A TRANSPORT firm dating back more than 150 years is set to go global.
Hanson Logistics – founded in 1848 to ferry textiles between Huddersfield and the local mills – is set to open an office in China as part of a major expansion plan.
The family-owned company – chaired by Robert Hanson, son of Huddersfield-born business tycoon the late Lord Hanson – has set up a freight forwarding division to extend its reach from the UK and mainland Europe to the Far East and south-east Asia.
Managing director, Peter Roe, has been on several trips to China, India and Hong Kong over the past 15 months to lay the ground for the new service, which will offer a “one-stop” shop for Hanson’s new and existing customers.
He said: “We looked at a couple of potential acquisitions, but decided in the end to set up our own freight forwarding business.
“Robert Hanson has always been interested in the south-east Asia region, where he spent his formative years in business. What we have in the UK is a well-worn market place and we saw a lot of potential in south-east Asia, China and India.”
Mr Roe added: “We are a well-established Huddersfield company spreading our wings. We are quite excited about it because we see it adding substantially to the business.”
Mr Roe said the firm planned to open a Hanson-branded office in China to deal directly with manufacturers and distributors of raw materials, components and finished goods for import into the UK and Europe.
Hanson Logistics, based at Ashgrove Road, off Leeds Road, Deighton, also specialises in handling packaged chemical products. The neighbouring ICI works was one of Hanson’s key clients for many years and Hanson still deals with chemical firms on the site.
Hanson, which has about 100 employees, has appointed Adam Wheeler as forwarding manager to lead the new division.
Mr Wheeler said the new division would use the firm’s existing facilities to package or re-package chemical products before taking them to their final destination.
Mr Roe said Hanson also planned to build additional storage and packaging facilities on the site of some of its old buildings.
The new premises will duplicate Hanson’s 100,000sq ft warehouse, built in 1999, which has space for more than 100,000 pallet loads of goods.
Despite the global recession, Hanson is optimistic about its new target market.
“It is still a very vibrant market,” said Mr Roe. “We already have existing customers in India and China.
“But we can differentiate ourselves from the competition by being able to offer a one-stop service – from collection in Asia to delivery in Halifax.
“We can re-package the goods and deliver via our own fleet, making it easier for the customer who only has to deal with an invoice and make one phone call.”
Hanson Logistics traces its origins to 1848 when farmer’s wife ,Mary Hanson, commandeered some of her husband’s horses to provide a regular transport service taking wool from Huddersfield to the local cottage weavers and their finished textiles back to Huddersfield.