November 23 2014 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Saturday, April 5, 2014
A Norfolk haulier has rushed to the aid of businesses spread across a vast swathe of the eastern region which were left stranded when a logistics company collapsed into administration.
Jack Richards & Sons moved at short notice to deliver goods for 12 companies based in Lincolnshire, Peterborough, west Norfolk and beyond after Heathcliff Haulage ceased trading.
More than 20 people lost their jobs when the stricken Wisbech company closed its doors for the last time earlier this year.
But the move to take over the contracts for the PE postcode area has enabled Jack Richards to recruit 15 new staff and expand its vehicle fleet by ten lorries.
Dominic Purslow, Palletways depot principal at Fakenham-based Jack Richards & Son, said the move nearly “brought the company to its knees” as it faced a race against time to transfer the operation within four days.
“The fear for the customers was that there was nobody that had the resources and financial cash flow to step in and sort out the volume of pallets quickly,” he said.
“We had our first meeting about Heathcliff Haulage on Wednesday March 19, and the majority of the customers were having to try and find someone to do the deliveries by the following Monday.
“Our industry has suffered tremendously over the last five years. So there was no haulier that could simply step in and help out these customers as a favour.
“But we have been part of Palletways network for decades, so when they came to us to takeover the contracts we couldn’t say no.”
Jack Richards & Sons said it was confident that the firm will exceed last year’s growth, as sales hit £22m in February compared £19.7m at the same point last year.
Mr Purslow added: “We are pleased to be working with a new group of clients in these areas who can now get a better service from us.”
In November 2012, Heathcliff Haulage faced a Deputy Traffic Commissioner hearing where it was told to improve its safety and reduce its fleet.
The inquiry heard that an inspector from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) found serious flaws in the company’s procedures for keeping vehicles safe and roadworthy.
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