One of the UK’s largest Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) experts, Continental Cargo Carriers (CCC), has announced an investment worth €4.2m to expand its fleet by 42 per cent.
An impressive 156 brand new trailers will be added to the firm’s vehicle portfolio in the coming months. This represents the biggest single investment since the company was acquired in 2018 by Europa Worldwide Group.
CCC currently operates 270 trailers from its warehouse bases in Dartford and Belgium. Due to immense demand for the transportation of goods between the UK and Europe following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, more vehicles are required to fulfil historic order numbers.
The extraordinarily successful business had always planned to make further investments under its ambitious growth strategy, but recently took the decision to expedite this in response to market needs.
As Carlo Turner, General Manager at CCC explained: “There has been a remarkable increase in our daily full and part load consignment traffic volumes over the past year. As lockdowns eased and the UK economy bounced back, CCC has never been busier.
“We’re now delivering more than an average 22,000 loads. This increased demand has come from customers of all sizes, across all sectors, and in all countries that we serve.
“It was always a corporate objective to expand our operations within the next year, but we have brought the timeframe forward because our revised economic forecasts were so positive.”
This news reflects the fact the wider Ro-Ro market has rebounded from the shock of the global pandemic, a trend that is set to continue, according to leading analytical experts.
According to the Department for Transport, all major UK ports saw a decline in the number of Ro-Ro vehicles being handled at UK ports in 2020, down 31 per cent on 2019 levels, to 12.3m units. This was the lowest level since records began.
However, the situation has now improved significantly. More recent National Statistics data from mid-2021 indicates Ro-Ro increases can be interpreted as a return to the more normal levels seen prior to the pandemic.
The entire UK logistics industry worked incredibly hard to claw back the huge reduction in volumes seen at the peak of the crisis. However, the industry continues to face a different challenge, namely the growing skills shortage across the entire sector.
Increasing the number of staff and training were the highest Human Resources (HR) priorities for UK logistics firms this year, something which is also a major focus at CCC.
As well as investing in its stock to expand its logistics capabilities, CCC is also bolstering its 32 strong workforce. The company is set to embark on the first phase of its human capital development plan, with the recruitment of four individuals.
These new starters will sit within the business development, managerial and operational divisions.
They will be responsible for helping the team generate innovative ideas and initiatives that lead to greater efficiencies whilst also building up new and exciting strategic partnerships.
Carlo continued: “Increasing the scope of talent within CCC is a further priority for the business. As we move our expansion strategy up a gear, it is crucial that we have the right team in place so we can harness the skills within our dedicated team and push towards our growth objectives.
“We have always prided ourselves on our long history of delivering high-quality, streamlined logistics services to our customers, but with a personal touch.
“The time is right to enhance our existing workforce as CCC continues to go from strength to strength. It is vital that we plan for the future to stay ahead of the curve.”
As well as investing in its vehicles and staff, CCC has also – in recent years – allocated significant resources to bolster its bespoke Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system, Leonardo.
This has optimised the flow of information within the business, ensuring CCC continues to offer a competitive advantage and enhanced experience to its customers. They can now collaborate to make better judgements in the planning of routes and tracking of shipments, ensuring their goods are transferred faster between locations.
The deployment of improved ICT capabilities across the business has also delivered greater visibility in performance. This means CCC is better equipped to meet its target to ensure consignments arrive at any UK or European location within 24 hours of dispatch.
In response to Brexit, CCC also created Continental Flow, a Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) product to keep imports and exports running smoothly. Uptake of this innovative but simple, two-step solution, has been immense, because it dealt with the EU Value Added Tax (VAT) and duty requirements on a customer’s behalf.
Carlo added: “It has been a tough few months but we have weathered the combined Covid and Brexit storm. We are delighted to now be focusing our attention on these exciting investment plans, whilst consolidating our position in the UK and European markets as one of the safest and most trusted logistics partners.”
Established in 1973, CCC works with Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and large multi-national clients. Although acquired by Europa Worldwide Group in 2018, which has its headquarters in Dartford, Kent, it operates as an entirely separate division of the business.