Denholm UK Logistics operates a fast-growing logistics network that includes 1.3m sq ft of warehouse space and 84 vehicles. Tony McDonough reports
It is hard to imagine a business sector that is as important to our everyday lives as logistics and yet has such a low public profile. How many people on the street could name a logistics company?
Yet it is businesses such as Liverpool-based Denholm UK Logistics that ensure all the ‘stuff’ that is essential to the running of the modern world is moved from A to B as swiftly and as efficiently as possible.
From its headquarters in the heart of Liverpool’s commercial district, Denholm operates a fast-growing logistics network that includes 1.3m sq ft of warehouse space and 84 vehicles used to pick up and deliver goods across the UK.
Employing 80 people in Liverpool and 300 across the country at locations including Wakefield, Felixstowe, Tilbury, Southampton and Birmingham, Denholm UK Logistics is part of the 153-year-old global J&J Denholm Group which has an annual turnover of over £500m
Its 1.3m sq ft of warehouse space includes 400,000 sq ft at Warrington, 300,000 sq ft at the Port of Liverpool, 220,000 sq ft at Kirkby, 156,000 sq ft in Felixstowe, 100,000 sq ft at Tilbury as well as a 120,000 sq ft timber-handling facility at Dunningsbridge Road in Bootle, which opened earlier this year.
Denholm UK Logistics commercial manager Mark Critchley knows the logistics business inside out, having started work in the company’s 12-acre site in Kirkby, on the outskirts of Liverpool, 17 years ago.
He said: “The facility in Kirkby handles hardwood timber and, 10 years ago, that was the main focus of the company. But now we have expanded to offer full port-centric warehouse solutions. During that last decade we have worked closely with Peel Ports to open more warehouse space at the Port of Liverpool.
“We now have 700,000 sq ft of FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) warehouses with 300,000 sq ft space at the port – up from 100,000 10 years ago. Distributing goods direct from the port makes sense. It is a much cheaper option than moving them to a distribution centre inland.”
He added the company was now converting some of its port warehouse space into a e-commerce logistics facility. It will handle and distribute goods from pushchairs to Disney-branded goods to power tools and foodstuffs direct to customers who have ordered them online.
Denholm UK Logistics was merged with the former Denholm Transport haulage business as a bolt-on to its logistics operation. The fleet of vehicles are supported by more than 300 sub-contractors, providing a wide variety of trailer chassis. All movements are controlled by a sophisticated computerised tracking network.
Mark added: “The growth of the Port of Liverpool is really helping to support our growth as a company. It is fantastic news for the city region that we are now seeing shipping lines transferring more of their business from the southern ports to here.
“We work with major shipping lines including CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd and we are currently overseeing over 300 container movements a day. We are expecting that number to grow significantly in the coming years.
“It is hard to see what the long-term impact of Brexit will be but what we have seen this year is a big increase in stockpiling ahead of the departure from the EU. I’ve never seen warehouses as full as they have been this year.”
Denholm UK Logistics is also increasing its external activities. This year it has adopted the Princes Trust as its chosen charity and it is also stepping up its involvement with Mersey Maritime. Mark explained: “Mersey Maritime offers us fantastic opportunities to promote our business and also to meet other members.
“The maritime sector in the Liverpool city region is a community and there is a real sense of helping each other. If we all grow then we all benefit.”