DUKE Distribution – Worksop Guardian Press Release

Worksop Guardian Quote "Worksop haulage company boasts success with delivery of five new trucks"

Worksop Guardian quote; a heavy logistics and trackway installation company, was founded by James Robinson in January 2020 – just weeks before Covid-19 stopped the world in its tracks. But three years on, Duke Distribution has taken delivery of five new Scania V8 trucks from Worksop-based Keltruck, bringing the fleet to a total of 25 to deliver its services across the UK and Europe.

Suitably named after the gateway to the Dukeries, the company based on Claylands Avenue, supplies chain management services with its broad range of vehicles, thanks to a tight-knit team of chairman Dale Robinson, James’ father, sister Hollie Kemp, administrator and transport manager, plus operations manager Lewis Hessey and head of finance Robert Dargue. 

Managing director James, aged 34 was working at Sunbelt Rentals in Mansfield when he spotted a gap in the market for his company. He said “We used to operate trackway vehicles and we were always struggling to man them in the summer through the peak busier periods. I thought if i get my own trucks, i could subcontract myself to the company I used to work for, that was the initial plan. 

Determined to succeed, James sold his house in Gateford to fund his first two pre-owned lorries to set up his business in assisting existing trackway companies. However with the pandemic, and the specialised nature of the vehicles, Duke Distribution has a difficult start. 

James said: “Because of Covid, we didn’t actually turn a wheel for the first six months. I thought it was the worst decision of my life. I’d already committed to the wages of the two drivers that were on the trucks. I didn’t want to let them down because they had left secure jobs. 

“I had to fund everything through the equity from my house initially. All the start-up capital was pretty much dead money.” 

Due to it’s new establishment, James said Duke Distribution “fell between the cracks” of qualifying for any furlough grants or financial help. But James remained committed to the business and paid the drivers’ wages and took any work that came it’s way. 

Thankfully with help of his family and friends, the company made it through. Duke Distribution now wokrs with clients in the events and construction sector such as Sunbelt Rentals, Arena Global Events & Doka, as well as logistics company Sea- Cargo. 

James, who lives in Lindrick Dale, sadi: “I didn’t expect to have this much growth in the start of the third year – going from two to 25 trucks has been a big jump. A lot of haulage companies that have been going for 50 years have only got 20-30 lorries. To have what we’ve got now , it’s quite incredible.”

James’ dad Dale has been praised for his help,  after coming out of retirement to help the company. James said: “He’s given advice and helped me along. He’s really accelerated my personal growth. 

“I’ve always been really close with him, but when you start facing challenges together it does you closer”.

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