Seafast Logistics and Anglian Water honoured in Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

David Halliday, managing director of Seafast Logistics.

David Halliday, managing director of Seafast Logistics. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A small but growing specialist logistics firm based in Suffolk is among a select group of companies celebrating today after scooping a prestigious national accolade.

Seafast Logistics is among 16 firms across the East of England, and the only firm in Suffolk, to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year – the awards being announced annualy on Her Majesty’s birthday.

Felixstowe-based Seafast has been honoured in the International Trade categoryof the awards. Also among the winners in the region is Anglian Water, which is based at Huntingdon in Cambridge-shire but operates across East Anglia, which is recognised in the sustainable development category.

In all, the region has scooped 23 awards across the four categories, which also include innovation and enterprise promotion.

Seafast managing director, David Halliday, who owns a 50% share of the company, said it was “fantastic news” and he was “over the moon”.

The company started out as a bolt-on to an existing freight forwarding company, Grange Shipping, in Felixstowe in 2000 and in its early years provided shipping and logistics services for the Ministry of Defence in the Middle East.

Mr Halliday, who had been chief executive of Contship Container Lines in Ipswich and moved to the third largest shipping company in the world, CMA CGM, became involved in the company in 2007, when he bought some shares. He now owns half the company, with the rest owned by Uniserve which bought its stake from Pete Allsop on his retirement.

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The firm has invested in a temperature-controlled handling facility and diversified from its MoD work into specialist shipping involving out-of-the way or challenging places, drawing on its experience with the military.

The company, which now employs 12 staff, scooped the Queen’s Award for its outstanding sales growth over the last three years.

“There are a multitude of freight forwarders and logistics companies in and around Felixstowe who are involved in I would say run-of-the-mill shipping and logistics, things like China to the UK, whereas we set out with rather a different business ethos and a focus of looking at things other companies were not doing,” explained Mr Halliday. “Typically, our customer base is serving emerging and difficult-to-serve markets.”

From a standing start in 2008 when the company had no commercial business at all, it is now achieving sales of £1million a month, shipping into and out of countries including Afghanistan, Southern Sudan, Iraq and the Falklands.

“We view ourselves as specialists rather than generalists with a very personalised service,” said Mr Halliday.

Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s chief executive, said of its sustainable development accolade: “We’re extremely honoured to receive such a prestigious endorsement for our business, and for our Love Every Drop strategy. Millions of our customers, our 4,000 employees, and all of our partners have contributed to this by supporting our vision for a more sustainable future, and I’m grateful to every single one of them.

“The progress we’ve made since launching Love Every Drop in 2010 means water is now much closer to being at the heart of a whole new way of living. And we’ll do even more as we work through our very ambitious business plan for the next five years, which includes stretching goals on carbon and energy, climate change, the environment and water efficiency. It’s a plan our customers approved, which means this award recognises their vision as well as ours.

“Setting the national standard in sustainable development demonstrates that we are good corporate neighbours for our customers, and that we are supporting the businesses that power our region, future-proofing us all for decades to come.”