Business Connect checked in with Steve Swinburn, General Manager of Harbour International Freight, to see how the business was doing:
Is the new Dublin depot now in operation?
“Covid restrictions had delayed building works. We’re now nearing completion, with a plan to become operational in November 2021.”
You were also planning something for Manchester – did this come about?
“We have acquired an additional second 44,000 sq ft facility in Trafford Park also due for occupation in December 2021. This new facility allows us to increase our de-vanning, storage and pick/pack offering. By being right at the heart of the North’s premier Industrial estate and our spiritual home will be a welcome return, it was the site of our first UK office over 30 years ago!”
Anything else in terms of depots, network etc?
“In Ireland aside from Dublin we have new facilities in Cork, Kilkenny and Roscommon which brings us to up to 25 Depots across the isle of Ireland.”
Effects of Covid and Brexit on the market and your operation?
“Q1 2021 was slow due to a combination of the complexity of Customs and the build-up of stocks that had taken place in Q4 2020 in preparation for the UK exit from the Common Market. Our business had spent a number of years in preparation and building our Customs Clearance capabilities. Traffic to Ireland has returned to pre-exit volumes with a welcome increase in traffic to other European countries.”
Is the driver shortage affecting you at all?
“The impact has not been to the same extent as others in the sector. But recruiting sufficient experienced drivers for the growth we have seen in Q3 2021 is an ongoing challenge.”
Any recruitment developments?
“We strengthened our UK business with the appointment of Melanie Bingham as UK Operations Manager in May of this year. She brings with her a vast wealth of experience to both our domestic Pallet Network and Irish divisions after first starting with Roadferry back in Sept 2000 and not looked back since and has been a welcome breath of fresh air.”
Any pallet network developments?
“We acquired a fellow Pall-Ex member Middleton based Freightspeed Logistics in June 2021; this increased the Manchester territory in which we serve our Pall-Ex members traffic to cover Stockport, Glossop and Buxton. The acquisition also added a large Sameday Nationwide division and an enhanced Warehousing and Logistics portfolio of clients to our suite of services and most importantly brought a talented group of logistics professionals into our organisation.”
How do you see the market going forward?
“The investments we have made in the past year demonstrates our optimism. Many of our customers are reporting their business being restrained due to product shortages, in most cases due to Deep-Sea shipping delays. However, the International view and our view is that this is a temporary hiccup in supply chains. As a business we anticipate continued growth in 2022 and are positioning our business in the right place to take advantage of that.”