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Storage space at a premium after ‘huge drop-off’ in retail orders amid crisis

PUBLISHED: 09:55 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:55 05 May 2020

Olly Magnus, chief executive of Magnus Group  Picture: MAGNUS GROUP

Olly Magnus, chief executive of Magnus Group Picture: MAGNUS GROUP

Magnus Group

A logistics boss says he has seen a sharp fall in haulage work amid the coronavirus lockdown – but his warehousing business is booming.

Olly Magnus, chief executive of Magnus Group  Picture: MAGNUS GROUPOlly Magnus, chief executive of Magnus Group Picture: MAGNUS GROUP

Olly Magnus, who heads up the Magnus Group, based at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, had to furlough around a third of its employees – 35 drivers and seven other staff – after retail haulage work dried up after the crisis hit.

But he has also seen a corresponding rise in demand for storage space from companies unable to move their goods from regional ports to their end destinations in the UK.

MORE – Son follows in late Ipswich haulier father’s footsteps – after learning from his own mistakes

Mr Magnus said his own firm is poised for action once the UK supply chain gets fully moving again, and believes transport and logistics companies through the county will have a major part to play in helping shops and services get back to their feet after the crisis.

A large percentage of the firm’s 200,000sq ft of warehousing space is now in use, with a waiting list operating for other retailers looking to safely store their haul.

Olly Magnus, chief executive of Magnus Group  Picture: MAGNUS GROUPOlly Magnus, chief executive of Magnus Group Picture: MAGNUS GROUP

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“While we’ve seen a huge drop-off in transport requirements, and as a result have sadly had to furlough 35 drivers and seven other staff, we have at the same time seen a rapid increase in enquiries from major high street retailers keen to use our warehousing space,” said Mr Magnus.

“That space has become a premium in the supply chain, because containers are still arriving in ports, but retailers are in need of storage as their distribution centres may have closed or reduced capacity.

“These are such unexpected times, so we’ve moved really fast to ensure we can meet whatever demand there is for a logistics business like ours in this challenging phase – and ultimately, we’re ensuring that we’re poised to help get the country’s supply chain going again.”

He believes that firms like his will have a “critical role to play” in getting things moving.

“My sense is that we’re going to see a sudden surge of activity as everyone grapples to re-order from overseas, to move stock from A to B, and to shift large amounts of their previously ordered goods to hub distribution centres throughout the UK, in time for customers being back in shops.”

When fully operational Magnus has a fleet of over 50 articulated vehicles, and employs 126 staff.

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