Here to help

With a history dating back to the mid-1800s, leading logistics and maritime service provider Cory Brothers has experienced significant developments and evolutions over the past 178 years. Well-planned moves into new sectors and clever strategic acquisitions resulted in continuous solid growth, and the company today (now part of Braemar Shipping Services PLC) offers services for ship-owners, charterers and traders around the world.

Its business is divided into three divisions – Agency, Logistics and Liner Agency – but what unites all of Cory Brothers’ work is the pride it takes in ensuring that its clients’ cargoes are looked after – wherever and whenever they ship. This exemplary level of service is delivered thanks to a team of long-standing, loyal staff, and a flat management structure, which enables quick reactions and an adaptability that is not always found in larger, more unwieldy organisations.

“This flat structure, where the key stakeholders get involved at every level of the business, sets us apart,” confirmed Mike Bowden, Group Marketing & Procurement Manager at Cory Brothers. “Everyone here is very hands-on – so Mark Harding, the Development Director, might be answering phone calls, doing customer visits, or giving talk to a customer’s board of directors, and Peter Wilson, the Managing Director is involved in every level too, and it is this level of interaction with customers, and the ability to handle problems quickly at senior level that really makes a difference.”

Mike referred to Mark Harding, who has over 22 years experience at Cory Brothers, and while this sort of career longevity at one firm is unusual within the industry, it’s actually pretty common at Cory, where they can find staff with well over a decade of service, all the way up to 36 years. Mark himself gave a perspective on why staff remain at the business. “I think our people being passionate about the company and our rich history has a huge bearing on it. Furthermore, we have stability with our owners, Braemar, and we have a safe and secure business model - we wouldn’t have been around for as long as we have if we weren’t doing something right!

“Our customers are also reassured by the fact that our team is consistent, as they recognise that it reflects not just our history, but also illustrates that we offer a bit more than the competition; we can be trusted and relied upon.”

“The team even stay in touch after they leave, with former employees including directors, operators and vessel workers, getting together socially to ‘chew the fat’ about the old days,” added Mike. “That is a rare thing, but they get in touch via social media to join in, and we love the fact that Cory Brothers has created these great, positive memories for our people.”

This vast resource of staff knowledge has also proven invaluable as the company has evolved and adapted to realign certain areas of the business over the years. “It has made it a lot easier to transition into different niches and verticals, where maybe other companies would be challenged,” Mike confirmed. “We are always looking for those niche opportunities, a little bit outside the norm, where people have problems in different sectors and where our experience really comes into its own.”

It is clear that finding ways to set itself apart from the competition is very important to Cory Brothers, and while tradition and history are significant, that is not to say it doesn't embrace modernism – in fact it has ambitious plans in motion for a state-of-the-art digital ecommerce solution, that is tailor-made for the specific requirements of its customers.

“This project is the biggest item on our agenda at the moment, and in fact we are digitising our entire business,” Mike revealed. “This solution is going to enable our customers live track their containers wherever they are around the globe at any time. This is so important to anyone in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector who needs to know when their stock is arriving, or critically, where it could potentially be delayed. It is going to save them time, and also, as it is going to save us money as well, ultimately we pass those savings to customers too.”

Another development at Cory Brothers that is designed to assist clients with reliable distribution is the creation of its own haulage provision. “It is so CB 178 bvital to our customers that their deliveries are made on time, that their consignments are looked after, and they can trust they are being managed properly, that we established our own UK haulage suppliers, specifically to offer a more efficient, more hands-on and more personal service,” asserted Mike.

The approach and technology behind these new additions is firmly 21st century, and indeed any customers wanting to use What’s App or social media will find Cory Brothers only too willing to interact on modern platforms. Mike also made another important point: “We strongly feel that our customers and suppliers should be able to pick up the phone, get through to their own account manager, and find the answers they need.”

“Many modern companies are faceless, with no voice – it’s very hard to speak to an actual person. So while we are massively embracing the future, we will not turn our back on the past – we can offer a digital bespoke solution, but we are also proud to be old school in some ways. We appreciate the need for multiple channels of communication, and we want all our customers to be able to get in touch in whatever manner best suits them. We want to appeal to the biggest customer base possible, and that requires answering different needs in different ways,” Mark added.

This approach to customer service is also reflected in Cory Brothers’ willingness to share its wisdom and advice on current topics that are likely to affect those relying on a smooth and reliable supply chain.

With its 178-year history in the market, there are few situations that Cory Brothers’ divisions haven’t dealt with, and its heritage and experience are incredibly useful resources to draw upon when facing new challenges, such as Brexit, or even the recent coronavirus outbreak.

“We are now running a programme for customers and suppliers to make sure they are as prepared as they can be, and rather than wait to be approached, we’re putting ourselves out there, and saying ‘this is what is going to happen, and we are ready for it – but this is what you need to do be ready as well. We can help with a health check of your supply chain, to ensure you know where you stand’,” said Mike.

The intelligence shared by Cory Brothers is created in-house by its own Brexit team, which assembles every two weeks to collate and share information, and liaises with Government and Chamber bodies to obtain different opinions and information. “We are equally investing in advice from professionals as well,” Mark emphasised, “as they have a far greater angle on Brexit and they come in and empower us with more specific, expert knowledge. So we’re really undertaking a lot of investment - not just in terms of time and resource, but also in commissioning really qualified experts to assist us.”

By combining its own expertise and willingness to help clients, with a serious source of relevant, reliable information, Mark and Mike are aiming to create a company that customers and suppliers are willing to reach out to for help. “We don’t want them to be shy in coming forward and engaging with us – we have the expertise and ideas and we’ve made ourselves ready to assist. We know from the market that there are companies sitting on the fence, and we would love them to come to us and ask for our input,” said Mike.

The trustworthy reputation that Cory Brothers has established in the market is also reassuring for clients as they wade through the amount of misinformation that they're regularly bombarded with – coronavirus being the perfect example.

“It is key for us stay in touch with the factual information, to work out what is conjecture and what is real. Then we have to convey that to as many relevant stakeholders both inside and outside the business as possible. We do send out news bulletins on this, which explain what the situation is, how it might affect a supply chain, and some of the solutions that we have put in place, and some suggested calls to action for the readers,” said Mike.

“A very quick example is that import ocean freight is going to be very highly impacted by vessel cancellations due to coronavirus, and that will have a knock on affect on the UK haulage industry, and is already starting to affect some of the associated industries in the UK. We make sure that we speak to our suppliers and customers, tell them what we believe will happen, identify how to get around it, suggest the best approach for their supply chain, and make sure that we support them through the good times and the bad like they do us.”

“It’s about empowering our customers,” emphasised Mark. “I was asked this week what effect coronavirus was going to have on a customer’s business – and I said ‘first I will send you an article about the situation in Chinese ports, but more importantly, don’t panic. We have several partners that we can reach out to, and we can find a solution’. The general public might go into a free-fall and clear all the shelves of hand sanitiser, but that’s not the way that professionals do it in the industry, we look at providing solutions, and they are out there.”

Having such a resource of experienced contacts available with well-researched information and a longstanding trading history behind them should be of enormous reassurance to the customers and suppliers of Cory Brothers. The company has positioned itself as a vital provider of not just exemplary services, but essential help and advice, delivered in the format best suited to each client. As the world continues to deal with new challenges, this sort of approach will ensure that Cory Brothers endures – maintaining its steady course on a path of growth.

Cory Brothers
Prides itself on a long trading history
Embraces both modern and traditional approaches
New digitalised system set to transform operations

A gateway to the world

A key part of DP World’s international network, DP World Sokhna is strategically located on the coast of the Egyptian Red Sea to facilitate the import, export and transport of goods to Cairo, the hinterland and beyond

Situated just below the southern entrance to the Suez Canal and at the heart of the vitally important East-West trade route, Sokhna Port is positioned to handle cargo that is transiting through one of the world’s busiest commercial waterways. Little more than 120 kilometres from Cairo, the port is easily reached by a modern, six-lane highway, while well-established road and rail links make it perfectly placed to reach the city’s 18 million consumers.DPW a

Operations at the port actually commenced in 2002, but it was in 2008 that Sokhna Port joined the DP World family, with it taking over the operation, development and management of the port. DP World is the leading provider of worldwide end-to-end supply chain solutions, enabling the flow of trade around the globe. It does so by delivering its services through an interconnected network of 128 business units in 60 countries, across six continents.

In 2010, DP World signed an agreement with the Egyptian Government to commence work on a second basin – Basin 2 – within the port area, with the aim of doubling its capacity. A year later, there were expansion and development plans to increase Basin 1’s capacity to one million TEU’s per year, while in 2017, DP World announced plans to invest $552 million into Basin 2 for its own expansion. As we look at Sokhna Port today – in December 2020 – it comprises of three basins, with a total holding capacity of 1.75 million TEU, and has the unique capability to handle all manner of solid and liquid shipments. A fully-fledged operation, consisting of container, bulk and general cargo functions, along with RO-RO, passenger and liquid operations, the port also utilizes the latest in IT and other means of communication to direct shipments in the most efficient way possible.

“Our dedicated, diverse and professional team of more than 1000 employees at DP World Sokhna have proven their collective commitment in delivering unrivalled value to our customers and partners, thus helping the port become one of the largest and most efficient on the Red Sea, and a main gateway for trade in Egypt,” states Chief Executive Officer, Ajayy Kumar Singh. “Our focus on meeting the needs of our customers has been a driving force behind our success, and we are constantly striving to improve our levels of service. It is our team’s combined experience and commitment to quality which means we are able to always deliver value to our customers.”

The port’s quay consists of two diaphragm walls connected by underground tie-rods and covered with a 35-meter-wide concrete apron. The waterside wall extends to a depth of 29 meters, and the land-side wall to 19 meters. On the quay, a crane rail track has been constructed with a gauge of 100 feet (30.4 meters). The crane rails on the quay are supported by the diaphragm walls and are designed for loads up to 55 tons per meter length. The concrete apron deck, meanwhile, is designed for loads of ten tons per square meter. The width of the access channel is 350 meters, which is sufficient for double-lane navigation, while the harbor basin has a depth of 17 meters, sufficient for container vessels exceeding 16,000 TEU and bulk carries of up to 175,000 DWT.

“DP World Sokhna, is the only deep sea port on the Egyptian Red Sea coast,” Ajayy continues. “This makes it ideally located for handling growing trade with the Far East, Red Sea, Middle East and Africa. With no Suez Canal fee charged on cargo moving to/from east of Suez, Sokhna is the closest and most cost-efficient port to Cairo. DP World Sokhna is also a free zone, for which no tax is applicable.”

Looking at the port’s more recent history, 2019 in particular was an important year. It was during this time, for instance, that the aforementioned $552 million investment in Basin 2 really came into focus. “This project includes a 1.3-kilometre-long quay and a 350,000-square meter container yard,” Ajayy details. “The project will complement the existing Basin 1 with 945,000 TEUs of capacity, and Basin 3, which is a liquid bulk station spanning 400-square meters. Once Basin 2 is commissioned, DP World Sokhna will become the only port in Egypt capable of handling the largest container ships in the world. Our expansion into Basin 2 will enable us to facilitate even greater volumes, which supports our DPW bcommitment to boost Egypt’s economic growth further, and cement DP World Sokhna’s position as a major gateway for the country’s trade.”

In December 2019, DP World Sokhna also entered into a trilateral partnership with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), and the China Ocean Shipping Company Ltd (COSCO), to serve as the hub for all construction material imports needed to build the central business and financial district of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital. CSCEC will benefit from Sokhna Port’s proximity to the new capital and its advanced road and rail links. Moreover, DP World Sokhna is the closest container port to Cairo and is located within the 90-square kilometer North West Suez Economic Zone.

This year (2020), DP World Sokhna has implemented several innovative changes to its infrastructure. These have included the installation of Smart Gates and a new terminal operating system to enhance operational efficiency. Other highlights have included the launch of a new direct shipping route connecting the Jebel Ali Port in Dubai with Sokhna and the Jeddah Islamic Port in Saudi Arabia. This trade lane has grown to become quite successful and is especially well-positioned to leverage regional trade between these three countries. A new service by CMA-CGM, which has also recently been launched, now connects Sokhna to East Africa, and is a potential market and game-changer.

Developments in and around the port have been taking place whilst in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, the port has maintained its operations to keep trade flowing, while taking all the necessary measures and steps to ensure the health and safety of staff and customers. “We activated our Business Continuity Plan and immediately ensured that we were following all of the processes and procedures that are in line with the recommendations and instructions of the Egyptian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization,” Ajayy explains. “These include the regular testing of staff, temperature checks, sharing information and creating awareness of preventive measures and hygiene, and implementing social distancing. The terminal and all equipment is regularly cleaned and sanitized, and all staff provided with masks, sanitizers and gloves as mandatory personal protective equipment (PPE). We also encouraged our white-collar staff to work from home, including staff with underlying conditions, those above the age of 55, and women with children below 12 years of age. We also went ahead and outsourced additional operators to handle any eventuality. By doing all of the above, we have been successful in managing our business without any interruption.”

As part of DP World Sokhna’s response to Covid-19, it has also been engaging with, and supporting, the wider community, while also providing essential facilities and equipment. Beneficiaries of its support have included the Al Sabah Hospital, local ambulance services, the Al Salam Library, the Usama Bin Zaid school in Suez, and the Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed School for Disabled Children.

As it looks towards 2021, DP World Sokhna’s plans involving continuing to place a strong focus on providing its customers with the right solutions to meet their respective needs, while also delivering increased operational efficiency and further embracing the use of digital technology. It is also turning its attention to growing in-land, and in the next three-to-five years, it intends to achieve its aim of being internationally recognized as a complete supply chain solution company.

Making a final comment, Ajayy feels it is important to make one further comment on the success of DP World Sokhna. “We would not have been able to accomplish what we have done without the support and cooperation of our employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and the Egyptian Government. For that, we extend our heartfelt thanks to them all!”

DP World Sokhna
Services: One of Egypt’s leading ports, strategically located on East-West trade route

Understand and deliver

One of the UK’s largest independently owned logistics companies, Howard Tenens provides flexible, tailor-made supply chain solutions across a diverse range of sectors

For Howard Tenens, everything starts with integrity and transparency. According to the company’s CEO, Jamie Hartles, it is this honest, howard auncomplicated approach to business that differentiates the firm from its competition.

“From an ethos perspective, we always do what we say we will,” he states. “When we make a commitment, we fulfil it and we invest time, effort, and capital in our relationships to make sure they are long-term. We don’t provide prices to undercut the market simply to secure new business and we always seek partnership relationships over transactional ones. As a company, we are very selective in the business we undertake and will always ensure there is mutual value in everything we do, whether that be with employees, suppliers or customers.”

With roots dating back to 1953, Howard Tenens is a family company with various business interests but is primarily focused on commercial property ownership and third-party logistics services. In 1983, perhaps the biggest year in the company’s history, Howard Tenens’ Chairman and majority shareholder Peter Morris completed one of the UK’s first management buyouts, purchasing the firm and making it a privately-owned business. Still a private company today, Peter’s sons, Ben and Dan, are now actively involved with Howard Tenens, providing added continuity to the operation and further solidifying its credentials as a family organization.

“Even today, in 2020, we still have some of the original customers that Peter brought with him in 1983,” Jamie reveals. “Clients stay with Howard Tenens because of our partnership approach to business and commitment to mutual value. As a privately-owned firm, we are not under the same pressure to grow as a listed company. This means we can expand organically and sustainably in collaboration with our customers and not sacrifice service or safety by overreaching.”

Favoring a bricks and mortar approach to business, Howard Tenens has always strived to own the properties from which it runs its logistics operation. The freehold commercial property portfolio has now grown to over four million square feet of warehouse space across the UK, and not only gives the company great flexibility when serving customers, but also represents a robust financial foundation, enabling the firm to invest in future growth. The logistics side of the business occupies around one third of the company’s owned warehouse space, with the remaining two thirds being rented to external clients as storage and commercial parking.

Serving customers across a broad spectrum of industries, including fast moving consumer goods, automotive parts, linens and medical scrubs, white goods, and construction and industrial products, Howard Tenens is a company unafraid to prove its worth to new clients. “Typically, customers start by giving us a smaller, more challenging aspect of their supply chain, but soon enough they realize we deliver where others fail. That’s when customers entrust us with additional work,” Jamie explains. “Our team try really hard to understand a customer’s requirements and howard bensure the solutions being implemented are as safe and efficient as possible. Our promise to provide exceptional service means we are not just storing a product and distributing it but undertaking value-added services to increase profit for the customer in question.”

Challenging conventions
Though the majority of its business comes from the food and drink sector, Howard Tenens is guided by customer demand and has recently experienced a significant increase in e-commerce activity. The agile nature of the firm means it remains open to change and is always prepared to adapt.

“At the moment, we have no plans to expand into other sectors, but it really depends on the client and requirement,” Jamie says. “If a customer asks for support in a new sector, we will always provide a solution for them.

“We are fortunate to work with numerous household names and blue-chip brands who come to us seeking value for money and great service. Our customers include companies like Honda, with whom we have established a strong relationship, built on trust. We serve every Honda dealership in the UK, every night, and the company provides us with keys and codes to its locations, knowing it can rely on us to put stock away so that parts are available to workshops in the morning.

“We also service Lavazza Professional on a dedicated, high quality coffee network,” he adds. “We have large alcohol duty bonded sites in the south east and south west providing flexible storage solutions to cater for the large seasonal peaks of the beer industry. Across the board, we are increasingly encountering e-commerce online retailers who need solutions requiring heavy capital investment in conveyor systems, which we are happy to support.”

At the heart of Howard Tenens’ offering is the company’s ability to work in partnership with a client to deliver customizable solutions that challenge convention, while proving good value for money. Whether it’s a first-time outsource or a transfer from a third-party provider, the firm boasts a proud track record of creating open dialogue in its collaboration with clients, committing itself to learn as much as possible about its customers. Jamie suggests that the company’s work with Mole Valley Farmers is a particularly good example of the way in which Howards Tenens operates.

Bespoke scheme
“It was clear from the first meeting that Mole Valley Farmers was going to be an excellent cultural fit for us. The company is committed to ensuring greater choice and protecting farming members from the impact of fewer suppliers and the threat of higher costs,” he asserts. “They also aim to offer superior levels of customer service and the widest range of keenly priced, quality products.

“Mole Valley has grown significantly over the last few years and wanted a consolidated national distribution center, with a transport solution that howard censured high-quality service levels. We have worked closely with the company since then and have now implemented a bespoke logistics scheme, servicing their store estate across the UK and making sure on-shelf availability remains high.”

As we move towards the halfway point of 2020, Coronavirus continues to present challenges for businesses across the world. Due to the diversity of its customer base, and the vital nature of its work, Howard Tenens has remained operational throughout the pandemic, employing a number of initiatives to help mitigate the risks to its workforce.

“First and foremost, our focus has been on our people and keeping our amazing employees safe,” Jamie declares. “This has meant investment in personal protective equipment and significantly enhanced cleaning and hygiene standards. We are committed to ensuring that the people who work at Howard Tenens are kept in the loop, especially those working from home, and that the health of all our employees is protected as much as possible whilst they fulfil their important role as key workers.”

Environmental credentials
Though the company’s two-person vending machine delivery and installation service has been forced to shut down - Howard Tenens has offered an enhanced financial package to furloughed employees on the Government Job Retention Scheme - some areas of the business are not only operating, but thriving.

“Online retail is very busy,” Jamie reports. “We have supported our customers by either increasing resources to cope with such a large and sustained uplift in volume, or by helping them pivot their offering from a storefront solution to one based in e-commerce.

“There has also been an increase in demand for warehouse space, the finding of which is one of our key specialisms. Our Property Division has exceptional contacts in the marketplace, which means we have access to flexible areas that may already be let to other tenants, as well as vacant spaces on our own estate.

“It’s a two-sided process though, and huge thanks must go to all of our clients who have helped us through this unprecedented time. Where we have had to review a commercial arrangement, we have received support from our customers, large and small, and will continue to work in partnership with them to evolve the solutions we provide until we arrive at a new normal.”

What exactly the new normal will be, nobody yet knows, but Howard Tenens has already got its eyes on the future. The company recently signed a six-year lease for Neptune Works, a 145,000 ft² warehouse in Newport, taking its overall number of commercial sites to 18. The firm has also received planning permission for the development of further locations, totaling approximately 600,000ft².

“Where we own the land and the site, we typically commission the facilities ourselves,” Jamie remarks. “The size and layout of the warehouse will vary, but typically, we make them as versatile as we can, with plenty of access and exit points and as much height as feasible, given the build parameters.

“All our new buildings are constructed to an extremely high standard, ensuring 35maximum natural light, and where possible, environmental features such as ground source heat pumps and photovoltaic or motion-activated low energy LED lights. Having strong environmental credentials is important to us and so we work hard to ensure our buildings take that into consideration.”

Recognized on numerous occasions for its environmental work - including Gold Status in the company’s EcoVadis CSR Supplier Evaluation - Howard Tenens remains a leader in sustainable logistics. An early adopter of dual-fuel vehicles, the firm operates seven sites powered by solar energy, saving around 200 tons of CO2 every year. Over the next five years, Jamie expects to see more investment in sustainability initiatives, eco-friendly technology, and automation as Howard Tenens pushes towards a target of £125,000,000 turnover. Having reported years of back-to-back growth – including a 20 per cent increase in turnover in 2018 – Jamie is confident that the current pandemic will not prevent the company from reaching its goal.

“Competition in the logistics market is fierce and Howard Tenens continues to be successful by hiring and retaining the best staff, who understand the firm’s objectives and work together for the betterment of each other and our customer base,” he proclaims. “The impact of COVID-19 will be far reaching and will undoubtedly change our habits and requirements for good, but Howard Tenens has weathered numerous economic storms before and is exceptionally well placed to come through this one where some of our competition might struggle. We will continue to invest in the business and our customers throughout this process and will emerge even stronger as a result.”

Howard Tenens Logistics Ltd
Services: A proactive logistics company, providing innovative solutions

In safe hands

The last two years have seen Gondrand Traffic upscale significantly. It was in 2018 that the end-to-end supply chain solutions provider was acquired by the Nordic Transport Group (NTG). Following the move, the almost-century old company benefitted from NTG’s expertise specifically in the road, air, and ocean forwarding areas.

“Road and Air & Ocean had been two of our three main business units since 2010, before they became NTG-forwarding entities in January 2019,” clarifies Roger van der Groen, Managing Director of Gondrand Traffic. “Due to the historic significance of the third division, which is Logistics and covers warehousing and distribution, it was decided that it should continue to serve under the Gondrand Traffic name, whilst still being a member of GT 178 cNTG.”

The company’s corporate values – safety, customer focus, respect, and responsibility – are viewed by Roger as Gondrand Traffic’s biggest strengths. In his opinion, listening to customers is key not only to providing a sustainable service, but also to making a tangible difference when they are in need. It goes without saying that achieving consistency in service quality is another priority for the business.

Roger comments: “Only by providing a continually high-level service and expertise, can we maintain a good relationship with our customers, some of which have been with us for more than 25 years. However, as we specialise in dealing with chemicals and hazardous goods, together with a high standard of quality, we have to be able to provide flexibility in what we do.

“Actually, it is often the case that customers have non-hazardous goods next to the hazardous ones in their range, but our complete solution allows us to provide storage of both types,” he continues. “We have large-scale temperature-controlled storage compartments and a temperature-controlled staging area, while all other compartments also offer the option of floor heating.”

Due to its unique warehouse design and strict procedures, which enable it to not just segregate hazardous goods, but also to provide dedicated/single-compartment storage solutions, Gondrand Traffic has become a partner of choice for the food industry, too. As reported by Roger, the company is the European Distribution Centre (EDC) for a global beverage company, with part of the service including the provision of a frozen storage solution in combination with a controlled thawing process. Optional services, such as dry-ice and temperature monitored shipments (also online) are also in place.

It is not a surprise that Gondrand Traffic has been chosen as a central storage partner by the client in question. The bonded warehouse’s strategic location in the middle of the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam makes it a sought-after logistics provider. Roger adds: “It is one of our biggest advantages that we have a direct connection to the European hinterland via a number of different transport options. I believe that such a proposition is attractive particularly to UK companies that may be considering to move their European central stock to the mainland.”

For 23 years, Gondrand Traffic had been using a site in Moerdijk (in the south of the Netherlands) for the storage of packaged chemicals. As regulations were getting tighter, however, the company decided to build a completely new site, designed to comply with all the relevant industry and government directives. The 17,500-square metre warehouse opened in Q3 2018 and was built entirely in concrete, due to the material’s inherent fire resistance.

“It has seven storage and three staging compartments. One of each is equipped with an ESFR sprinkler system, while all others feature CO2 GT 178 bdistinguishing systems,” Roger points out. “Furthermore, each compartment is equipped with LEL detection, air humidity measuring, and automatic high-capacity ventilation systems. Together with this, one of the storage compartments was split into four temperature-controlled units (5-12 degrees Celsius) and one central temperature-controlled staging area in front. All other compartments have floor heating (from frost-free five-plus degrees Celsius to up to 25 degrees ambient storage temperatures).

“Less than two years after we completed the warehouse, we acquired another plot of land adjacent to it with a view to extend the facility as soon as possible. Spanning 22,000 square metres, the plot is even larger than the unit itself,” Roger announces. “By having it at our disposal, we are able to start building a dedicated design for a new larger customer or provide extra space to our existing clients to accommodate their future growth.”

Alongside the expansion of its warehouse, Gondrand Traffic will be looking to obtain GDP and ISO 22000 certifications and renewing its SQAS registration throughout 2020, having already been certified to the ISO 9001 and 14001 standards, and customs AEO registration. Security wise, the building is TAPA 2 prepared. In addition, the company is working tirelessly to enable new pharmaceutical, food, and chemical solutions. “A focus area for us will be to develop a conceptual and procedural safe solution for the storage of li-ion batteries,” Roger reveals. “This is an industry-wide challenge, but we are currently in talks with the governmental institutions that are responsible for the creation of the new 2020 storage legislation.

“As regards our long-term ambitions, we are pleased to see a very clear trend that customers are increasingly asking for a full supply chain solution. They insist on focusing on their internal processes and, therefore, prefer not to split their supply chain among multiple players, which they have to manage themselves,” Roger concludes. “Such a demand plays to our strengths and we are confident that we are in a good position to continue to grow. Once the new part of the warehouse is operational, we will have a greater capacity to serve our clients. Meanwhile, we will be working on creating additional infra solutions to expand our customer base and service portfolio.”

Gondrand Traffic
End-to-end supply chain solutions provider
Specialises in chemical warehousing, distribution, and forwarding
Recently opened a new warehouse and is shortly building an extension to it

Fuel for thought

Faced with the unprecedented challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, HOYER’s people in the UK have stepped up to the plate to not only see the business through tough times, but also keep the country moving

For HOYER in the UK, recent times have been not only challenging, but more importantly exceptionally rewarding. The business has been delivering petroleum products within the UK since 1974, through its fleet of vehicles and drivers to a HPL amixture of traditional oil majors, independent oil companies, and specialist fuel retailers. It has, therefore, experienced a great deal over the last 46 years, yet 2020 will no doubt go down as its most uniquely complex to date.

“In the 18 years that I have been with HOYER, 2020 has easily been the most challenging,” explains Allan Davison, who at time of writing served as Operations Director of HOYER’s Business Unit Petrolog in the UK, but will shortly move up into the role of Managing Director at the beginning of 2021. “Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic as ‘unprecedented’ has become a bit of a cliché, but it’s true. The industry – and every stakeholder in it – has been hit exceptionally hard. At its worst, our ground fuels volumes were at only 30 per cent of normal levels, with aviation down as low as five per cent. Whilst these volumes stabilized a bit over the summer, they were still considerably lower than pre-pandemic levels, whilst the second wave has only made the situation worse.

“Despite this, I am very proud of the business and all of our colleagues’ resilience as we very quickly took ownership of the issues presented to us and adapted to a way of working that ensured we could still deliver on our primary purpose, which is delivering fuel and other essential commodities that provide continuity to the lives of millions. As employers of recognized key workers, we collectively found a way to deliver and ensure the country did not come to a complete stop.”

Particular praise from Allan has to go to the men and women who make up HOYER in the UK. “2020 has seen a remarkable response by all of our colleagues, staff and drivers alike. Moving to remote working in a matter of days was exceptionally challenging but achieved without fuss or fault by our colleagues, and our drivers continued to make deliveries of bitumen and fuels without complaint. We also have to remember that everyone’s lives have not only been affected professionally, but also personally. The care and respect shown by all our colleagues to each other, our customers and the general public during this challenging time has really made a difference.”

Critically for the business, it has managed to successfully extend all of the contracts that it has tendered during the last 12-to-18 months, as well as winning some additional business in its aviation and ground fuels sectors. “Notwithstanding the significant impact of Covid-19 in 2020, our like-for-like volumes have increased in the past two years, which is an outstanding achievement in an overall declining market,” Allan enthuses.

“We have also recently won some new business with BP for delivering ethanol to a number of terminals within the UK. We see this as a particularly important, growing market, which is why we have over 150 vehicles in our existing fleet capable of delivering this product.”

One of the present focuses of the business is the development of its fleet. Among the ways it is doing so is through the introduction of enhanced technology, while also increasing its efforts when it comes to sustainability. “We have continued to invest heavily in our fleet, in new equipment and new technologies,” Allan confirms. “In the last 18 months alone, we have purchased over 150 fuels and bitumen trailers, and over 200 Euro VI tractor units. All of our new vehicles now come fitted with equipment to improve safety as well as reduce emissions – such as Adaptive Cruise Control – whilst all new fuels trailers have red reflective rear dishes fitted to help reduce the likelihood of rear end collisions. Furthermore, we are undertaking large scale trials on nearside cameras, reversing cameras, audible warnings and ‘puddle lighting’ on our vehicles, thus doing everything we can to reduce the likelihood of incidents.

“In addition to all this, we have also invested more than £1 million in the upgrading of the On-Board Truck Computers across our entire fleet, helping to fully digitize and optimize the order to invoice process for both ourselves and our customers. As part of this process, we will soon be introducing a MyHoyer app, helping to significantly improve two-way communication with our driver colleagues.”

As HOYER’s Head of Human Resources for the UK, Nichola Blenkinsop goes on to add, there have also been several important internal programs initiated by the business in the last 12 months. “Our Graduate scheme (known as theHPL b Management Development Program– or MDP) is an important part of our talent agenda, and with a continual focus on adapting and striving for excellence, we recently reviewed and have redefined our three-year program. It now includes four rotational placements; three placements for a duration of eight months (experiencing and delivering in our field operations, control center and/or our support areas), with a final 12-month placement, either in a leadership role in field operations, or in our control center in Huddersfield.

“As well as experiencing our full end-to-end profile, we recognize the importance of real work, ownership and delivery within our placements. Delivering a full breadth of experience, leadership confidence and capability, supported through our active senior leadership mentoring and cohort led development program, are some of the ways we provide the critical success factors needed for future leaders in our industry beyond the rotational placements. We continue to see our graduates succeed within the MDP and their careers at HOYER, with 23 per cent of our current leaders joining and developing through our MDP, including 50 per cent of our UK board members.”

The business also understands that its safety and service proposition – delivered through all of its colleagues – is what truly differentiates it within the market, and its culture is the foundation of that. “Our values of care, ownership, adaptability, respect and in striving for excellence underpin all of our people-led activities,” Nichola continues. “How our teams work together and deliver is of critical importance to us, and we ensure that our development and leadership agendas are all focused on guaranteeing that every colleague is set up for success every day, whether through the relationship and support of their leader, the excellent training and development that is continually reviewed and delivered, or the communication that is shared.

“Communication and clarity have never been more critical than throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that every colleague understood the guidance, what it meant for them as key workers at HOYER, and how our procedures had been amended to keep themselves, their colleagues, our customers, the general public and their loved ones safe. This was, and continues to be, a real team effort and one in which we are proud of everyone’s continuing contribution.”

Moving forward, the HOYER Group has taken a strategic decision to merge the operations and organizational structures of its Petroleum Products and Gas Logistics Business Units – Petrolog and Gaslog – into a single combined Contract Division, as of 1st January 2021. “As well as enabling the Group to harness various synergies, this will set the business up to effectively and proactively deal with the challenge of energy transition over the coming years, from petrol and diesel, to alternative fuels such as hydrogen and LNG,” Allan declares.

HOYER Petrolog UK
Services: The delivery of petroleum products and fuel logistics solutions

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