Celebrating 25 years of wheel success
IT'S fair to say the car manufacturing business and all the industries that go with it have not had the easiest time over the last four years.
But for one Grimsby car import and exports company, new found confidence in the industry will lead to a further 25 years of steady and sustained growth.
The GBA group celebrated 25 years of success in all things logistics around car imports and exports over the weekend and with it, welcomed the five-millionth Volkswagen car to come through their services.
And despite the recession bringing three "painful" years to the firm – which like many saw redundancies – they are now back to the same staffing levels as they were before 2008, giving them even more reason to celebrate.
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Managing director for the GBA Group, Captain Sam Judah, joined some of the 450 North East Lincolnshire-based staff, customers and suppliers, along with local dignitaries to celebrate their landmark year.
He said: "We have been through a lot of pain over the last four years. We had to make people redundant but we are happy to say in the last 18 months we have now reached the levels of employment prior to the recession and long may it continue.
"There is a lot of confidence in our industry and there is no reason why if we maintain the same excellent standards we will achieve continued success.
"We are a very large employer in the town. Nationally, we employ more than 600 people and of that, 450 are from Grimsby and the Humber.
"Where do we go from here? We carry on the same. To us, what is important is steady and sustained growth rather than rapid growth which stops. We have got a nice, young team of dedicated, enthusiastic and passionate managers who are going to be the future for the company."
The group, whose headquarters are based off Westside Road, Grimsby, along with another operations site in Killingholme, has a strong relationship with VW – the number one for vehicle sales in the UK – and Associated British Ports, which in May, secured a £25 million project to bring larger ships to the port to make the increasing number of North Sea crossings more efficient.
The first batch of VWs handled by GBA was a vessel-load of Beetles in 1975.
Since then, GBA has imported five-million more VWs through Britain, 3.5-million of which came into Grimsby – tangible evidence of Grimsby's vital role in the multi-million pound car manufacturer's success.
Mr Judah continued: "I remember the first car that came through us and I will remember the five-millionth. That has been over a period of 17 years, it is a tremendous achievement.
"We have grown steadily over the past 25 years, we have diversified within our industry and our aim has always remained the same – to provide end-to-end logistics."