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Issue 5 2015 - Freight Business Journal

Gwynedd Shipping goes for groupage

Gwynedd Shipping (GSL) may be Holyhead-headquartered but much of its actual traffic to and from Ireland moves on the ferry routes from Merseyside. Whilst strategically important, Holyhead-Dublin is in fact the company’s smallest route, says managing director, Andrew Kinsella. It showed modest growth of around 2% in the first quarter of the year, but that must be set against a 10% rise in UK/ Ireland volume overall. For every trailer that GSL

moves through Holyhead, it shiſts at least three through the Mersey ports. There are several reasons for this. “One is that we are of course conscious of our carbon footprint which is better because we save the 80 or so extra miles along the North Wales coast to Holyhead. Also, because capacity was traditionally tight on the Merseyside routes, we were to some extent forced to use Holyhead, but that is no longer the case.” The Holyhead-Dublin

route has its uses, though. It is quicker than the longer sea crossings, so it comes into its own for same-day deliveries, with early morning departures delivering that evening, and some overnight deliveries with late cut offs that would not be achievable any other way. It also comes into its own for groupage services – a sector that Kinsella would like to develop further – where time needs to be allowed for consolidation and deconsolidation process. Irish Ferries’ new Epsilon ferry on the Holyhead-Dublin route with its open deck space also comes into its own for dangerous goods.

GSL’s biggest depot in Wales

– and the UK as a whole – is Newport, South Wales. Steel continues to be a big part of the company’s business – within the UK as well as to and from Ireland and accounts for around half the carryings, in addition to which the company has a large presence in the FMCG, construction, paper and packaging sectors. Meanwhile, there are still

some specifically Welsh traffics. GSL is due to commence a large project for the new Wrexham Prison – one of the country’s largest construction projects. Of longer term interest is the

proposed new Wylfa B nuclear power station on Anglesey, just 15 miles from Holyhead. This has the potential to generate large amounts of truck traffic, but it does still have several planning hurdles to negotiate. The trailer fleet has been

increased to meet demand in the past year and around a third of the truck fleet are now Euro 6 emission standard and the number is being increased.

Sunny outlook for South Wales

Solar energy generator, Lightsource Renewable Energy, has completed rooſtop solar installations at ABP sites in Cardiff and Swansea. The 250 kilowatt peak (KWp) systems at each site will save more than 4,260 tonnes of carbon emissions over the lifetime of the two projects. ABP director, South Wales, Matthew Kennerley, said they were part of a wider initiative to cut carbon emissions and develop sustainable energy at all five of ABP’s South Wales locations.

Like other operators, though,

GSL has found the highly- complex machines to be rather temperamental beasts. The company is also trying

to address the skills shortage and ageing workforce. GSL does employ workshop apprentices, but it would like to extend the scheme to cover driving and even office roles. Andrew Kinsella says that he has signed

up to the Think Logistics scheme to attract young people into the industry, and while it has yet to show positive results, it is early days. It’s important to engage the younger generation, he says. “The problem is that people want to be solicitors or doctors – transport and logistics just isn’t seen as an exciting and rewarding career path at the moment.”

It’s been a long while since Welsh freight firms could rely solely on home-grown business

///WALES Rhys Davies

looks forward to the future

Having doubled Rhys Davies Forwarding’s turnover in the past 12 months, general manager Gary Philips has set himself the task of doing the same over the next year or two. It’s about a couple of years since the Rhys Davies group ‘rebooted’ the international freight arm of its business, with new IT systems and a focus in growing the business again. It’s going well, says Gary

Philips. “For example, we handled 600 containers inbound from China for one customer, and we’re doing a lot of export business to south and central America. And we’re doing more airfreight – in fact we have just had a record month.” Whereas the business was

“just ticking along”, Gary Philips has aggressively pursued new business. Rhys Davies Forwarding’s business is nationwide. Although some of its largest customers are based in Wales, many more are in the English Midlands or North. Specialised air-filled medical

mattresses are one worldwide export traffic. Another interesting customer is Cardiff- based Rentalspec which, together with a firm in the Czech Republic has developed a new design of iron cell battery that can be used to store solar energy generated during the day in places without access to mains electricity. Rhys Davies Forwarding

has already delivered one unit to a remote Peruvian village, and another to Lesotho for the charity set up by Prince Harry in the small Southern African country. Many more could be delivered to parts of the world where sunshine is plentiful and mains electricity expensive or impossible to obtain. Sierra Leone is another major

destination country. A local South Wales firm reconditions

and dismantles mining equipment such as diggers and graders and exports the parts there, although business has recently fallen away as currency fluctuations have made Eurozone suppliers cheaper. Rhys Davies’ Forwarding

customers tend to be of all sorts and sizes, from small firms without the staff or knowledge to handle export paperwork themselves to larger firms that value its quality of service and attention to detail. Forwarding currently for

accounts around 5% of

the Rhys Davies Group’s total turnover; the lion’s share still comes from the domestic logistics business, Rhys Davies UK. “That’s one of the reasons we want to grow the forwarding business,” says Philips. “It should be far more. There are 400 Rhys Davies UK customers, of which Forwarding works for about 60. Obviously a lot of the UK customers don’t export or import, or there are big ones that go directly to shipping lines, but there is still plenty of potential.” He would like to give

the Forwarding business a separate website identity from the UK side, and ultimately perhaps separate collection and delivery vehicles, though that is probably some way off. “But you could argue that we have, through Rhys Davies UK, already got a very big fleet.” Rhys Davies UK is a major domestic logistics


which, with its 200-strong trunk vehicle fleet, can deliver goods across the country – and without having to resort


pallet networks. “There should be a lot of synergy between the two businesses,” says Philips. “We could import for a customer, store and pick in the UK and deliver out to the UK and Europe.”

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