Diversify to multiply

Diversify to multiply - Pollock Lift & Shift - The Standard Magazine

Known for its general haulage business, family-run haulier Pollock (Scotrans) moved into the lorry-mounted crane and heavy haulage sector following an acquisition at the start of the year. Now Pollock Lift & Shift is planning its future in a very competitive market. Kevin Swallow reports

With 180 trucks and tractor units, 320 trailers and 12 operating centres, the company today employs more than 250 people

Since October 2006 Pollock (Scotrans) has been based on a nine-acre site at Bathgate, West Lothian, following its move from Musselburgh where it had been based since 1954.

The company goes back even further. In 1935 George Pollock started in Corstorphine, west Edinburgh, growing the transport business until it was nationalised in 1949.

His business became part of British Road Services with George as the group manager for East Lothian and the Borders. When partial de-nationalisation took place in 1954 he bought some vehicles and acquired an Operator Licence to ‘restart’ the business.

George’s sons Ian (now chairman) and George joined the business in the 1960s, and now the third generation is involved. Ian’s sons Scott, who joined in 1984, and Fraser, in 1993, have worked their way through the business and today are joint managing directors.

Fleet details

With 180 trucks and tractor units, 320 trailers and 12 additional operating centres across Scotland and northern England, the company today employs more than 250 people.

During those 83 years, the company has centred its business on collecting and delivering dry goods. More recently Pollock (Scotrans) has shown signs of diversification. In 2017, the company started an employment agency, Pollock Recruitment Services, to focus on temporary and permanent jobs in transport as well as non-driving sectors like warehousing.

It has now moved into bulk transport with 15 tippers shifting aggregate from quarries across the central belt.

In December 2018, the building materials and construction solutions business Tarmac restructured its distribution model for its Cement and Lime issuing five-year logistics contracts to six logistics giants, with Pollock (Scotrans) taking the packed cement work for northern England and Scotland.

At the start of 2018 the company moved into the lorry-mounted crane and heavy-haulage sectors, following an acquisition of business, rolling stock and staff from vehicle rental company MV Commercial, based in Livingston.

Mark Jackson is Pollock (Scotrans) operations director. “We have brought in the expertise and have hit the ground running with Pollock Lift & Shift,” he says. “We have brought five people with drivers that came over under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations).”

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Plans for the future

The new division of Pollock (Scotrans) has bedded in successfully, so now the emphasis is to take the Lift & Shift enterprise forward. “Our business development team is now out there promoting Pollock Lift & Shift,” says Jackson.

As we move towards FORS Silver, we will need to do the vulnerable road users course, which includes spending time riding a bike

“We started with some cabin work and will look to develop that, and we are looking to our own existing customer base as well. Many of our customers in the dry freight sector are global businesses that also have some requirement for moving larger items as well.” One sector the company has already enjoyed success is delivering equipment for essential railway maintenance, and to that end the busiest truck is the Volvo FH 8×4. With a 10-tonne payload, it is better payload than the DAF with its seven tonne capability. “The 8×4 is ideal for cabins and moving three rail bogie trailers that can carry attachments. These weigh three tonnes each, so you can carry three at a time,” Jackson says. With more than 20 years of warehousing experience housing palleted goods under contract and ad hoc for the general haulage fleet, it is a service Pollock Lift & Shift will also look to offer its customers.

“We have the space to collect, store and deliver machines, and we have already stored road-rail vehicles in-between jobs rather than take them all the way back to Hemel Hempstead,” he confirms.

With the new activity, Jackson expects there will be a little restructuring in the future.

While grouping certain parts of the business is important, so too is establishing FORS auditing and accreditation, which Jackson says is vitally important as the company progresses.

“We will look to bring the tipper fleet into the Lift & Shift portfolio as a division of the business and separate it from general haulage. Part of the reason for that is so we can focus those vehicles and trailers for FORS Silver membership.”

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Continued driver training is essential for an operator to move towards FORS Silver accreditation

He confirms that the company is ready to go to the auditing process with Pollock Lift & Shift, to complement Pollock (Scotrans’) status as a FORS Bronze member.

Jackson understands that Silver accreditation means complying with CLOCS and with Transport for London’s WRRR (Work Related Road Risk) and is prepared.

It also means training programmes for the Driver CPC will be expanded to meet the requirements of drivers working for Pollock Lift & Shift, with emphasis on load securing.

“Pollock (Scotrans) is a JAUPT (Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training) approved company, which allows us to deliver in-house training. We have two driver trainers and have just completed a ‘working at height’ training module.

“As we move towards FORS Silver, we will need to do the vulnerable road users course, which includes spending time riding a bike,” recognises Jackson.

While Pollock Lift & Shift drivers are fully qualified with ADR (International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) and the RTITB Vehicle Mounted Hydraulic Lorry Loader (often called a lorry loader), these training modules, as well as Banksman Slinger/signaller qualifications, will be added to the training portfolio.

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