Review of the Year


Yearsley buys Ice Pak Seafood Specialists

Heywood, UK: Yearsley Group, the frozen food distribution and storage company, took annual revenues past the £160m with a swoop for Ice Pak Seafood Specialists, which has depots in Middleton, Greater Manchester and Leeds.


C R England opens driver retention centre

Salt Lake City, UT, US: C R England opened a driver retention and recognition centre at its headquarters in Utah.  The office will help build the company driver and independent contractor relationships to create long term and successful commercial drivers, the company says.  Bud Pierce, director, capacity assurance – retention and recognition, says: “This office will create stronger recognition for our drivers and promote a better and more connected work environment to our road warriors.”


Grocontinental profit and turnover up on better warehouse use

Whitchurch, UK: Better warehouse utilisation has helped Grocontinental’s increase profit and turnover, according to director Linda Grocott.  Pre-tax profit for the year to 31 October 2010, rose 26.5% to £2.8m from £2.2m the previous year while turnover grew by 11.8% to £25.7m from £23m.  Two main factors were increased warehouse use over the year and winning new business from existing and new customers.  Linda Grocott, joint managing director at


Carrier Vector 1550 meets Piek standard

Warrington, UK: Carrier Transicold’s latest innovation, the Vector 1550 City trailer refrigeration unit generates a noise level below 60 decibels with a standard ‘nose-mount’ installation and has been certified compliant with Piek, Europe’s most stringent noise abatement standard.  Piek standards, introduced in the Netherlands in 2003, were developed in response to growing concerns from local government and supermarkets to reduce noise levels for night deliveries (between 10:30pm and 7:00am).  Piek-registered technology must not surpass 60 decibels, the equivalent of normal conversation.

Nine safety awards for UK chilled logistics service provider

London, UK: NFT, one of the UK’s largest providers of chilled logistics in the food retail and manufacturing sectors, has won nine awards in the prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2011.The awards, four gold and five silver, span six of its seven depots and include a Gold Medal in Occupational Health & Safety at the Bristol depot for the fifth consecutive year and a win for its Daventry depot in the first year of entry.


Chilled business boosts Eddie Stobart growth

Carlisle, UK: New chilled distribution contracts continued to drive sales at distribution firm Eddie Stobart last year but higher costs and the impact of bad winter weather hit overall group profits.  Eddie Stobart reported a 30% rise in underlying pre-tax profit to £33.6m in the year to February 28.  The growth was mainly due to securing contracts with retail giant Tesco, AG Barr and Robinsons’ company Britvic.  However, the wider group saw profits fall by just over 11% to £29.5m in the period as other divisions, including Stobart Rail and Stobart Ports, did not perform so well.

Reed Boardall md elected chair of the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses

Alexandria, VA, US: Garry Tilburn, managing director of Reed Boardall Cold Storage in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, is elected as the chair of the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses.  Tilburn holds the post for 2011-2012 and is the fourth European to serve as chair of IARW.  He succeeds Mark Blanchard from New Orleans Cold Storage.


Fuel costs operators biggest headache

Tunbridge Wells, UK: The price of fuel is still the biggest headache for transport companies battling to cope with rising costs, with haulage rates failing to keep up, according to a report published by the Freight Transport Association.  The Manager’s Guide to Distribution Costs 2011 produced by the association calculates that the cost of diesel for commercial vehicle fleets rose by 15.6% in the twelve months to 1 April 2011.  The second biggest increase was in the cost of overheads, followed by vehicle maintenance.  The total rise in vehicle operating costs to 6.8% outstripped the rise in domestic haulage rates, which increased by an average of 3.41%.  International haulage rates increased on average by 5.40%.


Reed Boardall to build new Yorkshire cold storage site

Boroughbridge, UK: Reed Boardall has finally won planning permission for a major new 11,500 sq metre cold store off the A1 at Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.  The site, which could take a year to build, is expected to increase the firm’s cold storage capacity by 25%.  Keith Boardall, group managing director of Reed Boardall, says: “We’re absolutely delighted with this decision.  This next phase of our expansion will enable us to continue to meet the needs of our food processing and retail customers for efficient and sustainable cold storage, consolidation and distribution services.  Once completed, the development will create more than 100 new jobs.”


Yearsley plans £20m expansion

Rochdale, UK: Cold store operator Yearsley has been granted planning permission for a £20m expansion at Hareshill Distribution Park in Heywood, Rochdale. The development, which is on a 5.4-hectare acre site opposite the company’s existing facilities, will include a 16,000sq metre cold store and distribution centre.  The new building is expected to take ten months to complete.

Schmitz Cargobull starts triple-shift operations

Vreden, Germany: Continued high orders for new refrigerated trailers has prompted Schmitz Cargobull to move to triple-shift operations at its Vreden plant to help reduce lead times for UK and European customers. Paul Avery, managing director of Schmitz Cargobull UK, says the decision means that standard reefers can be delivered to customers in as little as 12 weeks, compared to the average six-month turnaround currently being quoted in the market.  “No one likes to be reminded of Christmas in the summer months, but in reality this is one of the busiest times of the year for trailer manufacturers,” says Avery.  “Customers are already planning what assets will be available for the run-up to Christmas; this leads to high order volumes which can ultimately create extended delivery lead times.


NFT opens flagship depot

Manchester, UK: Chilled food and drink distributor, NFT formally opened its £2m flagship depot in the northwest. Throughput is 45% and set to rise to 85% by March next year.  Ten retail and manufacturing customers including Asda, Mathew Walker, Taylors of Harrogate and Orkney Herring already use the depot in Middleton, Greater Manchester. NFT’s Middleton depot replaces its existing nearby Whitefield depot which required investment but had limited room for expansion.  The new warehouse expands capability in that region for NFT by about 60%.  Current throughput at the depot is 45% and is expected to rise to 85% by March next year.  The new depot, which acts as a logistics gateway for Ireland, will provide new shared-user capacity “enabling up to 50% growth uplift in the region and will significantly strengthen NFT both operationally and financially when fully commissioned,” the company says.

Brakes builds £19m distribution centre

Ashford, Kent, UK:  Catering specialist Brakes Group is to build a £19m temperature-controlled distribution centre and offices in the M4 corridor.  The distribution centre will contain three separate zones comprising chilled, cold and ambient temperature-controlled areas with a total floor area of 17,000sq m. A 2,300sq m, three-storey office block will also be built alongside the main warehouse with small ancillary buildings. The fit out work will cover all internal racking as well as mechanical and electrical services, sprinkler systems and frozen and chilled refrigeration.

Stef-TFE reports turnover up 9.4%

Paris, France: STEF-TFE has reported turnover up 9.4% to €1,077.6m and operating income up 26.8% at €29.1m for the first six months of 2011.  Despite a slowdown in food consumption growth in Europe, turnover was up and operating income markedly higher thanks to higher sales in every division of the group.  Stef-TFE turned over €2.057bn in 2010.  Higher results for the first six months of the year “testify to the resilience of Stef-TFE’s business model in an uncertain environment,” the company says.


Oakland International launches training academy

Redditch, UK: Oakland International has launched its Oakland Training Academy for employees.  It provides foundation, intermediate, management and specialist qualifications.  Representatives from the Institute of Grocery Distribution and the Chamber of Commerce for Herefordshire and Worcestershire attended the official launch yesterday.

Culina board changes to focus on chilled

Market Drayton, UK:  Euan Jackson has been appointed group transport director at Culina Logistics where he will oversee all transport matters within the group.  Mick McCarron, Culina’s current transport director will now focus primarily on its chilled operations.  McCarron, who will report to Jackson, will be looking at such areas as driver performance, reducing overall road miles and cutting empty running, the company says.  Culina will appoint a second transport director to oversee ambient transport.

Fowler Welch expands continental operation

Poeldijk, Netherlands: Fowler Welch is moving its Netherlands operation from Maasland to a larger site near The Hague.  The new site on the ABC Westland commercial hub in Poeldijk has a 10,000sq metre warehouse increased capacity for docking.  The new location has transport links to the UK via ferry and by road to the principal conurbations and manufacturing centres in northern Europe and will allow Fowler Welch to expand its continental operations. In addition to its ‘bread-and-butter’ road and ferry-based services, Fowler Welch BV will also focus on its airfreight business, with operations out of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Westland to London Heathrow.


Asda to invest nearly £100m on perishable supply chain

Leeds, UK: Asda intends to invest £99m in its perishable supply chain by the end of 2015 in a bid to improve the freshness of produce.  The retailer has also revealed that it has cut 17 million miles from its supply chain as part of its sustainability programme.  New figures from Asda reveal that it reduced its carbon emissions by an 11.9% – overshooting its target to achieve a 10% fall by 2015.  And it said it was on track to deliver savings of some £800 million by 2020 through its sustainability initiatives.

Culina launches multi-modal service

Heathrow, UK: Culina Logistics has launched Culina Fresh, a new door-to-door freight management service, incorporating road, rail, sea and air transport for fresh produce, horticulture and other perishable goods. Culina has set up the service to meet demand from producers, importers and retailers for an integrated solution to manage the complete supply chain from source, whatever the country, to final delivery throughout the UK and Europe. Culina Fresh Limited is headed by two highly experienced leaders from the fresh food logistics sector: managing director, Thomas van Mourik (currently chief executive of market-leading Culina Logistics) and operations director, Paul Steele, who has 25 years’ freight forwarding experience, the last 15 in the perishable sector.


ACS&T signs up 3663 in long-term deal

Wolverhampton, UK: ACS&T has signed a new five-year contract with 3663.  This is the extension of the Frozen National Consolidation Scheme (NCS), a service ACS&T has operated since 1994.  The two companies have worked together for nearly two decades developing ways to increase efficiencies and decrease environmental impact within the 3663 supply chain.  The 3663 network reduces road miles, empty-leg running and the number of vehicles that the depots have to handle, supporting both 3663’s and ACS&T’s commitment to the environment says ACS&T.

Truck operating costs rise ahead of inflation

Tunbridge Wells, UK:  The high cost of fuel remains the biggest cause for concern for haulage operators squeezed by rising operating costs and pressure for earlier payment terms from suppliers, says the Freight Transport Association.  “Commercial vehicle operators are under intense pressure from their customers to suppress haulage rates at a time when the cost of running a truck has risen inexorably and fuel prices nearing record levels.  This ‘squeeze’ has left balance sheets fragile and carriers vulnerable during a period of weak economic growth,” says Bruce Goodhart, FTA research analyst.