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Shipping firm sees orders soar as Amazon orders go through the roof

PUBLISHED: 12:08 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:08 24 September 2020

Imorex Shipping Services Managing Director Graeme Connor and Operations Director Ross Bryant Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Imorex Shipping Services Managing Director Graeme Connor and Operations Director Ross Bryant Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy Brown

A Felixstowe shipping firm is looking to expand in response to post-lockdown demand.

Imorex  Shipping Services HQ in Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNImorex Shipping Services HQ in Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Imorex Shipping Services – which operates from a 60,000sq ft warehouse in Felixstowe – has seen trade boom after Amazon and Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) orders soared during the coronavirus crisis.

The firm was brought to the brink in 2019 but fought back under new owners who are keen to grow the business.

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Managing director Graeme Connor and Ross Bryant – who joined as operations director in November 2019 – now have a majority stake in the company.

Since September, they have changed shift patterns to offer an extended collection service from 7am to 7pm after taking on a raft of new customers post-lockdown. They are also taking on new staff and expanding the fleet.

Imorex  Shipping Services HQ in Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNImorex Shipping Services HQ in Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“This will offer a better service to all our customers,” said Mr Connor. “We feel this give us the best opportunity to service the current customer base and grow the business organically. I have to say I’m extremely pleased with the team’s reaction to making these changes. Hopefully now we push on to the next phase for Imorex.”

The business was founded in 1973 by Michael James, John Powell and Alan Nunn.

It was sold to Harrison C White Ltd after Mr Nunn, who had been running the company, decided to retire, explained Mr Connor, who joined the business in 2017 as its general manager.

Liquidators were appointed to voluntarily wind up Harrison C White in May 2019 – and there were fears that Imorex might go the same way, he said.

Imorex Shipping Services Managing Director Graeme Connor and Operations Director Ross Bryant Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNImorex Shipping Services Managing Director Graeme Connor and Operations Director Ross Bryant Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We lost a few of the team as they felt it was a good time to move on but the rest of us fought extremely hard to keep the business going,” he said.

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“Fortunately (logistics boss) James Dolan purchased the business in a pre-administration position in July 2019 and we’ve slowly turned the business around.”

He added: “At the lowest point in July (2019) we went from 30-plus employees down to 17. However we are now back up to 23. Through Covid we’ve taken on extra full time staff and increased our agency requirement, as well as added to our fleet of vehicles.

“Our turnover back in 2019 was around £5m to £6m, with a very small return. However, we are now looking at a £2,7m to £3.5m turnover with a projected return of around 10% if all goes well.

“The re-scaling of the business has been a massive factor in making this business work. Sometimes it’s better to make the big decisions in order to move the business forward and start growing again.”

The firm offers general, bonded and External Temporary Storage Facility (ETSF) warehousing along with UK full and part load distribution on its own fleet of vehicles and selected partner hauliers.

“One of the main areas of trade at the moment is the Amazon and Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) factor. With so many people buying online during lockdown, this area has boomed,” explained Mr Connor.

“Fortunately, we’ve been doing this work for around five years, so have good knowledge of the requirements involved.

“Our team has years of experience, some of them having been here for 20-plus years. It’s a real family business which is why it was so crucial it was saved from going under.”

Imorex is currently negotiating a new contract with a large national company which may see the business expand outside of Felixstowe and provide further jobs in the region.

After saving the company from administration in July 2019, James Dolan distributed the shareholding to Mr Connor and Mr Bryant later that year, Mr Connor explained. Between them, the two now have an 80% share in the business.


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