May 18 2013 Latest news:
By shaun lowthorpe Business editor
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
A Norfolk company is playing a key role in the final preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games after securing three major contract wins.
Portaramp UK, based at Shadwell, near Thetford, has received orders to manufacuture 300 of its specialist access ramp products, boosting turnover by 14pc.
The orders are from London Underground, Heathrow Airport owners BAA Ltd, First Group, and a number of train operating companies ferrying passengers into London for the Games, including Greater Anglia.
The ramps, manufactured from a lightweight aluminium honeycomb composite panel, will be used to help transport specialist equipment including disability scooters as well as improve access for Paralympian athletes and also visitors to the Games with disabilities.
Portaramp UK, which has been trading for three years after being bought out of liquidation by former employees Mandy Lancaster and Nigel Browne, carries out all production in-house at its Norfolk base from material cutting, to assembly, paint shop and final finish.
With athletes beginning to arrive in London this week, the final deliveries are being sent out ahead of the opening ceremony in nine days’ time.
Mrs Lancaster, managing director, of the firm which employs 13 staff, said: “We have been extremely busy these past few months fulfilling Olympic-related orders, generating an additional £200,000 turnover which has certainly kept production to capacity.
“Supplying product to London Underground was a major achievement – working with them for nearly two years from the initial trails through to the completion of the order last month.
“Other contracts include BAA Ltd, First Group, for the park-and-ride scheme and many of the train operating companies for the various Olympic venues around the country.
“It has been a real challenge meeting the strict delivery deadlines whilst maintaining and servicing our very loyal and existing customer base. Our staff have really pulled out all the stops, and we can safely say that that we are on target to deliver quality product to specification, on time, for all contracts.”
She said the firm’s diversity of customers from councils, the rail industry and automotive sector meant it enjoyed a range of work.
“We are fortunate that we don’t rely on any one particular sector to keep us busy - if one sector is quiet, we always seem to have another to fill capacity,” she added.
Portaramp UK joins a number of Norfolk firms, which have secured contracts linked to the Games, either directly through the organisers, or indirectly.
These include Norwich-based Trade Electricals Direct, which was named as the preferred supplier of kitchen goods to the Games such as washing machines and fridges for use by the athletes in the Olympic Village, to Garboldisham firm Mervyn Lambert Plant Ltd, which will provide large electronic signs to deliver live traffic information around the Olympic Park in east London as well as an electronic information board for drivers ferrying athletes around the Olympic Village.
The news also comes as Norfolk County Council has teamed up with the University of East Anglia to assess the economic impact of the Games for the local economy.
The council has begun contacting businesses via Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the Institute of Directors.
Norwich-based Naked Wines has rescued an award-winning winemaker who was left reeling when vandals poured £50,000 of her white vintage down the drain.