Thursday, July 25, 2024

Family haulage business closes doors after eight decades

Cartwright Brothers (Haulage) Ltd, the family haulage and storage business based in Lincoln, closed its doors last week after 80 years of trading.

The company, which employed more than 100 people, was set up by four brothers shortly before the end of the second world war to meet demand for road haulage across the agricultural sector.

In the early fifties, Cartwright Brothers delivered sandbags along the east coast to hold back the damage caused by one of the worst storms in UK history. Over the past decades, Cartwright Bros has continued to work for large name businesses – mostly in the agricultural sector as well as internationally renowned companies.

Directors and sons of two of the original brothers, cousins Jamie and John Cartwright have been running the business for the past 30-plus years and delivered the bad news around the closure to staff on Thursday.

Jamie said: “It was with tremendous sadness that we had to close the doors at Cartwright last week. But running a haulage business over the past decade has come with huge challenges – rising diesel prices, a difficult economy, along with huge constraints caused by COVID 19.

“Cartwright was never able to continue in the same vein since COVID. Plus, the Ukranian war had a huge impact on our sector in terms of fuel price increases, acquiring replacement parts for vehicles and having to wait long periods of time for these parts to arrive – and at inflated prices.

“All of these challenges were underpinned by serious lorry driver shortages following Brexit which added even more pressure to running Cartwright Bros – along with Government legislation changes which continued to impede our viability.

“In December it was reported that more than 450 UK haulage businesses went out of business in the previous 12 months. These are stark figures for the industry and something needs to be done to ensure that this much-needed sector thrives and survives.”

John added: “Running a successful family business turning over £12 million over the past few years has been a huge honour and a great sense of pride. Unfortunately, with the number of challenges thrown at us, we were unable to continue the success of the business.

“It has been a really sad time for us – particularly as Cartwright Bros celebrated eight decades in business in January this year. We are so grateful to our wonderful staff whom we are supporting in the recruitment process going forward. Some of our people worked for Cartwright Bros for most of their lives and we count them as personal friends.”

The company started in 1944 with just one lorry. At its height, Cartwright Bros had more than 60 wagons on the roads.

Cartwright customers, who have worked with Cartwright Bros for many years, have been quick to commiserate with the cousins and Cartwright staff.

Natasha Crowson, who started her career at Cartwright Bros when she was just 21 has worked for the business for three decades.

She said: “Cartwright Bros has been a fantastic company to work for. My colleagues and I were devastated to hear the news last week – both for the business and its success over the years, but also for Jamie and John who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the company was safe – and staff were looked after.

“The outpouring of love and affection by employees for the directors was wonderful to see last week. Everyone had their own stories of how Jamie and John looked after them over the years – not just as employers but as friends. It was truly a sad day to see this fantastic company close its doors after so long.

“We will all miss seeing the distinctive Cartwright Bros lorries on our roads. The company has been a massive Lincolnshire success story for so long and they will be sadly missed.”


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