In it for the long haul

When Frank Metcalfe established Washfold Farm in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, in 1940 he did so with a dairy herd of 20 cows. Today Frank’s grandsons, David, Brian and Philip Metcalfe, along with their father John and mother Thora, oversee 1300 pedigree Holstein cows and 1100 sheep on their 3200-acre farm. Beyond their traditional farming background, the trio have also established accompanying business interests in the form of a commercial and automotive repair business, agricultural contracting and haulage operations, which it handles through the company Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd.

“It was in 2005 that we purchased what was our first wagon, and two years later we established Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd,” begins co-owner Brian Metcalfe. “At the time, farming incomes were coming under pressure and due to the sheer size of our activities we took the decision to establish a new business that we were interested in, which happened to be haulage. From there, things grew fairly rapidly to the point where the company is now larger than the original farming business.”

Offering tailored heavy haulage solutions, Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd is one of the fastest growing companies of its kind in Europe. Priding itself on every aspect of its heavy haulage solutions, from its planning and logistics services, to its knowledgeable, skilled drivers and its meticulously maintained vehicles, the company is able offer a complete project management package, including site-to-site service, to anywhere in the world, and is accredited to ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO27001 and OHSAS18001 standards.

“We consider ourselves to be specialists when it comes to handling and transporting large haulage loads, being able to support plant and machinery of various sizes and weights,” adds co-owner David Metcalfe. Using a combination of semi-loaders, dolly systems, narrow, inter or beam trailers, its vehicles can carry almost any load, while the company’s project management teams ensure that all the correct permits and routes are in place to guarantee equipment is delivered on time and to budget.

“I definitely think it is the quality of service that we deliver that has helped us to get to where we are today,” David continues. “We have established a structure that allows us to respond quickly and professionally to our customers’ needs, wherever they may be based, while the size of our fleet, which consists of some 90 trucks and 130 trailers at present, means that we can handle projects and volumes, both small and large, in a timely, efficient manner.”

As Brian goes on to explain, aspects of the Metcalfe’s background in farming have proved beneficial to the growth of the haulage business. “I think it is true to say that farmers, as a whole, tend to retain a good reputation for being people that stick to their word and do tasks to the best of their ability, and it is family values like these that we have incorporated into Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd. We have also made the conscious decision to avoid having lots of tiers of management here, so a customer can actually pick up the phone today and speak to one of the owners if they wish, and this direct, personable service is something they greatly value.”

Additionally, there are positive synergies to be gained from the close link between not only Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd and the farming operation itself, but also through the activities of its repair business Truck Technics, a dedicated service centre for commercial and automotive repairs, fabrications, painting, spraying and associated tasks. Having strong links between these different entities further aids the company in its ability to be recognised as a one-stop-shop for the transportation needs of its customers.

With the extremely warm, dry weather experienced throughout the second quarter of 2018 in the UK and Europe helping to drive new and existing work throughout the continent, Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd finds itself amidst a period of high demand for its services, and this has required investment in its fleet of vehicles. “We are currently in the process of increasing our number of trucks up to the 100 mark, and beyond, over the coming months, and we have also begun receiving the first of 20 new specialist trailers that will be coming into service over the next six months,” Brian states.

“We have also recently made the most expensive purchase in the company’s history, acquiring a brand-new trailer valued at approximately £500,000, which we expect to take delivery of in September 2018,” Brian says. “We know that as the size of our customer’s machines and plant continue to increase, so too must our own equipment and resources. That is why this marks a very significant investment for Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd and one that represents our commitment to taking the business another step forward.” This investment comes at a time when the company is also looking to incorporate the latest Euro 6 engines, what with more and more of its customers becoming conscious of the environmental impact of their activities.

Pushing the business forward is certainly the message that Brian helps to deliver when asked about what the future holds for Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd. “Our philosophy, if you like, is that we don’t set ourselves specific targets, rather we look to maximise opportunities as they arise. Such is our level of flexibility we are confident in our ability to scale our operations to meet market conditions and our customers’ needs accordingly. This, together with our proven track record for delivering quality service, means that whatever the future holds we are well placed to capitalise on the opportunities presented to us.”

Metcalfe Farms (Haulage) Ltd
Delivering tailored haulage solutions
A fleet of 90+ trucks and 130+ trailers
Record £500,000 investment in a brand new trailer