Ital Logistics anniversary year may be their most challenging - and rewarding - so far
When Phil Denton imagined the 20th anniversary celebrations for the international logistics company he founded in 2000, he didn’t picture also battling the twin threats of Britain’s exit from Europe and the global coronavirus pandemic.
But while faced with these monumental challenges, the company has dug deep, sought out new opportunities and used its family-business appeal to ride the rough road ahead with big ambitions for the future.
Phil has worked in logistics since leaving school in 1978, handling international cargo back when Manchester was still a major commercial port. A significant milestone occurred in 1989 when he was first tasked with managing an Italian trailer service. The country has been a key component of his career ever since.
He later developed Italian routes for a Burnley forwarder, during which time he was approached with the idea of starting his own business.
Ital Logistics was launched in partnership and with investment from three other directors, The company was founded in August 2000, but since 2015 has been solely owned by Phil and his wife, Dianne.
Back when it was founded, the company specialised in Italian routes only, supported by a solitary employee working out of a small brick cubicle around the back of a warehouse. Things have come a long, long way since.
While Italy still provides a major market for Ital Logistics, the company launched routes into Barcelona in 2008, and the wider Iberian peninsula soon afterwards. Greece, Portugal, Malta and France - the company’s fastest-growing market at present - have all followed.
and dedication of
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Moving beyond road routes, they have also expanded into sea and air freight - but only once Phil was convinced the company could do it justice and hired a specialist to oversee the operation.
The company recently posted revenues of more than £15m and has grown at a rate of around ten per cent in recent years. It is now based in a 16,000 sq ft facility, housing a team of 30. That team is one of the key distinguishers which has helped the company establish itself in the market. Run as a family business, Ital Logistics has a history of keeping long-serving employees on board. The majority of the current workforce have been a part of the team for more than a decade - the longest serving for more than 17 years.
2000 Ital Logistics founded
2001 First move into larger premises
2002 Winner of BIFA Freight Service award
2004 Phil Denton becomes company’s first qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor
2002 Winner of second BIFA Freight Service award
2008 Expands services with the addition of Iberian routes
2009 Gifts including computers and musical instruments transported to survivors of L’Aquila earthquake
2014 Sea freight forwarding facility launched, company moves into current 16,000 sq facility
2015 Phil and Dianne Denton take full ownership of company
2018 Expands services into France
2020 Gold livery designed for trailers to celebrate for 20th anniversary
Another key facet of their appeal is its dedication to its niche services. When it identified demand for the handling and carriage of dangerous goods, Phil was the first to take on the role of Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor. The company now has four, and this industry sector now accounts for around a quarter of their total business.
At a time when cross-border trade and travel is at historic lows, whilst many industry sectors have retraced in numbers, this niche specialisation in the chemical sector has enabled them to keep all services running as demand for many of these products has increased.
Speaking of which, Brexit will soon be upon us. But Phil believes his team is well-equipped and ready to handle the new set of challenges.
Already dealing with countries such as Andorra and Gibraltar means the company is no stranger to complex paperwork, and the bespoke software system it developed is ready for the new regulations. In fact, a more complicated export system may even benefit experts such as Ital Logistics, who can shoulder the stresses and strains on behalf of customers.
Fractured international relations certainly haven’t dampened Phil’s enthusiasm for the future, nor have they changed its course. In fact, the contrary.
He says: “Most of our foreign partners are on the same wavelength. We share common goals. We don’t have ‘agents’, but ‘partners’ who work together as one. I believe that this is what sets us apart from many of our competitors.”
But whilst the company now has services throughout many parts of Europe, Phil will always have a soft spot for his colleagues at ITX Cargo in Italy. “Having known them since 1993, we have become true friends as well as business partners, and, in some respects, the success of Ital Logistics is also in part attributable to them.
“The comradeship and dedication of our people in pulling together this year has been remarkable”, says Phil. “They are the vision and the vehicle for future growth of the company, long after I take a back seat.”
For rates and bookings into Europe and beyond, call 01706 248 001 or visit ital-logistics.com