Esprit Warehousing and Docks have two sites in Trafford Park. Business Connect Magazine have featured the business on a number of occasions, which has always championed the Manchester Ship Canal as Manchester’s ‘lost infrastructure treasure’. Managing Director Graham Dixon spoke with us about the importance of the Canal and the role of their berth at Trafford Docks:
We’re looking at ongoing massive investment by Peel Ports into many areas of the Manchester Ship Canal. How important do you think the Canal is to the North’s economy?
“There’s never been a more important time since it’s decline in the 1960’s. Congestion and pollution are such important factors for all businesses. To combat this, cities across the North are being forced to introduce congestion and pollution charges. The capacity and ability of the Manchester Ship Canal to reduce the volume of freight transported by road is huge and that needs to be viewed and considered by everyone, from small private companies to multi-nationals, councils and government. More recently, the shortage of HGV drivers only serves to further highlight the need for more use of the Canal. One vessel, navigating from Liverpool to Manchester, can move goods carried by up to 150 trucks.”
Esprit has a wharf on the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford Park. What services and facilities do you offer?
“Our wharf can accept virtually any type of freight carried by vessels, from large bulk 4,000 tonne shipments of grain to smaller shipments of specialist goods too large to travel long distances by road. Our berth is recognised by HMRC for accepting imported goods and is classed as a Point of Entry of goods into the UK by Border Force. On the quayside, we have two large warehouses capable of storing bulk and palletised goods. Equally, goods can be loaded onto vessels at our berth for exporting.”
What sort of large and heavy payloads have you docked at the wharf? How are the goods then transported from your docks to their final destinations?
“As a registered berth for over-sized or overweight loads, Esprit have processed many interesting loads. This summer we handled seven massive silo’s destined for a factory in Manchester. These were so big they each required two cranes to lift them off the vessel, needed roads closed, street furniture removed and tram power lines to be lifted. GM Police did an amazing job, together with the truck drivers and the escort vehicles, over seven different nights, to ensure minimum congestion and disruption. Straight after we received a 130 tonne electricity transformer destined for Rochdale. This needed a 1,000 tonne crane for discharging which needed a crane to build the bigger crane. Once loaded onto a specialist truck with over 150 wheels, the total weight of load, truck and trailer was in excess of 200 tonnes. The final few miles from Trafford Park to Rochdale took 8 hours, 6 police cars and bikes and an abnormal load escort van, all travelling at 10mph.”
Tell us about Esprit – how did the business start, and what role do your two sites offer?
“I started Esprit in 1998 as a road haulage company delivering goods around the UK and Europe. By 2015 we specialised with on-site operations employing 20 people, based in Trafford Park and Liverpool, on client’s sites. Our customers needed more space, so we decided to take the lease on a derelict warehouse site on the side of the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford Park. This was the first time Esprit had it’s own site, our Trafford Docks site, which we have refurbished and still operate today. In 2018 we took the lease on a larger two-warehouse site on Westinghouse Road in Trafford Park. We invested heavily in pallet racking in one warehouse whilst keeping the other warehouse able to accept non-palletised goods.”
What plans have you got for further development of the company? Are you looking at additional sites?
“I’m always looking for opportunities to grow the business. The challenge is not to allow ego to make the business decisions. Each expansion of the business has required funding through borrowing and personal risk, so I prefer to clear these debts before taking on more. The note of caution for me where expansion is concerned is the potential for service levels to drop if we grow too big. We have an amazing team of 28 people in Esprit. Every employee is a vitally important part of the business and every customer is crucial to our success. So, looking after the team and customers must come first. If we continue to get that right, growth will naturally follow.”
Esprit Group Ltd
No1 Trafford Park, Westinghouse Road, Trafford Park M17 1PY
Trafford Docks, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford Park M17 1HA