transport trial to increase load volumes, reduce carbon emissions and maximise fuel efficiency.

However, key to the family-run firm’s submission was how membership of the Palletforce network has helped reduce emissions by around 15% across its vehicles used on national trunking routes.

“With road transport accounting for more than 20 per cent of all UK CO2 emissions, the road haulage industry faces tough challenges when it comes to balancing environmental responsibilities with profitability,” said Carl Wylde, commercial manager of C&D South West.

“But saving fuel and cutting emissions is not just limited to the road. Thanks to Palletforce’s business model and our state-of-the-art vehicle route planning and tracking systems, major improvements in operational efficiency have been achieved.

“Our trucks now travel to Palletforce’s Midlands hub fully loaded and hand over the consignment to a haulage partner, enabling our vehicles to return to base fully-loaded.”

The Palletforce network has won many awards for its efficiency and operations.

In 2015 it was named Logistics Supplier of the Year at the Grocer Gold awards for delivering benefits to the challenging grocery sector. It has also been listed as a double finalist at the National Business Awards in November for introducing innovation to the UK freight distribution sector.

As one of a small number of hauliers taking part in a pioneering Government initiative to slash emissions from the road haulage sector, C&D South West’s 30-strong fleet now boasts some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the region’s roads.

Each of its trucks meet European 5 and 6 emissions standards to reduce emissions of carbon and particulate matter. The fleet is also fitted with low-rolling resistance tyres to reduce drag and improve fuel economy even further, while drivers are enrolled in a continuing training and management programme.

Palletforce chief executive officer Michael Conroy says: “C&D South West has shown consistent and wide-ranging commitment to its environmental responsibilities, and winning this award would be a fitting acknowledgement of their efforts.

“We wish them luck on October 23, and look forward to playing a part in their success.”

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