Alphatrans: 'Opportunities under the DFDS banner are great'

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 29 Nov 2017

ABNORMAL load specialist Alphatrans will be adopted under the DFDS brand, with expansion and opportunity at the fore, should a major logistics acquisition be approved by the relevant authorities in the coming months. 

While the two businesses involved in the undisclosed deal - announced earlier this month - may be headquartered in Holland and Denmark respectively, the South Bank of the Humber is a substantial operating base for both.

This was underlined by DFDS executive vice president Eddie Green meeting the South Killingholme team just days after the agreement was made public.

Michael Edwards, who heads up the UK operations, welcomed him in to the base, bought three years ago as the business stepped up from an office location in Hessle. 

DEAL AGREED: Eddie Green, executive vice president of the logistics division at DFDS, left, with Alphatrans' head of UK operations, Michael Edwards, centre, and Allan Bell, vice president of DFDS Logistics at the South Killingholme site.

And Mr Green, a leading figure in the deal to buy Grimsby’s Quayside Distribution three years ago, has assured the 43-strong team it will be a positive step to drive to drive the combined businesses forward.

He said: “We have looked at Alphatrans for a long time as a potential acquisition target, they do a lot of good things and we see opportunities to expand the business because of the network we have as DFDS. It is quite a specialist business, people have a lot of knowledge and if we can spread that in to DFDS it will be good for the people here, good for the existing business and good for the port as well. We hope to facilitate growth, it is really about expansion.

“People do get nervous about change, about redundancy or relocation, but we have no plans for that. This is about making sure all the business will thrive. 

“For us, in the area, we are keen to expand and employ more people, particularly to develop a driving force.” 

Europe-wide, Alphatrans has 197 employees and a fleet of 720 trailers and 125 trucks. Like DFDS, as well as the UK, it also operates in Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Ireland, with further locations in Hungary, Portugal and Romania, welcome additions for those based in Nordic House on Port of Immingham’s Western Access Road. 

Allan Bell, vice president for DFDS Logistics there, said: “We have 10,000 customers and many will have will have a need for the services Alphatrans can supply, I’m looking forward to it.”

DFDS now employs 1,000 people across Grimsby and Immingham.

At Alphatrans Mr Edwards was brought in by Mr Bos 12 years ago to lead UK expansion, having overseen the acquisition of what was the H&L Garages site on the prominent junction of Eastfield Road and the A160. He said: “I have known Eddie for years and I think it was the right time, and it seems a logical step.

“I believe the opportunities this gives us under the DFDS banner are great. They have got a lot of people that we can tap in to and we have the specialist knowledge in long, wide, high and low movements, that I’m sure DFDS has clients for.”

Reflecting on the growth, he said: “We started off in 1994. It was just a one-man office in Hessle. I had a business, and I had moved it on, but Martin asked if I fancied the challenge of growing this business with him.  We grew it to the size it is today.

“We had just over 100 trailers when I joined, now well, I’ve lost count, but it makes us a fairly big player in the flatbed market.”

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