A reliable service
In the short space of three years, Graham Trailer Services in Belfast has established itself as a leader in on site repair and fleet maintenance in Northern Ireland. Irish Trucker spoke to company owner Derek Graham to find out the rest.
It may not have been a perfect time to set up your own business in these parts, but since 2012 Derek Graham has saw his company, Graham Trailer Services, rise up and gain notoriety as one of the country’s top on site repair and fleet maintenance outfits.
Nestled nicely alongside Belfast docks, Graham Trailers Services, also known as GTS, is ideally situated for a long-standing business relationship with its customers; many of whom are based at the port which handles 67 per cent of Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade.
The decision to ‘open up shop’, so to speak, at the current location was an easy one for Derek, who has been involved in this line of work for most of his life. So far, things have been going well and he’s excited about what lies ahead for his company which is still very much in its infancy.
“We’re based here at Coastal Warehouse on Dargan Road in Belfast,” explained Derek.
“We’re established three years and have five employees working here. I’m the owner of the company and my brother John is the Mercedes dealer that we deal with when it comes to our fleet.”
The fleet at GTS has been busy lately, much to Derek’s delight, offering its services six days a week up and down the country.
Indeed the services that GTS provides to its customers often sees them travelling all over Ireland for business but, for the most part, much of their work is based in Belfast. Particularly with DFDS Logistics, whom have been a principal customer from the start for Derek.
So what can GTS provide for you? Their Managing Director explained it to us in the simplest terms when prompted with the question.
“We do all types of onsite repairs and fleet maintenance work,” Derek explained. “We also do a lot of reefer repair work here amongst other services and business is very good for us at the moment, I’d have to say.
Indeed the economic downturn hurt most companies throughout Ireland, with some shutting their doors for good, but for Derek that’s very much in the past. Business has been good recently and he’s hopeful it’s going to stay that way for years to come as GTS continue to establish themselves as a the professional outfit in which they’ve already gained a reputation for.
“It seems to be picking up again,” he said. “Everyone has had to put their shoulders to the wheel but I think things are looking a lot more promising now than they were a couple of years ago. We’ve got some very loyal customers and because we’re in the Belfast docks we get some steady work here that keeps us busy all year around.”
Experience is a vital factor in any business and Derek certainly has no shortage of it, having spent much of his life working in and learning the industry. The decision to start his own business made the most sense having spent the best part of 20 years with the same company.
“I spent 18 years in this line of work before I decided to go out on my own, so I’m well educated in this business,” he said. “In tough times, you just have to keep your head down and ride it out, and thankfully things are starting to really pick up now.”
At present, GTS’s fleet stands at three vehicles but there is plenty room for more, according to the boss, if needs be.
“We’ve three Mercedes vans along with a generator and we’re happy to invest in our fleet should we need to. For now though we’re good with what we have and our looking forward to having a busy second half of 2015,” said Derek.
GTS are on course for just that as they continue to provide impeccable service to customers like DFDS Logistics.
DFDS have an established record of providing logistics services to and from Ireland by road and sea. With over 25 years’ experience, they have offered both refrigerated and ambient services for full and part loads to and from the UK, and across Europe. There is also a multi-temperature 24-hour warehouse facility with 32 loading bays available on contract or shared-user basis.
It’s no surprise to learn that DFDS operate with a substantial sized fleet, given their volume of business, which sees GTS busy with its repair and maintenance 12 months a year from the company’s base at Belfast Harbour.
“DFDS Logistics would be our main customer,” Derek explained. “They’re based here in at the docks across from the ferry terminals and do a lot of container work between Europe and Ireland.
“Alongside DFDS, you’d have K Macken Transport, Woodside’s Haulage and Blair Internationals that are also main customers of ours and we’re happy to provide them with our services and continue to gain business from them.”
No doubt Derek and his employees will be keen for the list of customers to continue to grow. For now though, there can be no arguments that GTS has more than held its own in the few years it has been established.
Next year sees them entering into year four and you can be sure that the reliable and professional service that they’re known for will be there again come 2017.
Graham Trailer Services