Montgomery Transport Group is one of the largest family-owned companies within the UK, offering full load services across all major shipping lanes. With the business’ core being built on movements across the Irish Sea, Montgomery Transport Group has worked tirelessly over the years to improve and increase its service offering, and enable it to be a dependable global logistics solution partner.
Having over 50 years’ experience transporting loads since 1970, it began as a small family-run business focused on providing transportation services across the Irish Sea. Over the years, the company has expanded its services and grown its fleet, establishing a reputation for quality transportation and logistics services. Rachael Forshaw, Managing Director, shares insights into the story of Montgomery’s success.
“Over the years, we’ve adapted the business to suit the needs of our customers. Today, we have six business units within the group: Transport, Distribution, Tank Services, Freight Management, Major Freight, and Customs. Those business units are able to provide a complete global logistics solution. We can move literally anything from a parcel to bulk machinery around the world. It’s a fantastic group, and a valuable service offering for our customers and partners,” she begins.
“Each business unit has its own operations and customer service team to ensure high service levels and fleet optimization. Montgomery Freight Management and Major Freight Services are not freight forwarders, and as such, aim to handle 60 percent of the consignments using our own group fleet. This means that either the collection, delivery, or the entire consignment process can be managed by us. This strategic advantage is backed by our group, giving us a unique selling point.
Agility, capability, and control
“Montgomery Transport Group is supported by Ballyvesey Holdings, being entirely managed by the Montgomery family.
Within Ballyvesey Holdings, we have additional divisions including Vehicle Distribution, Vehicle Rental, Trailer, Construction and Corporate Sales. This diverse catalog of businesses allows us to have control over our operation, minimizing the dependency on external suppliers. Additionally, we own Montracon, a trailer manufacturer that was created in response to issues we faced when acquiring trailers. This business was established from scratch rather than through a purchase, and enables us to be ahead of the curve with bespoke built trailers and supply.”
Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance, Intercounty and Sapphire are other businesses within the group. These businesses were initially intergrated to support internal maintenance and assist with the ongoing servicing and maintenance of the fleet of vehicles, plant, and equipment, but in 2010, became separate entities within the group. This is another example that serves to highlight the group’s independence.
“Other than shipping,” continues Rachael, “we’re not dependent on any external companies to keep our businesses running. If a customer has an influx of volume, for example, and we need additional trailers, we go to one of our internal companies for a temporary solution or we add to our fleet without having to wait. I don’t think there’s anybody out there like us with this level of agility, capability, and control.
“We’ve gone for a long while being a humble business that quietly gets the job done, but now and especially over the last 18 months, we are pushing our brand into the market. We’ve had a fantastic start to this financial year with considerable growth and investment. Our new 135,000-square-foot, 24,000 pallet capacity warehousing site in Preston was purchased by Ballyvesey and we’ve completed a four-million-pound refurbishment on it.
“We have multiple depots in the UK, strategically located for efficiency, that enable us to control each consignment from collection to delivery. Following the purchase of the Alpha site in Preston, we now have two large facilities on the same industrial estate. This has enabled our Distribution division to expand its offering while allowing the Transport and Tanks the room they needed to grow,” she explains.
Turning to the topic of sustainability, Rachael shares the significant efforts made to integrate sustainable practices into the business. “When I meet with customers and the topic of sustainability arises, it excites me. Many competitors in our industry claim to be trialing sustainability initiatives, but often lack true change in their operations. The distinction between them and us is that we’ve made tangible improvements.
“For instance, our Ballyearl depot in Northern Ireland is powered by solar energy, becoming entirely self-sufficient during the summer months. Our next step is to replicate this at our new Alpha site, which already boasts an internal fleet of electric forklifts. While the setup is intricate and time-consuming, our aim is for all our depots to become self-sufficient, reducing carbon and oil consumption. Additionally, we’ve equipped our fleet with Aerodyne kits, which streamline airflow by reducing drag and enabling greater fuel efficiency. This investment has resulted in a significant seven-to-eight percent reduction in our annual fuel costs.
“Having ownership of Scania and Mercedes dealerships enables us to personally trial alternative fuel trucks.
Electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles have potential from a sustainability standpoint, but they often fall short when it comes to cost and operational efficiency. To further these discussions, we’re creating a podcast to address the benefits and challenges of sustainable transportation in the industry. While the environmental benefits are clear, financial and operational sustainability remain challenging, but we are working with our customers to find the right solutions.
“In addition to these efforts, we’ve developed Mega Decker trailers (LSTs), offering increased capacity with 60 pallets compared to the standard double-deck trailer’s 45. They have been approved on our licenses and we have added 15 into our fleet, which has reduced the number of trailers on the road by approximately one -to-two per night,” she enthuses.
Rachael joined Montgomery Transport Group five years ago. In addition to her role as Managing Director for Montgomery Freight Management, she also serves as the Commercial Director for Montgomery Distribution. At group level, she supports the commercial team, manages marketing, and oversees external partnerships aimed at reducing the carbon footprint through collaborative freight sharing. “It’s a fantastic industry,” she shares, “and despite being the only female director on the board, in a naturally male-dominated industry, I have only ever been treated equally, which speaks to the supportive and forward-thinking nature of our business.”
Looking to the future, Rachael highlights several goals the business is hoping to achieve. “We would like to have a fourth warehouse site at some stage and grow our fleet by as much as 50 percent. We want our brand to be out there and recognized as a global logistics and warehousing supply chain business. We’re extremely confident with the commercial team that we have and we’re laying the foundations for them to go out and take the logistics industry by storm, by unlocking value for our customers. It’s all about being creative, working with our partners and working with our customers.
As they grow, we grow supporting them,” she concludes. “We just keep pushing forward from that perspective.”