Business News

Region on board with HS2 pledge

HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson’s pledge to ensure the Midlands and North benefit from the high- speed rail project as quickly and efficiently as possible has been welcomed by Greater Birmingham business leaders. Mr Stephenson has

committed to engaging with business leaders and metro mayors across the country to ensure the voices of the North and Midlands are heard as the UK’s integrated rail plan is developed. He said: “To really address

overcrowding on the network, and provide the connections required to stimulate renewal across the North, we need to build new capacity. “That’s why we’re going

ahead with both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. These are not ‘either/or’ projects. HS2 is not simply a project that the North and Midlands benefit from. It is a project for these regions; transforming journeys, liberating new capacity on the existing railways and connecting communities.” The minister also said that

the culture of HS2 Ltd must undergo significant and meaningful change, and that in taking charge of the project he would introduce stringent measures on HS2 Ltd to ensure costs were contained, communities treated with respect and that the company was generally held to account. He also set out his vision for ensuring the entire machinery of Government was supporting this project. Together with the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the minister will be hosting cross- Government meetings on HS2 every month, to ensure the project is delivered efficiently and at value for money. Chamber chief executive

Paul Faulkner said it was pleasing that the minister acknowledged the voices of the Midlands and the North. He said: “We are delighted

to see that the HS2 minister has reaffirmed his commitment to delivering HS2. For far too long, we’ve had to put up with politicians framing transport investment outside of London as a binary choice between the Midlands or the North and not both – it’s good to hear the minister refresh the dial.”

20 CHAMBERLINK April 2020

Do your due diligence, warns freight forwarder

A freight forwarder with more than 30 years’ experience in business is warning fellow business leaders to carry out due diligence before working with overseas partners. Chadd Blunt, CEO of Birmingham-based Millennium Cargo, lost several thousand pounds but was also fearful for his wellbeing after being coaxed to China by a company claiming it wanted to do business and could potentially offer a big contract for the right deal. He said: “It all looked good. They

knew what they wanted, they spoke in cargo language and they seemed to be genuinely looking to do business. I had done my own due diligence and all seemed legit.” So not wanting to let the opportunity pass, Mr Blunt flew to China, but matters took a wrong turn immediately. He said said: “From the moment I

met them I knew something wasn’t right. My gut instinct was to walk away but I didn’t take heed. I had travelled 6,000 miles so I wanted to see it through to the end and find out what was really on offer. “It was a very bad move. I should

have hopped on the next plane home as soon as the warning bells started ringing.” Chadd said it was apparent his

contacts wanted money and he was unsure of how far they might go to get it. They attempted to ply him with drink and asked for $4,000 in

such as Millennium Cargo to help safeguard them from such situations. GWCI chief executive Graham

Welland said: “Such consequences are easily avoidable if companies first think proactively before signing on the dotted line but sadly we hear about cases such as Chadd’s all too often and it is usually not until businesses have been subject to similar circumstances that they seek our advice. “If Chadd had come to us sooner

we would have prepared a detailed reputational report that would have provided all the insight needed to confirm that the company in question is to be avoided completely. “In Chadd’s case, our work with

Chadd Blunt: Cautionary tale

notary fees to get the deal off the ground and then demanded $10- 20,000 of gold as a present for the chief executive. Mr Blunt said: “I bought them a

small gift to give me some time, but it still cost me over $1,000. To try and strengthen our relationship they gave me a gift for my wife back home. This turned out to be as fake as the rest of the deal.” He left China as soon as he could

but says he was still plagued by his Chinese contacts after touching down on British soil. Risk and compliance specialists GWCI works with organisations

mitigating risk goes beyond safeguarding companies against financial or reputational damages and demonstrates that without the appropriate due diligence even the most experienced of individuals can easily expose themselves to potentially dangerous situations by chasing what appear to be lucrative overseas contracts.” Mr Blunt added: “I’m not going to

lie. This story is a little embarrassing to tell. I should have known better. But if I can help one other person avoid the same mistake then it’s a story worth telling.”

• See page 43 for more from GWCI’s Graham Welland on the pitfalls of exporting

A new home for Y International

A West Midlands business specialising in exporting branded foods has completed the building of its new warehouse and processing centre. Y International (UK) Ltd, has now moved into its new

124,000 square foot site at the Advanced Manufacturing Hub on Priory Road, Aston. The business, which was established in 2012, specialises in the relabelling and packing of branded food goods which it largely sells to its owners, Middle East hypermarkets operator LuLu. Y operations director Tony Perks said: “The planning

and development of our new site has been some years in the making. This bespoke building will not only offer us warehousing space but will also house our processing centre and will future proof our business expansion plans.” Barclays provided a £10m property development

term loan to support the business with the project. The build took 12 months to complete and cost around £15m. The business currently turns over in excess of £28m

and employs 175 staff, which it hopes to increase to 230 in the next 10 years.

New warehouse: Y’s Fahim Mohammed, Tony Perks, Pally Bajwa with Ian Reynolds (Barclays)

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