Haulage boss’s anger at freight firm closure
PUBLISHED: 15:31 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:31 24 February 2020
A haulage operator is up in arms at the shock closure of an Ipswich freight firm, claiming he had to cut back on staffing and vehicles as a result.
Creditor Richard Bryant of Quickfreight, Felixstowe, said his firm was a sub-contractor to Go Freight at Ransomes Europark. Its sudden shutdown early in February had left his business out of pocket to the tune of £62k for work as yet unpaid, he claimed.
As a result, he has cut his fleet from 25 to 18, and dropped from 18 drivers to 10. He owns some trucks but also leases others. He employs 10 drivers, but takes on agency staff to complement the workforce, so he has slashed his agency workforce and leased vehicles.
"I'm downsizing. I have just got to trade out of it, and we have lost all our profit. Everybody here works hard, works long hours, and obviously there'll be no pay rises - there'll be nothing," he said.
Creditors and what's thought to be dozens of lorry drivers working for Go Freight learnt on Tuesday, February 11, that it had shut down. Prior to that, Go Freight had delivered container loads from the Port of Felixstowe to destinations all over the country.
Insolvency firm LB Insolvency wrote to employees and business creditors on February 13 to inform them that it has been instructed to assist the directors in placing the company into creditors' voluntary liquidation, and that workers' contracts were terminated.
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Mr Bryant said his firm's services were being used right up until days before, and he had no idea what was coming. Although the shutdown was a big blow to his business, he took measures immediately to ensure he remained on a firm financial footing, he explained.
"I was shocked," he said. "My jaw hit the floor."
He described seeing "obviously not very happy" truck drivers arriving at the Go Freight offices at Basepoint, The Havens, after the news broke that they had lost their jobs as a result of the firm's closure. He had turned up himself to find out what was going on.
"Literally the day it happened I got a phone call from a guy I knew in Dubai who said 'have you heard about Go Freight?'" he said. "Everyone is just quite angry at how it happened."
The haulage boss, who says he also operates warehousing and recruitment businesses, said he was pessimistic of his chances of recovering what's owed to him. "I have got no hope," he said. "They have left us in a mess."
Lorry driver Pete Bland, of Hadleigh, who worked for Go Freight from August last year until its closure in February, said he was a "bit shocked" when it happened.
He estimated he was owed about £1k, and was critical of what he felt was a lack of communication once the decision was taken to close the business.
The directors of Go Freight have been approached for a comment, but previously had no comment to make. LB Insolvency has also been approached. A spokewoman previously said: "We have only recently been instructed, and are unable to give out confidential information at this stage of the process."