From road and rail to warehousing and contract packing, Russell Logistics provides seamless logistics solutions 

Russell Logistics (Russell) is a leading transport and logistics provider, committed to delivering high value solutions across the UK and Europe. Based in Glasgow, the Russell Group operates from a strategic network of depots offering a truly national intermodal service to customers. The company was brought to life in 1969 by Chairman, John Russell. Having gained a wealth of experience working for his father’s company, John launched the company with just 14 vehicles. Over 50 years on, with 250 vehicles, 14 depots, six UK rail terminals, and approximately 740 employees, Russell Logistics has established itself as a market leader, servicing some of Europe’s largest organizations and the world’s strongest brands.  

The business maximizes its resources and systems by closely monitoring performance and continues to play to its strength of understanding the needs of both the industry and the individual consumer.  

As part of the Russell Group, the company has a strong partnership with Carntyne Transport Ltd; one of Scotland’s leading third-party logistics providers specializing in bulk liquids, high cube transport, on-site logistics and cask storage. The company is also a shareholder in Partnerlink; a logistics organization owned by six of the UK’s best known regional operators, providing unique national logistics solutions. 

Russell works in partnership with customers to provide quality, cost-effective solutions to enhance their supply chain, encompassing domestic and international road and rail transport, warehousing and contract packing solutions, self-storage and container leasing, vehicle maintenance and repair, and supply chain training services. 

It is through its highly skilled and motivated workforce, attention to detail, and excellent customer service that the company has grown to where it is today. Ken Russell, Sales and Marketing Director, shares further insights into the company’s success.  

“We strive to ensure that our employees are happy and safe in their work. As such, comprehensive training and open communication are integral aspects of our company culture. I always try to find avenues for people to grow and develop within their careers and the organization,” he begins. 

Alongside a commitment to its employees, Russell places equal importance on customer relationships. The company’s comprehensive network of transport and warehousing depots has been strategically selected to provide the most efficient and effective service for clients. This forward-thinking approach provides innovative logistics solutions executed by the company’s loyal and experienced teams. 

“It’s important to us to maintain superior warehousing and transport facilities for our customers. Principally, we strive to ensure that we have fit-for-purpose assets in our customer portfolio. As such, we have invested in our vehicle fleet, in terms of renewal and ensuring we operate the most up to date, technically advanced vehicles.” 

The company is also currently investing resources in its sustainability strategy, understanding that sustainability is intrinsic to success. The aim is to provide long-term value for stakeholders while creating sustainable and responsible growth for the business. 

“With our customers, employees and local community at the forefront of everything we do, we aspire to be a responsible and transparent company,” Ken continues. “Back in the 1970s our drivers would head out on a Sunday or Monday and not return until the end of the week. As a team, we felt that this was not a viable long-term operational solution, and consequently, started exploring local haulage routes as well as rail transport. By the 90s, we realized the value of rail compared to long-distance road haulage in terms of environmental impact. While we started that journey with a different purpose, we’re now building on it in terms of how we operate with the aim of minimizing our impact on the environment.  

“So, that’s a big part of what we do, in terms of decarbonizing, and have been doing it for a long time. About ten years ago, we started looking at the facilities management of our warehouses and offices and incorporating resource saving strategies. We’ve probably invested somewhere in the region of £1.5 million over a period of two-to-three years, looking at low hanging fruit and ways to reduce our carbon footprint, which in turn, has generated quite significant cost savings.” 

Today, rail is a seamless part of Russell’s supply chain. By switching from diesel locomotives to electric locomotives for 24 rail services per week between Coatbridge and Daventry, the company has made a significant contribution to its sustainability strategy by lowering CO₂ emissions. In the last five years, Russell has avoided 60.6 million road miles saving approximately 7.5 million gallons of diesel and reduced its carbon emissions by 43,500 tonnes. 

The company aims to expand its rail infrastructure to remove even more road journeys and reduce even more CO₂ emissions, serve more customers and help them to reduce their environmental impact, and become a leader in sustainable transport and logistics. 

“More recently,” Ken continues, “we’ve been looking at how we can move away from the combustion engine. While we’re reasonably comfortable with the feasibility of some battery-powered trucks, there are issues around the impact of heavy batteries on payload capacity, alongside travel distance capabilities on a single charge and the availability of the necessary supporting infrastructure. Consequently, we have been exploring hydrogen fuel cells and the option of trialing with a partner. We are expecting delivery of a trial vehicle imminently that will allow us to do physical trials over a 12-month period to understand the impact of temperature changes on vehicle performance. Carntyne Transport, part of Russell Group, requires specialist ADR vehicles which have been designed and constructed to carry hazardous loads safely thus adding further complexity to the question of whether zero emission technologies will be developed in a way that is both economically and commercially viable. That said, the government is backing the development of hydrogen production in Scotland with the understanding that it is required to help industry reach net-zero goals. As technology is developed and becomes commercially available, there is the expectation that costs would reduce. Indeed, we understand the need to remain flexible, dynamic and at the forefront of innovation as the various technologies are developed and advanced.  

“The current economic climate means that many customers are tightening their belts, so customer volumes are not as buoyant as they were. To maintain our volumes, we need to grow our customer base, so that’s a current challenge for Russell. We’re also seeing a small change in demand dynamics. To develop our routings, we need to grow real volume to ensure full transport loads, otherwise it becomes very costly.  

“Looking to the future,” Ken concludes, “in five years’ time, we want to be better placed in terms of our network and to develop our facilities for further improvement. We are looking to add additional rail terminals over the next five years. From that position, we’ll be better placed to provide improved services to our customer base and potentially attract new customers too.”