County companies raise a glass to partnership

Posted: Monday 11th July

Two Shropshire companies are raising a glass after forging a successful business partnership importing goods from China to supply some of the UK’s biggest breweries.

Ken Simpson with Global Freight MD, Nicole HowarthShrewsbury-based Spears Ltd and Global Freight, of Telford, have joined forces in a deal which sees valves for beer kegs imported from the Far East before being distributed to customers in the UK and overseas.

The Shrewsbury company makes valves, known in the brewery trade as ‘spears’, and source complete and spare parts from China and some West Midlands manufacturers.

Spears director, Ken Simpson (pictured right with Global Freight MD, Nicole Howarth), said: “The airtightness of a keg is incredibly important, still the beer has to come out somewhere and that’s why there is a spear. Despite it’s warlike name, it is essentially a long metal straw through which the beer can travel from the bottom of the keg and out through the top. Our valves are manufactured to our own patented design in the Far East before being exported.

“We import about 80 per cent of our goods from China and although we have used Global Freight for UK distribution for around seven years and have carried out our export work into Europe, it is only recently that they have also begun the import work for us.

“It has been a brilliant move as not only do Global Freight arrange all the shipments, deal with the paperwork, pay the relevant port authorities and ensure all the customs requirements are correct, they can also transport direct to the customer straight from the Telford warehouse if needed.”

“For me, there is also the bonus of being able to store the goods at Global Freight if needed because of their warehouse capability – this is important if we need to collect and re-box for customers requiring smaller volume deliveries. Importantly, I also receive excellent customer service from Global Freight support staff, who always go out of their way to help.”

Managing director of Global Freight, Nicole Howarth, said: “We’re delighted to have won the contract to import for Spears, a move which makes sense as we were already doing the UK road logistics for the goods.

“The process is made easier as we have an agent in China and we arrange all the packing and the picking up of the products. We bring the goods out through Quingdao and usually into Felixstowe, where we pick them up and bring them to Shropshire ready for onward delivery.

“The most recent shipment was five pallets, which is around five tons of goods. Averaged out throughout the year, we’ll probably bring in around three tons a month of products for Spears from China.

“Spears is a company which has embraced international trade and shown how successful it can be. It is also a great example to other small and medium-sized businesses in Shropshire considering a move into export and import.

“We’d be delighted to speak to any companies who are looking to new routes to market abroad, it is always our aim to take the fear and apprehension out of trading internationally and sometimes just talking the options through can encourage companies to take that first step.”

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