A GLOBAL freight management company is expanding its presence in the North East, following a year of rapid growth.
The company, which specialises in creating bespoke freight solutions for businesses across the globe, increased its headcount with the appointment of a new apprentice last year and harbours ambitious plans for the future.
“The last 12 months have been fantastic for us as a business,” said branch manager Norman Thompson. “And we’re showing no signs of slowing down.”
Boasting 36 years’ experience in the industry, Norman first moved to the BIC some 20 years ago when he launched his own freight management company, TFS Ltd in 1999.
Following 13 years of steady growth, his business was acquired by TransGlobal and he became the branch manager of its new Sunderland branch.
“I’ve worked in this sector for over 36 years now, I don’t know anything else,” he added. “We’ve faced our challenges over the years, as have all industries, but even in times as uncertain as this, our quality of service continues to carry us through.”
Norman, for the past 20 years, has been an avid supporter of apprenticeships and upskilling his staff and this is at the heart of the company’s growth.
He explains: “As an industry, it’s incredibly hard to find people with the skills and experience required to work in freight management.
“Those that are experienced are hard to find – and because of that – come at a premium, which is why it’s vital that we have a pipeline of young people coming through that we can upskill.
“I recruited my first apprentice 3 years ago after meeting Milltech Training in Sunderland. She is still with us today and is now a vital member of our team.
“So much so, that we made the decision towards the end of last year to take on a new apprentice and are delighted to have welcomed Elle to our team.”
The company’s growing headcount meant Norman and his team would need to move offices and – having spent many successful years at the BIC – choosing where to go was a no-brainer.
“We’re delighted to have moved into a new office at the BIC and I’m proud of the growth we have achieved that has enabled us to do this,” Norman said.
“Once we spoke to the team at the BIC and they informed us that there were larger spaces available on site, we knew it would’ve been crazy to move elsewhere as it’s such a fantastic place to run a business.
“The location is great, the price is great and the staff here are genuinely good people, they’re always on hand to help. We’ve also benefited from the courses they run, which are aimed at helping businesses like us grow.
“For example, one of the guys recently participated in a free health and safety course which was carried out on site. If we needed them for something urgent, they were still here and on hand to help.
“It would’ve been impossible for us to put our staff through as many courses as we have without having this support on our doorstep, it has really helped us grow as a business.”
Looking forward, Norman is aware of the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union and the impact it will have on the sector but insists that the company is well placed to weather any storm it may bring.
“It’s a really tricky one as nobody knows what’s going to happen, not even the Government,” he said. “For us, as a company which moves freight in and out of the UK on a daily basis, it’s naturally going to have an impact but there’s not much we can do about it.
“One thing I do know is we’ll continue to work hard, providing the best service we possibly can and helping businesses across the UK transport their goods and services across the globe.
“We’re an island nation which is built on trading with others and that won’t just come to a halt because of Brexit.
“It’ll be challenging but whatever happens, we’ll be there to help keep the country trading.”
Donna Surtees, Centre Manager at the BIC, said: “We’re delighted that TransGlobal is continuing to invest in Sunderland and especially here at the BIC.
“The fact that we’ve managed to retain the services of a tenant which has been based here for two decades is testament to the fantastic work put in by everyone at the BIC.
“The company is a fantastic example of how entrepreneurial businesses can grow by investing in young people and upskilling staff and we wish them all of the best for the future.”