Specialist refrigerated transport and logistics company, McCulla Ireland, has been recognised both locally and at UK and all-Ireland industry events during the 2017 awards season. Between May and September, the family-run, Lisburn-based business was a finalist for 17 separate awards, eight of which the Company went on to win.
Of the eight awards, achieved at six different events, three recognised McCulla Ireland for its environmental commitment, three for its achievements in the Company’s specialist sector, and one was for innovation excellence. The final honour was being named as Northern Ireland’s best mid-size family business of the year.
McCulla Ireland was the only Company from Northern Ireland to be represented in the winner’s line-up at three separate UK-wide industry events: the Motor Transport Awards, SHD Logistics Awards and the Temperature Controlled Storage & Distribution Awards (TCS&D), and was also acknowledged at the Irish Fleet Transport awards.
At the Northern Ireland Export & Freight Transport & Logistics awards event, McCulla Ireland was one of only two companies that walked away with double awards out of a total of 20 award categories, the other being Toomebridge trailer manufacturer, SDC.
Being established in 1969 by David McCulla, the Company is fast-approaching its fiftieth anniversary and is now under the ownership and direction of the second generation of the McCulla family. Brother and sister, Ashley McCulla and Carol Thompson, jointly took control of the business in 1992 and have developed it from a company turning over £700,000 to one turning over £21.7m.
Under the current Directorship, the business has been differentiated from standard refrigerated haulage into a full-service logistics provider of bespoke solutions for customers of all sizes, including delivery by the box, pallet, or full load; and has also diversified into additional niche sectors, including pharmaceuticals and tech goods logistics.
Continual and significant investment by the Company over the last 25 years has centred on facilities and equipment at sites in Lisburn and Dublin, technology integration, customer service initiatives and staff development. Most recently, McCulla Ireland has installed an anaerobic digester plant at its Lisburn site at the cost of £3 million, making it the only Company in the UK and Ireland to have a totally carbon-neutral cold store, the main reason for its success in three environmental and sustainability awards.
As well as this, McCulla Ireland is an early-adopter of technology and most recently has introduced personal digital assistants (PDAs) to its operation. The judges of the Export & Freight Transport & Logistics Innovation Excellence award noted that, while PDAs are commonplace in the parcel delivery sector, McCulla Ireland is thought to be the only haulage company in the UK and Ireland utilising this technology. Indeed, the supplier of the technology had to write the software specifically for the company’s purpose.
McCulla Ireland Managing Director, Ashley McCulla responded to the Company’s 2017 awards success by saying:
“As a family business, we are proud to be recognised as a key player in the refrigerated transport industry, not only in Ireland, but in the UK and Europe as well. We are grateful to all of the judges that voted for us at the various events this year because this has given us the opportunity to reward our dedicated staff with the credit that they deserve.”
McCulla Ireland serves the UK, all of Ireland and the rest of continental Europe, with an infrastructure that uses only its own fleet and its own drivers at all times, meaning it has full control over the entire supply chain at all times. This accountability, coupled with the Company’s ability to offer a high level of flexibility to customers, both in terms of the facilities available and in capacity or volume of work, has set McCulla Ireland apart and has been the basis of its many successes in recent years.