Growing in other sectors

05 March 2014

Recession – challenge or opportunity?

There are lessons to be drawn from every event – and a recession is no different. That doesn’t mean I am going for the ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ approach, because clearly that hasn’t been the case for everyone, and we all prefer good times to bad. The tough economic climate of the past five or six years has brought predictable challenges. Purchasing managers are under pressure, margins become tighter, every cost is scrutinised in minute detail. Certainly, the days where it was a case of ‘just get the job done’ are over.

But what hasn’t changed is the demand for a good quality service, especially in our core activity of specialised heavy lift and out of gauge transport.

Highlights in the past few years?

We have remained extraordinarily busy. Among the notable highlights in the past two or three years, Allseas has dismantled and transported an entire glassmaking factory from Birmingham to Brazil, delivered British-manufactured gas turbines and generators to Egypt, and arranged the consolidation and transport of five vast generator units, two equipment control rooms and other vital components to the nuclear power station at Shimane, in the wake of Japan’s tragic tsunami.

These are jobs that demand real expertise, not cut-price half-measures. For us, the challenge is streamlining our operations as much as possible to provide the right services at the right time – while never compromising on quality.

And guess what? It’s the people that make the difference. Time and again, it becomes clear that it is good people that make a good company. Many of Allseas staff have been with us since from our early days, and all of them understand that shipping simply isn’t a nine to five job.

Plans for growth?

We have been expanding rapidly – such that we have just moved to new offices in Rochdale, because we needed more space. The team are all ambitious to grow and we are excited about the future. We are getting more and more involved in the retail sector, moving hundreds of containers on a monthly basis and acting as UK agents for some key distributors.

What will those changes mean for Allseas?

Allseas has always been known as a heavy lift and OOG specialist – that will still be the core business, but more will be happening in retail and we are looking at opportunities in other sectors, too.

Yes, we have historically been heavily weighted in favour of project cargo exports, but more and more is coming to the table within a wider general freight forwarding mix. The retail element includes LCL, FCL, warehousing, transport and distribution. That is likely to be dominated by imports into the UK – but at the same time, there are opportunities to bring consumer goods into the UK for onward distribution to mainland Europe.

Besides this, Allseas has taken a significant step into minerals. We have traditionally been involved in the movement of mining equipment around the globe – now we have expanded into moving the actual minerals, too. This has involved vast amounts of containers, as well as shipping in bulk vessels, it has grown to a level where it has commanded its own desk and dedicated team of experts.

So a busy 2014?

Yes, this will be a year of expanding and doing more. We are hoping to open more offices overseas, too. We are interested in setting up strategic joint ventures overseas and we are looking forward to developing our import product. In a nutshell, any opportunities that present themselves in 2014 – we will consider.

Author: Darren Wright, Managing Director

Also published on: Lloyd’s Loading List


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