When the French-based Seafrigo Group – which operates via its own infrastructure in 26 countries and a network of specialist global partners – announced the acquisition of UK logistics and supply chain specialist PML in July, it fuelled much speculation as to what the deal represents for the industry – and for the customers of both businesses.
At a time when many large corporations are looking to scale down investments in assets, Seafrigo is bucking the trend with its commitment to remain asset heavy to ensure guaranteed seamless solutions for the transfer of perishable goods, avoiding any reliance on third parties which may jeopardise the ability to avoid breaks in the cold chain.
Therefore, the purchase of PML provides the group with an excellent opportunity to expand its portfolio of assets, including ownership of the company’s HMRC / DEFRA approved Border Control Posts and ERTS bonded warehouse facilities in Kent and Heathrow, as well as PML’s fleet of lorries all of which facilitate a smooth onward transfer for imports / exports into and from Europe. In addition to the warehousing at Kent and Heathrow, Seafrigo plans to acquire additional storage solutions for perishable goods in the UK.
Seafrigo’s Regional CEO Jason Spencer-Knox anticipates the integration of PML into Seafrigo’s operations will be relatively straightforward, with the majority of Seafrigo’s worldwide network representing destinations that PML already has established connections with, handling the import and export of temperature sensitive goods associated with these countries. PML’s 30-strong truck fleet will continue to run in the UK with PML seeking out overseas partners to work with, in line with its successful working relationship with Tulpin Group*.
Spencer-Knox says, “Seafrigo and PML share a very similar ethos in terms of how to address the golden mile hurdle for growers, producers and manufacturers in a post-Brexit trading environment and are therefore perfectly aligned to provide the best-in-class service to existing customers and new prospects. With both companies holding the needs of the customer at the heart of all operations, including keeping a tight rein on costs, merging PML into the Seafrigo offering can only represent a positive, especially as there is scope to access even more competitive pricing given the increased buying power of the Group.”
PML – now operating as PML Seafrigo – has an established track record for innovation and staying ahead of the curve to adapt to the changing needs of the industry. While it is too early to reveal planned new strategies under the new parent company, PML’s former MD, and now PML Seafrigo Director Mike Parr is confident that customers will continue to benefit from the forward-thinking approach for which the business is renowned for. That said, both Spencer-Knox and Parr agree that there is no need for change for change’s sake, abiding by the adage ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.
“With our 20 years’ experience in the sector, combined with Seafrigo’s 47 years of trading, our customers are set to benefit from some of the best knowledge and understanding in the business in relation to the exacting and specialist needs for consignments of perishable goods. This paired with both companies’ overriding commitment to highly personalised customer care enables us to confidently guarantee a superior service and complete end-to-end solution that provides peace of mind that not only are the client’s goods in safe hands, but also that all transfers will be mindful of the prevailing importance of maximising and preserving shelf life.”
While the focus of the industry is on the service offering to customers, the evolution of PML to PML Seafrigo also represents a positive move for staff. The extensive Seafrigo portfolio provides scope for more travel, wider integration with Seafrigo’s other international offices and the opportunity for access to further training and development initiatives, in addition to the potential to request transfers within Seafrigo’s worldwide network.
The outlook for both Seafrigo and PML Seafrigo is bright and in time, the parent company will reveal its vision for the future of UK international logistics, drawing upon Parr and his team’s exceptional knowledge of the complexities – and frustrations – associated with the UK trading landscape.