Chesterfield logistics specialist, Hastings Freight, sold to duo in management buyout

Husband and wife duo, George and Claire Hewitt, have completed a management buyout of Hastings Freight Limited (HFL), the well-established logistics firm based in Chesterfield, one of the founding members of Palletways in the UK and a member of the Road Haulage Association (RHA).  The couple’s investment stabilises a mature business which is well regarded in its sector to provide a strong platform for its future development. They acquired the shareholding and now own 100 per cent of the company when the existing owners retired after many years of dedicated service.

Both were employees of HFL prior to the Management Buy Out (MBO); George has a tenure of nearly 15 years, most recently as its general manager, while Claire joined the Operations team five years ago and became the business development manager 18 months ago.  The Hewitts were advised by Strategic Corporate Finance and Dawson Radcliffe Solicitors.  Palletways, Europe’s largest and fastest growing express palletised freight network is part of JSE-listed Imperial Logistics (Imperial).

HFL began trading in 1983 and in its early days operated as a general haulier before joining the newly formed Palletways network in 1998. Since then, the company has grown to employ 75 people and operate a fleet of 34 vehicles. Working with Palletways and other partners, HFL provides transport across the UK and overseas to a wide range of customers.

The company services Sheffield’s ‘S’ postcodes and some of Doncaster’s ‘DN’ postcodes exclusively for Palletways and is ideally positioned in Chesterfield off the M1.  Claire said: “George and I are passionate about transport and supporting local independent businesses, as well as larger companies, with their transport needs.  HFL is a steadfast company whose relationships with customers is built upon reliability and communication, and we don’t plan on changing what works. Our employees are the key to this and are what make the business what it is.

We were keen to make the MBO happen to ensure that employees are valued for who they are and what they contribute, and we’re delighted to have reached a successful conclusion with the sale.” George adds: “There’s no significant or material change to the running of the business and we’ll continue to provide the same quality and service levels going forward. We thank our valued employees and customers for their support during this process, against the backdrop that the challenges recent months have brought.

Looking ahead, we’ll keep investing in our people and technology to provide even greater customer service, and to adapt to changing consumer buying patterns, whilst remaining competitive. “We value our position within our local community and wider haulage industry and recognise our responsibility to ensure we grow the business mindfully, working with sustainable and environmentally- aware suppliers and customers.” Rob Gittins, managing director of Palletways UK, said: “The Palletways network is growing all the time.

It continues to go from strength to strength because of companies such as HFL and the passion of people like George and Claire.  The MBO is great news for the future of the company and I’m confident it’ll continue to flourish under their strategic direction.” Hastings Freight is one of 120 independent transport providers that are part of Palletways UK network. They benefit from shared expertise and resources from within the group to deliver consignments of palletised freight to market faster and more cost effectively than ever before.

The Palletways Group, renowned for its industry-leading IT developments and operational systems, comprises over 450 depots and 20 hub operations, through which it provides collection and distribution services across 24 European countries, including the UK.