New haulier in drive for Scot­tish busi­ness

Fish Farmer - - Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019 -

SEAFOOD com­pa­nies in Scot­land may still be anx­ious about trans­port to the con­ti­nent post Brexit but at least there will be no short­age of lo­gis­tics ex­perts of­fer­ing their ser­vices.

Most of the coun­try’s farmed salmon is cur­rently handled by lo­gis­tics giant DFDS in Larkhall, but as of May there is a new op­tion – and it is look­ing for Scot­tish busi­ness.

Set up by Ir­ish seafood lo­gis­tics spe­cial­ist O’Toole Trans­port and Lux­em­bourg based re­frig­er­ated dis­tri­bu­tion spe­cial­ist John Driege, JDOT Lo­gis­tics will be based at a cen­tral dis­tri­bu­tion hub at Bell­shill near Glas­gow.

JDOT Lo­gis­tics will col­lect fish and shell­fish from pro­ces­sors and mar­kets in Scot­land and trans­port it overnight for ar­rival the next morn­ing at John Driege’s dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, for on­ward de­liv­ery to cus­tomers through­out Europe.

The ven­ture was launched dur­ing the Brussels expo, where Fish Farmer caught up with O’Toole, direc­tor of the new group, at his stand in Hall 3, which had al­ready at­tracted at least one Scot­tish salmon pro­ducer.

‘We’ve been look­ing at Scot­land for four or five years and last year a depot be­came avail­able in Bell­shill,’ said O’Toole.

‘When I saw it my heart missed a beat be­cause it was ex­actly what I wanted. It’s des­tiny, it has to hap­pen, now is the time.’

Scot­land is a new mar­ket for O’Toole, who has been op­er­at­ing in Ire­land and Europe un­til now, but his part­ner, John Driege, al­ready had some Scot­tish con­tacts.

‘He’s a friend of mine since 2006, he was at my wed­ding in 2008, so the friend­ship goes back for many years.

‘I was just speak­ing to John about dif­fer­ent things we were do­ing in our busi­ness and men­tioned Scot­land and he said, oh I’m try­ing to do some­thing in Scot­land as well.

‘John is based in Boulogne which is a key area for all seafood ex­ports han­dling in France and he would han­dle the prod­uct on be­half of Scot­tish cus­tomers.’

O’Toole, based in Gal­way with a depot in Dublin, said he was very proud of the ser­vice he of­fers his cur­rent cus­tomers and wanted to pro­vide ‘a bit of choice in the mar­ket’ in Scot­land.

‘One of our Ir­ish cus­tomers said yes­ter­day if she got the trans­port 20 per cent cheaper she wouldn’t move be­cause she’s so happy with the ser­vice.

‘I was de­lighted to hear that. When we work with cus­tomers it’s about part­ner­ing with them and, for us, pro­vid­ing a ser­vice so our cus­tomers know ex­actly where their goods are all the time.’

The fleet of 100 trucks will not only be tracked for lo­ca­tion, but will also track tem­per­a­ture when the goods are in tran­sit.

‘It gives great peace of mind to the cus­tomers and it makes our job very easy. We can ex­plain to the cus­tomer where the truck is and what time it’s go­ing to ar­rive.

‘Our aim is to of­fer the Scot­tish seafood sec­tor, es­pe­cially those with guar­an­teed next day de­liv­ery re­quire­ments, a pre­mium re­frig­er­ated ser­vice where they are con­fi­dent that their cus­tomers will get their or­ders on time and in the best pos­si­ble con­di­tion.’

O’Toole said he thought po­ten­tial cus­tomers would value hav­ing a closer re­la­tion­ship with a smaller operator.

‘Cus­tomers have come to us to­day and said it’s not go­ing to be about price, it’s go­ing to be about ser­vice.’

As for Brexit con­cerns, O’Toole said Driege has spe­cial­ists in Boulogne depot to deal with the pa­per­work.

‘In the port of Boulogne they’re open­ing a cus­toms clear­ance hub and the fast-track­ing sys­tem will ap­ply to every­body – the de­pots are for all to use, and they can drive their lor­ries in there the same as any­one else.’

Since O’Toole saw the Bell­shill depot last March he has al­ready at­tracted some Scot­tish cus­tomers, and in Brussels he was busy meet­ing po­ten­tial new clients.

He has been in talks with some of the Scot­tish salmon farm­ers, as well as smok­ers and down­stream pro­ces­sors.

Up to 10 jobs will ini­tially be cre­ated at the Bell­shill dis­tri­bu­tion hub, but it is an­tic­i­pated more will fol­low once JDOT Lo­gis­tics be­comes es­tab­lished.

And he said he had had no prob­lems re­cruit­ing drivers.

‘The door has been beaten down by Scot­tish drivers look­ing to come and wok for us. We have a great work­force in Ire­land, we have al­ready hired two drivers in Scot­land.

‘Our trucks will be in Boulogne from Ire­land ev­ery day so the Scot­tish drivers are speak­ing to our drivers and they know it’s a good firm to work for and like the idea of go­ing to a smaller com­pany.’

O’Toole ad­mit­ted that peo­ple are a bit ner­vous – ‘they say if we move to you are you still go­ing to be here in six months’ time’.

‘We’ve signed the lease for six years and want to be here in six years’ time. Our plan is to grow and hope­fully build a new place down the line.’

The Bell­shill unit is 20,000 sq ft unit, with five load­ing bays and park­ing for 30 trucks.

‘It’s go­ing to grow from there. The model I’m look­ing at is in Dublin, where we rented a ware­house five years ago, very sim­i­lar to the one we have now in Bell­shill.

‘And we bought a site in Dublin last year –it’s kind of a five-year process, get the depot, get the cus­tomers, out­grow the depot, buy a site, build a new big depot.

‘The place we’re build­ing in Dublin is five times the size of the one we moved into five years ago.’

“Cus­tomers have come to us to­day and said it’s not go­ing to be about price, it’s go­ing to be about ser­vice”

Above: Lau­rence O’Toole in Brussels Left: O’Toole with busi­ness part­ner John Driege and part of the their fleets

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.