London, United Kingdom
October 13, 2003
Richard Armstrong with Comments by Peter Brown
Wincanton purchased P&O Trans European in January, 2003. The purchase made Wincanton the third largest contract logistics company in Europe, expanding service from the British Isles to 15 countries. The purchase also expanded Wincanton’s emphasis from fast moving convenience goods to industrial, automotive, high-tech and healthcare.
Also, with its 152 million pound investment, Wincanton acquired a barge business on the Rhine, rail operations, bulk grain operations and a host of new operating concerns.
Major among these are the bans on Sunday trucking in France and Germany, short work weeks, extensive vacation time, multiple but differing holiday schedules and the August European vacation shut down. With all of this lost time also comes more trade union involvement and governmental regulation. Issues like replacing employees are more difficult. Wincanton also went from being primarily an English speaking firm to one with several languages. A further complication is the pallet sizes. They are different in the British Isles and Europe, and in Europe freight that is not palletized is fairly common.
Overcoming all of these difficulties has become Wincontan’s mission and part of its plan to be a true Pan-European logistics provider. Wincanton often uses a 4PL style approach relying on shared IT user networks and local delivery agents operating under the Wincanton brand.
Wincanton has adjusted to the unique operating circumstances of each country while maintaining an overarching communications network and control.
Turnover will be 2.2 billion euros this year. Profitability is improving and the stock price is rising.