VALENTINE Haulage is a business which has moved with the times since its establishment 14 years ago.
From mainly van-based courier deliveries the Bradford based company has become an all-round logistics specialist. Twelve vehicles, ranging from 44 tonne giants to compact vans, run loads across the UK and, if required, into Europe.
And helping Valentine source extra work and pick-up return jobs is Courier and Haulage Exchange, the online sister sites which provide a real-time information tool for the freight industry.
Founder and director, Paul Speight, signed up with Courier Exchange just a few months into its inception 10 years ago.
He said: "I’ve always been quite technically minded so when the Courier Exchange website was launched I was keen to get involved. We were more van based then and joining up was a way to expand the business."
As Courier Exchange has grown and developed so has Valentine Haulage and now a decade down the line the company concentrates more on larger, palletised loads.
The firm’s emphasis has swung towards the Haulage Exchange network with transport manager Paul Armitage working with the site on a daily basis.
But, he says, whether it’s the original Courier Exchange or sister site, Haulage Exchange, the benefits are the same. I think it would be very difficult working without the exchange, we’d be lost with it. We have vehicles all over the country and nine times out of ten we can get return loads for them through the exchange. There are other freight exchanges but they are not a patch on Courier and Haulage Exchange and it would be much harder for us if we were not involved."
Paul, who has been with Valentine for four years, is a huge fan of the websites, which offer logistics firms the opportunity to offer sub-contract runs, source extra work, gain local jobs and pick up return loads
"I have two computers on all day, every day and one of them is constantly logged onto Haulage Exchange," said Paul. "It’s really easy and straightforward to use and you get rapid results. For example I got an enquiry about taking six pallets to Leicester and because we didn’t have a vehicle available I put it on Haulage Exchange and within five minutes I’d got a call from another carrier who offered a price to do the job."
Paul added: "Haulage Exchange is a great way to share information and network jobs. We have got a lot of contacts and it all works really smoothly."
While most of Valentine’s work is UK based there is some international travel, which can offer unexpected perks, as Paul explained. "One of our customers involved in the exhibition business likes the personal touch which we as a UK haulier can provide. So we will take the load across the Channel and deliver it wherever the destination is using just one vehicle and driver. One of our vehicles went down to Cannes for the film festival and it meant the driver had to stay there for four days. That job proved particularly popular!"
The main advantage Valentine gains from Haulage Exchange is picking up return loads, so shoring up profit margins and reducing empty mileage.
Paul said: "If we have a vehicle in Wales or Scotland or down in London we can bring a load back up north much cheaper than companies based in those areas. I look on the system to see if anything needs moving then offer a price and generally it works for us. We don’t want empty vehicles returning to base it’s just wasted mileage and it eats into our profit."