Morecambe logistics business doubles turnover

A former nurse and emergency despatcher who set up her own haulage company is making a healthy profit after three years in business.

SCS LogsSandra Cottam-Shea has almost doubled turnover and the number of staff since founding SCS Logistics in Morecambe.

Over the last three years turnover has gone up from £565,000 to just under £1m, and she has taken on four new staff, bringing the total number up to ten.

The company, which employs two administration staff, two night drivers and six day drivers, is viewed by The Pallet Network as one of the top 100 independent hauliers in the UK.

Sandra, 53, had also previously worked as longhaul cabin crew before setting up the business, which uses pallets to transport goods across the UK and around the world.

She said: "We move everything from beer barrels, salt, office furniture, fire retardant materials, engines, farm equipment and feed, bathrooms, food stuffs, millions of tiles and building supplies. Cockles and mussels too on occasion. We can transport oversize goods with notice, but certainly anything which will fit on a pallet we can move."

Among her customers are one which ships goods from Northern Ireland to a charity in Romania and another in Guildford that sells horse bedding through the country.

She puts the success of the operation down to a mix of factors: "We've been actively managing the accounts, the economy is on the up and we have realistic pricing. If it's too cheap we can't look after our customers, and if it's too expensive, they go elsewhere. It is costly running trucks. We get between eight and 18 miles per gallon and insurance, road tax, and legalities are expensive.

"We run on a green light - which means that we are transparent in our maintenance and safety records in compliance with the Traffic Office "

Sandra's company is part of The Pallet Network (TPN), which has a distribution hub in Minworth, Birmingham.

SCS is responsible for deliveries and collections in the Lancaster and Isle of Man postcodes. They pick up pallets from clients which are taken to the hub in Birmingham and redistributed. Goods which need delivering in Lancaster or the Isle of Man are brought up to SCS to distribute. Freight forwarding using other accredited carriers means the company can realistically move freight around the world. Sandra said: "Haulage is stereotypically a male environment but I have to say that throughout the industry I have been offered support and advice from all sides. Too many individuals and companies to name them all but working alongside the likes of Bob Woodhouse Plant Hire and suppliers such as TRS Tyres and Chris Rose has certainly made the learning curve a lot easier. My staff are amazing and if it wasn't for my office manager, Sarah Metcalfe, it would have been impossible. The enthusiasm and loyalty from the lads is always appreciated by me."