Commercial property: New hub for haulier’s expansion drive

Aberdeen-based transport and distribution company Northwards has purchased a new transportation depot, utilising a £1.2 million funding package from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The firm, which was formed in 2002 following a management buy-out from P&O Scottish Ferries of its freight, haulage and maintenance operations, has invested more than £2m in the 20,000sq ft depot, which is located on a three-acre site in Altens Industrial Estate on Blackness Road, Aberdeen.

The facility will supplement Northwards’ existing unit in the city at Aberdeen Harbour.

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The move to buy the Altens depot further cements the company’s expansion plans. Northwards’ turnover has more than doubled over the last seven years.

The business, which with more than 1,000 clients on its books, currently operates out of depots in Aberdeen, Shetland, Orkney, Inverness, Scrabster and Glasgow, with plans to further expand its presence across the country in the future.

Northwards provides freight, haulage, distribution and storage services for customers in various sectors, including oil and gas, retail and particularly aquaculture.

Last year, the firm stated that its business “has at its heart, a reliance on the aquaculture industry where we bring essential retail goods to the islands and efficiently transport salmon south”.

In a written submission to Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee, which conducted an inquiry into the salmon farming industry, Northwards reported that it employs 85 people throughout its depot locations, with the majority based in the Northern Isles. It has pioneered technological innovations in order to move chilled
salmon more profitably.

In 2011, Sea-Cargo Aberdeen became a majority shareholder in Northwards, increasing its knowledge base and providing business links to Scandinavia.

The new Aberdeen depot is a significant investment for Northwards and will help enable the company to develop further and create more jobs for the local north-east community.

Michael Porter, managing director of Northwards, says: “The acquisition of a new transportation depot is an important step in our expansion, and we’re grateful to Royal Bank of Scotland for supporting our investment.

“The new facility will enable us to continue to enhance and grow the portfolio of services available to our customers while creating new jobs for the surrounding areas.”

Martin Ramsay, relationship director at Royal Bank of Scotland, says: “[The bank] is proud to support Northwards on the purchase of its new transportation hub.

“The company is extremely well known in Aberdeen and has a prominent presence within Scotland’s transportation and logistics industry.

“The new hub will enable the company to continue its upwards trajectory, create new jobs and offer additional services to both new and existing customers.”