VanDel: The Meteoric rise of an Irish courier service



When anyone sets up a business, they take a chance, while some are successful, others are not, for a variety of reasons and although making the right decisions is a massive part of being successful, providing a reliable and efficient service is the ultimate goal of all concerned.

For some, building a business to the level that they have aimed for can be a slow process and take many, many years, but in some situations, whether it be a bit of luck, a good business acumen or a combination of both, that rise can be achieved a lot more quickly.

For this month’s edition of Irish Trucker, we profile Drogheda based logistics firm VanDel and look at how this business has grown since it was established in 2011.

To help us do that we spoke to manager Red McGrath who informed us about how they have worked hard to get to where they are today.

Owner and MD Ken McDonnell along with Red started out as ‘two men and a van’ and now they have a fleet of 37 vehicles on the road.

“We started out from humble beginnings, but we were kept going and work was increasing all the time,” said Red. “After about three years, the company was rebranded as VanDel Couriers and VanDel Removals.”

Based in Drogheda Industrial Park, Donore Road, VanDel Couriers covers the Mid/North Leinster region which includes Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan.

Their services include Storage and Distribution, Courier Services, Parcel delivery, Removal Services, Storage Box Rental and Sales.

However, the company was to receive what could only described as a life changing contract when they were awarded the UPS/Nightline deal for Louth and then Meath.

The contract has made VanDel Couriers one of the largest independent parcel delivery services companies in Ireland, a far cry from the days of two men in a van not that long ago.

“Winning the contract from UPS has been a massive boost for us and sees us become a nationwide delivery service. We now have 44 people working here in total and it really has been a massive success story.”

The fleet of brand new UPS branded vehicles have been on the roads for some time now and VanDel can now describe themselves as a world wide service.

“We are very, very busy at the moment. This new deal certainly has made a huge difference to us. The aim now is to ensure that we get the work done to everyone’s satisfaction.”

VanDel ensure that they keep their fleet in pristine condition and they have opted to go down the route of leasing their vehicles, which Red feels is more cost efficient than any other payment method.

“It makes financial sense to lease as you can change the vans at any time that we want. They are also under warranty, so all maintenance and repairs are carried out by the leasing company, while we will have a replacement van on the work while the work is being carried out.”

VanDel opt for Mercedes and Renault vehicles and with an experienced work force, they are the people’s choice when it comes to logistics in the North East of the province.

“All the drivers are experienced and are very good in dealing with our clients. They are representing the company when they are out there and we get nothing but positive feedback from our clients about the employees. We use GPS tracking systems on all the vehicles, which the customer can track and they know exactly where their parcel is at any time.”

Of course, being located so close to the M1 also has its advantages as they are only a few hours away from any location in the country.

“We are in a good location alright. From the M1, we can access any of the motorways in the country in a short space of time and it means that customers won’t be waiting too long to get their parcels.”

Red admits that the rise of the company has been nothing short of sensational, but he stressed that they are not about to rest on their laurels.

“It has been a remarkable rise alright, but the aim now is to try and continue growing. We are always on the lookout for new contracts. We are confident that we can grow at a pace that doesn’t affect our performance and that is the main thing.

“The customers we have demand high standards and that is what we have been giving them, so we don’t want to compromise that and our focused on improving on our level of service where we can.

"Our aim is not only to always deliver “intact and on time” but also to always deliver on our promise to be the very best we can be for our customers.

"We understand that your shipment, whether it be the size of a matchbox or the size of a shipping crate, is most valuable to you and that when you give it into our care you do so with trust.

"At VanDel we make the promise that we will treat all of our deliveries and removals with the utmost respect, care and confidentiality, and that we will make every reasonable effort to deliver the package intact within the timeframe agreed."

There is no doubt that VanDel are a company on the rise. They are now in the top three courier service in the country, which is a fair accomplishment in just eight years.

Contact Details:

VanDel Couriers

Unit 7

Drogheda Industrial Park

Donore Road




Tel: + 353 41 983 0398 or 00 353 86 883 3148

Email: [email protected] 

Published in Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, Summer 2020, Vol 23 No 3