Leading logistics operator, Europa Worldwide Group, is celebrating its 4th birthday at its £30million headquarters in Albion Rd, Dartford. The company’s state-of-the-art Prologis facility opened in 2015 as part of a major relaunch for the global independent logistics business.
Europa, which has 350 staff at the site, made the momentous move to its new 26,368m2 1Hub in May 2015 following the acquisition of the business by Andrew Baxter - who had ambitious plans to transform it into one of the world’s leading logistics businesses.
Four years on and those plans have been realised with four major milestones being hit. The company has acquired two other businesses, more than doubled its turnover, doubled its staff numbers and significantly expanded its Dartford HQ in order to be ‘Brexit-ready.’
The facility centralises the business’s European road freight to create the UK’s largest European groupage hub and is split into two areas, providing third party warehousing and European transit operations.
Operations Director at Europa, Dan Cook said the recently expanded 1Hub had been pivotal in the ongoing development of the business in what has been a turbulent few years for the logistics sector.
He said: “Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, our business has continued to thrive and we continue to see volume growth, our customer base increasing and our product working to a strong and effective level. 1Hub - which is large enough to house seven football pitches or 107 tennis courts - was the single largest investment in our history and since its launch our staff numbers in Dartford have grown from 220 to 360, which makes us one of the largest employers in the area.
“1Hub has been pivotal to this success over the last four years, specifically in how it delivers such incredible efficiencies by centralising our European road freight operation into one location. For example, the number of European consignments handled at 1Hub have increased by 64 per cent since it opened in 2015, from 22,000 to 36,000 per month. 1Hub has also helped us to increase payloads, drive down operating costs and build daily services to and from our European partner depots to reduce transit times and improve quality.
“We’re thrilled with how 1Hub is performing, even more so now that we have invested an additional £2million into a reconfiguration programme which has involved a staged expansion of the racking and an extension of the transit zone, creating 75 per cent more racked transit space. This re-development means we are well placed in terms of ‘Brexit readiness’ with extra valuable capacity should a situation develop that impedes the smooth and quick rotation of cargo passing between the continent and the UK. We have invested so that our terminal should not lose efficiency as it becomes jammed with cargo that cannot move as it awaits customs formalities. Creating extra capacity is a major part of our planning strategy.”
Since relocating to Dartford, Europa has also played a major role in various projects within the local community, including an arts and education scheme with Gateway Primary Academy, fundraising for a new play area for poorly children at Darent Valley hospital and launching a company-wide charity initiative 50:50 which sees the business fund-match amounts raised by employees.
Andrew Baxter, Managing Director at Europa, said: "I'm thrilled to be celebrating four years at 1Hub in Dartford – it seems like the time has flown by! It’s been a whirlwind of activity since we moved into our new HQ and the financial results we’re achieving, the new business we’re winning and the efficiencies we’re seeing on a weekly basis are all testament to the fact that the move to the new site was 100% the right decision.
“The next phase of 1Hub is all about being Brexit ready and making sure we can cope with whatever circumstances are put in front of us. The increase we’ve made in short term storage space is vital as we predict our European road customers are going to need extra space if the clearance process is slowed down. It will also provide security against gridlock of volume – so we’re prepared for all possible outcomes.”
1Hub’s dedicated warehouse and logistics space is split 25% warehouse logistics and 75% European transit operations. It provides warehouse services for blue chip customers, including value enhancing activities such as pick and pack, stock reworking, third party logistics, product manipulation and returns management.
Europa Worldwide Group is a specialist road, air & sea, warehouse and showfreight operator employing more than 900 people across 16 sites in the UK, as well as Hong Kong, Czech Republic and Belgium, and with representation in 100 countries.