Pressure mounts on UK ports to enhance infrastructure capacity ahead of Brexit

DUE to the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact on export and import of goods, UK ports are making preparations to support further checks by customs officers. A common issue for all ports, especially Dover, will be finding the space necessary to do so.

Many UK ports may have to consider temporary warehouses or custom designed modular storage buildings to maximise available space at their ports. This would not only help lower waiting times, but support the surrounding transport congestion areas. Another feasible idea would be to build new customs checkpoint facilities inland, allowing businesses to conduct clearance checks in secure locations away from busy border locations.

Flexibility, agility, capability and dependability are the key factors when looking at warehousing. The benefits of semi-permanent structures include fast design, manufacture and construction, with the flexibility to be adapted, modified, extended or relocated if needed. This allows clients to adapt quickly to change.

The BBC reported that Andrew Baxter, the managing director of the freight logistics company Europa Worldwide, told a House of Commons Committee: “If customs wanted to do a documentary check, that could delay it by up to three hours, and if there was an inspection of the goods, that could delay it by up to five hours.”

Talk of these delay times are alarming for all businesses involved in the import and export of goods, on top of potential increased tariffs. Then there is the issue of providing enough manpower to deal with the additional workload. According to HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson, around £300m will be needed to finance around 5,000 additional customs officials.

The government will also need to boost ongoing projects to improve the country’s road and rail infrastructure, in order to enhance connectivity between ports and the destination of handled freight.

Ian Hindmoor, Managing Director at Rubb Buildings Ltd, a UK manufacturer of custom designed modular storage buildings, commented: “Feedback from our customers suggests that they are planning for the future, to be able to maintain the flow of their production and fulfil the demand from their customers. Rubb storage facilities provide an alternative and sustainable solution to traditional storage warehouses.”

Gunn JCB ‘shoots for the three-pointed stars’ after turning to Rossetts for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter fleet

AS one of the oldest members of the construction and industrial machinery leader’s franchised dealer network, Gunn JCB knows all about the importance of fast, efficient customer back-up – which explains why it is now running its first Mercedes-Benz vans.

The company’s 30 new Sprinter 314 CDIs are being kitted out as mobile workshops and allocated to service engineers who work from its headquarters in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, and nine strategically located depots across western England and Wales.

Surrey, Sussex and north Hampshire Retailer Rossetts Commercials is supplying the vehicles – its Business Development Manager Tracey Stewart has won recognition from Mercedes-Benz Vans for her determined and ultimately successful pursuit of the prestigious order.

Key to Gunn JCB’s decision to switch from its previous supplier was the Sprinter’s reputation for ‘bullet-proof’ strength and reliability. Coupled with Mercedes-Benz Vans’ commitment to ‘keep businesses moving’, this gave it the confidence to place its trust in the three-pointed star.

Gunn JCB Aftermarket Director Tim Simcock explained: “Given the high standards of support that we promise to customers, we simply cannot afford unplanned downtime within our own service fleet.

“We spoke to a couple of fellow JCB dealers about the Sprinter, as well as to operators of our construction machinery who also run vans, and the feedback was resoundingly positive; no-one had a bad word to say about the vehicle.”

The subject of comprehensive Service Care agreements arranged by Rossetts Commercials, the vans will be maintained at the most conveniently located Mercedes-Benz workshops. “With night-time servicing, vehicle collections and deliveries, courtesy vehicles, and 24-hour MobiloVan emergency roadside assistance, it adds up to a reassuringly comprehensive aftercare package,” observed Mr Simcock. 

All medium-length L2 variants, Gunn JCB’s Sprinters are being fitted with Edström racking to carry tools and spares, and will each cover up to 30,000 miles a year. The Sprinter 314 CDI is powered by a smooth and fuel-efficient 2,143cc common-rail turbo diesel which produces 143 hp, and in Gunn JCB’s case drives the front wheels. As previously, this popular model is also available in rear-wheel drive configuration; front-wheel drive variants were introduced last year, with the launch of the third-generation Sprinter range.

Hailed as a technological tour-de-force, new Sprinter employs 4G Internet connectivity to deliver the most advanced manufacturer solution yet seen in a van. The cab interior has also been completely redesigned to provide a class-leading working environment offering unrivalled levels of quality, quietness and comfort.

The Sprinter has always been recognised as the benchmark for safety in the van segment, and here, too, the latest model leads the way. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology – another industry ‘first’ – and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.

New Sprinter comes as standard with the cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment system. Mercedes PRO connect, meanwhile, offers a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services.

Tim Simcock continued: “Our previous vans have been equipped with telematics and we’re now relying on Mercedes PRO connect technology to provide us with data on the location and maintenance status of our Sprinters, as well as on the way in which they’re being driven; if the system highlights any issues in style at the wheel, these can be addressed through training.”

Gunn JCB operates a total fleet of approximately 100 vans, and he predicted: “If all goes well with this first batch of 30, as I’m optimistic it will, we would envisage replacing the remaining units with Mercedes-Benz vehicles. 

“The Sprinter is a premium product, so was slightly more expensive ‘up front’ than our previous van model. However, we’re confident that we’ll more than recoup the additional capital outlay through its more competitive ‘whole-life’ costs, including the higher residual values that Mercedes-Benz vehicles command.”

Rossetts’ Tracey Stewart last year landed a breakthrough order for 22 Sprinter vans from another JCB dealer, Greenshields, which is based in Farnham, Surrey, and has six depots throughout the South-East.

In February Tracey won the Managing Director’s Award for Customer Dedication at
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ annual celebration of excellence within its franchised retail network, for the “dedicated hours of work” she put in before Gunn JCB committed to its first investment in Mercedes-Benz vans. “Tracey drove countless miles and had numerous early morning motorway breakfasts, so she could attend a succession of procurement meetings and undertake a full day of demonstrating to the business stakeholders,” said the nomination.

Tim Simcock added: “Tracey has provided a first-class service, with very high levels of communication. It’s evident from our experience that she does genuinely care, not only about her customers, but also about the brand and the Dealer she represents.”

With roots that date back to 1890, Gunn JCB has represented the manufacturer since 1958 and is now one of the largest and most successful JCB dealers in the world. 

GCE Hire Fleet Ltd adds a brace of Volvo A45Gs

GCE Hire Fleet Ltd of Whittlesey near Peterborough has added two new Volvo A45Gs to its park of predominantly Volvo badged equipment.

“We have a long association with Volvo Construction Equipment products operating excavators, loading shovels and articulated haulers,” said GCE’s Managing Director, Chris Golborne. “This, however, is the first time we’ve opted for A45Gs as we feel the larger truck will open up new opportunities for our hire division along with our existing Volvo EC380 and EC480 excavators going forwards.”

With a carrying capacity of 41 tonnes and a heaped capacity of 26.2m³ using the overhung tailgate option, the Volvo A45G has a maximum speed of 57kph. Powered by the latest Stage-IV Volvo 16-litre engine developing 476 net horsepower, it features high torque at low engine speeds, resulting in good fuel efficiency, high performance, fast engine response and a long service life. The whole powertrain is designed and purpose built ensuring the best use is made of the available power and torque, even in tough working conditions. The engine in the drivetrain is matched to a torque converter with built in lock-up function and fitted with a fully automatic and adaptive transmission. The drivetrain features Volvo’s Automatic Traction Control (ATC) system as standard, which prevents operators leaving their haulers permanently set in all-wheel drive mode, even when not needed, for example on good or paved roads, when only 6X4 drive is required. ATC automatically disengages the rear axle when not needed, eliminating tyre skid when cornering and reducing tyre wear. However, when ATC system does sense slippage, the longitudinal differential lock and the 6x6 clutch are engaged together: this gives the hauler the optimum traction in all conditions.

Whilst the A45Gs have been supplied with standard body liners, GCE Hire Fleet has specified the factory fitted body warming option on both trucks and has taken out Volvo Blue service agreements meaning they will be serviced at the correct intervals by Volvo trained engineers using genuine Volvo parts.

GCE Hire Fleet Ltd offers a wide range of equipment for operated and non-operated hire nationwide, supported by a comprehensive fleet of plant vehicles and low loaders. The company, which was established back in 1985 by Chris Golborne and now employs twenty personnel, has recently moved into new premises which includes offices and workshops within its 11,500 ft² footprint on the Ashley Industrial Estate, Whittlesey.

SMT GB markets Volvo Construction Equipment products which include wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, Volvo utility equipment and Volvo road equipment products in Great Britain. There are eight strategically placed Customer Support Centres, a dedicated National Used Equipment Centre and a network of utility equipment dealers to ensure high quality customer support is maintained throughout the country.

Illumin8 Lights stock up with Trime’s LED lights

THE site lighting specialists, Illumin8 Lights, are gearing up for a busy summer season, with the purchase of another fleet of X-ECO LED lighting towers supplied by the Cambridgeshire company, Trime UK Limited.

The order was placed at the recent Executive Hire Show and has been valued in excess of £500k.

Illumin8’s hire fleet is now made up of over four hundred Trime lighting sets and their complete fleet is entirely composed of Trime’s range of lighting towers.

Neil Fenwick, founder and Managing Director of Illumin8, said: "Our order book for the forthcoming season is already filling up, so the need to increase our fleet of safe, bright and sustainable lighting was an overriding priority.”

“The X-ECO LED has become the mainstay of our rental fleet, with many clients asking for this set by name. Therefore, it became an easy decision to invest further in the X-ECO LED."

The X-ECO LED include, as standard, several safety and environmental features which have propelled this product to become a market leader.

Its instant light and the built-in auto start/stop light sensor is a popular feature and with safety heightened by the X-ECO AMOSS safety system, users can be assured of secure, bright lighting at all times.

The energy saving LED lamps have a guaranteed lifetime of up to 2000 hours.

Illumin8 have added an advanced tracking system to their X-ECO LED sets. They can see, via a connected device, the actual location of each unit and supervise how it is performing.

This enables an engineer to complete basic checks such as low oil, low fuel and low battery levels. The engineer will then report this information back to the operator for rectification before the set becomes inoperable. This saves time and helps to keep the project running by reducing any potential downtime.

 Illumin8 Limited was founded in 2015; the company provides a bespoke service hiring mobile tower lights to both the event and industrial markets. The Illumin8 management team combine over 40 years’ experience within the lighting industry. The company is based in Essex and delivers nationwide.

Trime UK Limited has swiftly developed into the market leader in the supply of engine driven LED lighting sets. They have over 50 years of experience in the development and marketing of environmentally sustainable lighting sets for the construction and rental markets. Trime UK is headquartered in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire; their manufacturing plant is based near Milan, Italy.

APS welcomes the feminine touch in construction

WOMEN have much to contribute to making construction a safer and healthier profession the Association for Project Safety (APS) said last week.  

Celebrating International Women’s Day, the APS said it was keen to welcome more women into its ranks of professional design and construction health and safety risk management experts.

APS chief executive, Lesley McLeod, said that currently men outnumbered female members by around nine to one but there was no obvious reason for the imbalance. She said there was no reason why women could not reach the top of the health and safety career ladder as they had all the right skills, knowledge and experience.

APS chief executive, Lesley McLeod said: “Women can climb to the top of the design and construction health and safety ladder. But the construction sector, across the board, needs to look at what barriers it is putting in people’s way because, undoubtedly, there is an huge gender imbalance in the industry.

“The Association for Project Safety (APS) has a National Membership but we want to extend a special welcome to women in construction. We know the industry’s male dominated image can be a bit off putting but there are no barrier to advancement in the association or thought the industry. The APS itself has a female president and the headquarters team bucks the industry trend being staffed almost entirely by a dedicated team of women.

“Female construction professionals have all the skills, knowledge and experience to forge rewarding careers and make a lasting contribution to a better and safer built environment. International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone that construction has opportunities for everyone – all you need is dedication, hard work and a willingness to keep on learning.”


Morris Site Machinery expand operation and confirm i54 deal

MORRIS Site Machinery has agreed to acquire a flagship site adjacent to Jaguar Land Rover at the i54 Technology-based Business Park just minutes from the M6 in Wolverhampton.

The landmark site will provide over 60,000 square foot of manufacturing and office space for Morris Site Machinery to relocate from its current site just three miles away at Four Ashes, into purpose-built premises at i54.

The site machinery business is renowned for its mobile lighting towers, generators, welders, pumps and pressure washers which it sells worldwide.

Chris Morris, CEO of Morris Site Machinery, said: “This marks an exciting milestone in our expansion plans for the business, securing such a prime location in terms of profile and geography.

"With our sales and service hubs and customers across the UK, this sought-after site is an ideal central location offering ease of access to the country’s motorway network."

Recent years have seen significant growth in its success overseas, recognised by The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.

For the second year running, Morris Site Machinery has been hailed within the league table which has featured star alumni such as Aston Martin.

Chris added: “The past few years have seen us bring numerous new product innovations to the market and this strategic move allows us to future-proof and continue to expand our site machinery operation.

“It feels particularly apposite investing in i54 as our family-run business, based nearby in Shrewsbury, is this year marking its 150th year of successful trading and investment here in the Midlands."

Planning has been submitted for the development and the deal was negotiated with Bulleys on behalf of Staffordshire County Council and City of Wolverhampton Council.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “Morris Site Machinery has seen significant expansion in recent years with growing global sales and we are pleased the company has chosen i54 South Staffordshire as its new base.

“This business is the perfect fit for i54 South Staffordshire – a Midlands engineering and manufacturing firm that is clearly going from strength to strength.

"We are sure the prime positioning of the site and accessibility onto the motorway network will support future growth.

“This is another success story for i54 and again demonstrates our hard work as a council partnership has paid off.”

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “We are delighted Morris Site Machinery has chosen i54 as its new home to expand their thriving business.

“Our joint investment in i54 has already secured hundreds of millions of pounds of further investment and brought thousands of jobs to the area and this latest announcement means further investment in our city and, most importantly, more jobs.

“It again illustrates that demand is high for more accommodation from potential investors in a number of sectors, which is why recently securing planning permission for the western extension of i54 will enable us to facilitate these requests and benefit local residents and businesses.”

IronmongeryDirect listed in Top 350 internet retailers

THE UK’s leading supplier of ironmongery to the trade, IronmongeryDirect, has been named as one of the top internet retailers in the UK.

The company has appeared, for the first time, in the Internet Retailing UK Top 500 - entering within the first 350 businesses.

The IRUK Top 500 report ranks retailers by revenue, store networks and website traffic as well as undertaking in-depth analysis into an organisation’s approach to customers.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “We are thrilled to have made it into the IRUK Top 500 internet retailers.

"To be included in a list of companies that consist of the likes of Amazon, John Lewis and Argos is a great reflection of our achievements and is an indication of the positive direction that IronmongeryDirect is heading in."

Wayne also stated while they had experienced their best financial year to date, the Basildon-based wholesaler was not resting on its laurels – with further expansion planned in 2019 and beyond.

Wayne added: “In the digital age where the standard 9-5 working hours are becoming less applicable, IronmongeryDirect is leading the way and continually evolving our business strategy, placing our customers firmly at the centre.”

IronmongeryDirect has recently completed a major expansion of its warehouse and is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year.

Wayne concluded: “The expansion has enabled us to improve our service offering whilst continuing to grow our product range, bringing the total range to over 17,000 products.

"This further cements our position as the leading supplier of ironmongery and related products to the trade in the UK."

IronmongeryDirect is the UK’s largest specialist ironmongery supplier, with over 17,000 products in stock, available for next day delivery when you order by 8pm Sunday to Friday and by 4pm on Saturday. Free delivery is available on orders over £45 together with free returns.

Thumbnail: Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect

TIMco expands warehouse to meet increasing customer demand

TIMCO, one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing wholesalers to the construction industry, has further expanded its warehousing facilities in order to improve efficiency and service to its growing customer base.

The newly expanded warehousing facilities, which will be operational from the end of February 2019, will allow for increased capacity and flexibility to offer their merchants an even greater service, in terms of stock availability and delivery speed.

The warehouse now totals 120,000 square-foot and features five new outbound loading bays – more than double the current count on site.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco, said: “Our recent warehouse expansion project enables us to be able to distribute a greater range of products to our customers, whilst also improving the service that we offer them.

The new warehousing space and loading bays will help us futureproof our operations and ensure that we are well placed to cope with the growing demand for our products.”

A second phase to this new development will see a mezzanine floor introduced to the warehouse in order to increase SKU count, as well as additional office space and an improved showroom to showcase all the latest ranges within the TIMco portfolio.

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent wholesale suppliers of screws, fasteners, fixings, nails, building chemicals and adhesives, power tool accessories, building hardware, site protection and ironmongery, is headquartered in Nantwich, Cheshire and imports and supplies more than 6,500 product lines from around the world to distributors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.

The company was established in 1972 and now employs 160+ members of staff from its offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.

Boels Rental opens a new depot in Stoke

HIRE company Boels Rental opens a new depot in Stoke-on-Trent on 25th February 2019.

The company already had a branch in Stoke, but thanks to continuous growth the location on Hyde Park soon became too cramped.

As of today, Boels Rental will serve its customers from the convenient and easily accessible location at James Brindley Way.

Debbie Wilcox, depot manager of the new location, said: “This new depot has a training facility in which we can offer our customers various courses in safety, such as IPAF and PASMA.

“The new location is strictly designed to offer our customers the most pleasant experience possible, which of course starts with available parking space.

“Furthermore, the product range will be expanded with large access equipment, as well as mini excavators, compressors and more, so we can serve our customers even better.”

Boels Rental in Stoke-on-Trent, located at Tunstall Arrow, James Brindley Way is open Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 5pm, and on Saturdays between 8am and noon.

About Boels

Boels Rental, founded in 1977, is one of the most renowned hire companies in Europe where the hire of machines, tools, units and catering and event equipment is concerned.

The family business, founded by Pierre Boels, is one of the fastest growing hire companies with 38 branches in the UK and over 400 branches spread across Europe.

WernerCo appoints APS as exclusive BoSS X Series distributor for UK and Ireland

THE UK’s leading manufacturer of access equipment, WernerCo, has announced the appointment of Access Platform Sales (APS) as its exclusive distribution partner for its BoSS® X-SERIES in the UK & Ireland.

Both companies have long enjoyed a successful relationship and to formalise its partnership it showcased the micro powered access platforms together at this year’s Executive Hire Show.

As part of the new distribution deal, both WernerCo and Cambridgeshire-based APS have launched a new advertising campaign featuring the X-SERIES, which is aimed at the hire and facilities management market.

Nick Platt, VP Ops EMEA & Managing Director of WernerCo UK, commented: “We recognise the valuable expertise that APS brings to the supply and servicing of the BoSS® X-SERIES in the UK and Ireland. By having an exclusive relationship with APS, it allows our customers to benefit enabling us both to present a simpler solution.”

The BoSS® X-SERIES from WernerCo is a modern alternative to traditional ladders and steps, offering a high level of safety whilst remaining easy to transport and operate. The range of self-propelled micro-scissor lifts has the benefit of being compact in dimensions, simplicity in operation and offers working heights of up to 5.2m.

APS Managing Director, Steve Couling, added: “BoSS® is a great brand and the X-SERIES has proved extremely popular in the push-around sector. By bringing in WernerCo as an exclusive partner it means we can focus on providing a better level of availability and commitment to this range, thereby giving our customers a better service.”

The BoSS® X-SERIES consists of the X3X, which has a maximum platform height of 3.2m and the BoSS® X3 at 2.55m. Both machines allow a safe working load of 240kg and are designed for use indoors in confined spaces as they fit through standard doorways and corridors as well as in passenger lifts.


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