Our yellow vehicles might be best known in the Emerald Isle, but TPN is fast gaining a reputation as the company to go to for international transport. “Imports from the UK have increased massively over the last two years,” says John Donnelly, who with Matt Flint and Paul Massey run the International Department. “we used to struggle to fill two double- decker trailers per night; now we handle three full double-deckers every day.”
“Although the improved economy has helped, the increased volumes have raised our profile, so people know about us and start coming to TPN for UK shipments. And some of the imports originate elsewhere in Europe, coming into TPN UK before being transferred onto trailers bound for Ireland.”
Export volumes are not quite as great, but over 100 pallets per night leave Ireland for the UK, compared to 150 pallets coming in from the UK.
“We’re starting to do more full loads, part loads, and out of guage freight. These jobs involve moving pallets, but we also handle non-palletised cargo such as machinery, which we move through external partners.”
And while shipments to and from the UK form the bulk of the International Department’s work, freight forwarding is also becoming an important source of revenue. Weekly services are offered to all countries in Europe in conjunction with partners, most of whom have had a long relationship with Independent Express and then TPN.
“Some partners cover a number of countries, such as Southern Europe, Benelux or Scandinavia,” explains Paul. “We develop good relationships with a wide range of international providers and as we carry out Irish distribution for them, they want to give us a good service.
“Most of the departures are on Friday or Saturday, but Monday and Thursday are popular too. We can run a groupage service on any day of the week, if there is sufficient demand. Germany is a big export destination for us, with Italy being a major source of imports.”
Deep-sea shipments are growing, too, with two or three customers importing from China every month, regular exports to the US and a number of exports into Greece and the UAE.
“We export a lot of seaweed for fertilising golf courses, especially to the US,” adds Paul.
Although the International Department is more than happy to arrange airfreight shipments, these are, says Paul, ‘occasional’, although three-five parcel jobs per week come through the department.
“We’re hoping to increase volumes from network members,” Paul emphasises. “There are plenty of opportunities for members to take their customer’s European and long-haul business: it’s just a case of making sure everyone knows about our international capabilities.