Bees Transport in Hinckley

Bees Transport was a Hinckley haulage firm that was founded by E.E. Bee in 1919

Bees Transport
Bees Transport.

1919 The road contractor company E.E Bee Ltd was founded by E.E. Bee, he was known as Dicky Bee. He started the company with two lorries that were ex-army. The business offered the local hosiery and knitwear of Hinckley another way other than the railway to transport their goods.

During the years Bees Transport operated from a total of four depots which were at Hinckley, Morley in Leeds, Feltham in Middlesex and Linwood near Glasgow in Scotland. Each depot collected and delivered its own parcels which reduced loss and damage to the parcels. The Hinckley depot was the largest with a 67,200 square foot warehouse along with workshops to maintain five lorries at a time.

1977 A depot at Morley in Leeds was built along with a two-bay workshop. The depot could handle up to 40 lorries which were delivering daily to the areas of the Midlands and Yorkshire, other daily locations were London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Scotland. The Leeds depot was updated in 1980.

1979 The 10,500 square foot depot at Linwood in Scotland was built on 2.5 acres of land, not only was there a warehouse, there was also a two-bay workshop. Regular routes to deliver would be London, Brighton, Southampton, Bristol and Somerset.

1980 Bees Transport launched a new direct service into Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic due to ‘customer demand’. Williames Transport Ltd was appointed as the exclusive agent to handle deliveries to Ireland. Daily collections were made from the depots at Hinckley, Leeds and Glasgow. Williames Transport Ltd operated through the main depots in Dublin, Shannon and Belfast and had their own customs clearance depot in Newry, this speeded the export traffic from the UK into the Irish Republic.

April 1983 The sales force was expanded to try and capture a larger market of high value security goods, such as hi-fi, television and video games. Chris Watson joined at the head office, he looked after special product development. Bill Moir joined the Morley in Leeds depot, he was responsible for the North of the country up to the border of Scotland.

June 1983 Three additional representatives were selected operate in Scotland and Northern England. Graham Young was based at Linwood, near Glasgow, and was responsible for sales throughout Scotland, while Simon Moxon and Simon Flatley were based at Leeds. Mr Moxon operated in the North East while Mr Flatley operated in the North West.

Bees Transport - Hinckley depot
Bees Transport - Hinckley depot.

July 1983 A management team were selected for Bees Transport (Southern), which was a Lex Specialist Transport subsidiary that had taken over Carrolls Transport's carpet distribution services along with parcels distribution in West London. The Regional Director was Ian Snelling, he had previously helped set up Lex Wilkinson's Nightline next-day parcel delivery service. Ian had also been with National Freight until January 1979. Former Carrolls managers Ken Tilley and Denis Ashburn were joint managers, they were responsible for carpet distribution, and Bees Transport's former Linwood depot manager Lennie Corrigan became parcels manager.

Bees Transport (Southern) during the year increased staff from 30 to 90. The purpose-built security warehouse handled 20,000 parcels a week, of which many were on contract.

March 1984 Emily Nairne became Personnel Manager based at the head office in Burbage. She was responsible for the national workforce of about 400. Emily was previously the Personnel Manager at Lex Wilkinson's hub in Nuneaton.

1985 Bees Transport had reached a turnover of £500,000 profit on a £9.3 million turnover.

A total of 70% of parcels were collected and delivered the next day guaranteed to London, Newcastle and Glasgow, the remainder two and three day guaranteed. There was also a Speciality service for high value goods and a retailer product return service. Other services Bees Transport offers were residential domestic deliveries, hangpack fashion garment deliveries, consultancy, truck rental, contract distribution and contract hire.

June 1986 Bees Transport was sold by Lex Service Group to a management-owned company for approximately £2.5 million, about £2.4 million was for the repayment of inter-company debts. The remaining £100,000 payment was deferred to October 1987, this also covered much of the sum of around £80,000 at which Bees assets were valued and another £54,000 worth of leasehold properties which Lex Service Group assigned to Bees Transport.

1987 The head office was moved from the Burbage location along London Road to Newton Road, Harrowbrook Industrial Estate in Hinckley. The site was previously used as the Hinckley depot, extensive alterations along with a new building took place to accommodate head office personnel and provide additional sorting and storage facilities. A plot of land opposite was also bought to allow for future expansion of its business.

September 1988 Bees Transport was awarded the Certificate of Excellence by the mail order company Grattan for their quality of service over the year. Bees would be the first carrier to receive this award. During this year Bees would see a loss of £313,000.

Bees Transport
Bees Transport.

February 1989 Alan Cropp became Managing Director of the contract services division, his task was to expand the contract distribution as well as the truck contract hire and rental. Alan had previously worked at NCCS in contract operations and sales and before that was head of transport and distribution at Coran Knitwear.

23rd March 1989 Bees Transport were bought out by Rockwood Holdings PLC, this would see in the following couple of months 200 jobs being lost, which 60 of those would be from Hinckley in management, office personnel, drivers and loaders.

December 1989 The Hinckley depot closed, the depots at Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire were at risk of being also closed down, the depot at Lindwood in Scotland was scaled down.

July 1990 Rockford Holdings PLC went in to receivership, still owing money to Rockwood Fleet Services. They still traded in administration until a buyout happened.

February 1991 Rockwood Fleet Services saw a management buyout, this resulted in the company trading under the name of Beeline Fleet Services. Barrie Dowsett (who was one of the managers involved in the buyout of the Lex Service Group in 1986) became the managing director and would see the new company offer services of vehicle maintenance, rental and hire.

The Headquarters of Beeline Fleet Services was in Hinckley and would have seven regional units. as well as a depot in Blaby. The company would have more than 90 vehicles and employ 50 staff which nine of those were based at Hinckley.

July 1991 Beeline Fleet Services was wound up, the receiver Ernst & Young was called to find a buyer for the business. After unsuccessful attempts to sell the business as a going concern, the receivers auctioned off the assets.

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