The People Making Shore
Meet The Team
Natalie has a haulage, shipping and transport pedigree that dates back to 1987 when she quit her estate agents’ job to work for first Medite, then two long hauls with Russell Davies and then Bawdsey Haulage.
Being made redundant after 13 years could understandably be perceived as a setback to a very successful career, but in Natalie’s case, and with characteristic determination, she salvaged her key clients, who were only too happy to continue to enjoy her outstanding customer service, and also 8 subbies: again, the people she looked after in her role as an employee were keen to work for a trusted and experienced name in the industry and see her early days in a new venture.
Today, celebrating 10 years in the industry, Natalie now has a team of 3 veteran haulage professionals in the back office supporting customers and drivers, from the small hours until, well, however long they are needed to get the job done. Her ‘start-up’ roster of subbies has grown into 30-45 loyal drivers who know they can rely on Shore Logistics to support them.
Talking to Natalie, it is her dogged attention to detail (every customer receives a daily report of job confirmation and delivery update, whether they asked for it or not) and the ability to turn on a sixpence with a change of plan, a snag, a new request, is something a company like Shore Logistics can easily execute as everything is simply handled within the small team right here at Felixstowe Docks. No national or international protocol to contend with, as can be the case with larger organisations. A ‘phoneaholic’, Natalie will make all the calls to ensure deliveries and schedules are working for both client and driver. “Your problem is my problem” says Natalie, and between her and her team, it is a problem sorted.
Natalie is at her desk whilst most people haven’t even contemplated their Weetabix, but to relax she is possibly Old Felixstowe’s best kept secret DJ, light shows and all. And it’s not just a disco in the kitchen: This girl can cook up a storm. See also ‘extreme gardening’ and ‘neighbourhood treasure’.
Aidan Simmen sits commandingly astride the crossroads between the London Gateway & Tilbury bookings for Shore Logistics. A pedigree in haulage that started with Russell Davies in 1991, he has worked with LCL and groupage before honing his craft with road haulage.
Like many career developments, Aidans opportunity to join Shore Logistics started with a chance meeting of his old work colleague, Miss Natalie Caraccio, in a pub. Natalie had just set up Shore Logistics and having ‘Mr Transport’ run into her in Felixstowe’s long cherished seaside watering hole, The Cork, was sheer serendipity. Aiden quickly relocated back to his hometown, clutching his CPC and worked quickly toward his operator’s licence to put the first Shore Logistics trucks on the tarmac.
Ten years on, and the challenges of balancing haulage commitments with subbies availability has only been further impacted by Brexit. Throw in unforeseen curveballs such as accidents, illness, changes of schedule, that ever-evolving giant puzzle seems to be even more complicated today. Still, Mr Simmen remains unflappable: “One of my favourite parts of the day is talking to our customers” he says. “as for more recent challenges, our customers appreciate that we are dealing with a global problem” Not that Aidan would stumble at any hitch, local or global. “I love being part of this team: We’re here until the job gets done”.
Aidan lives within the Sea Shore Community of Old Felixstowe with wife Rachel and daughters, Isabella and Lily. When not herding lorries and chatting to subbies, he spends hours fixing up the impossible in the name of ‘Home Improvements’ and is a past front row star of Felixstowe Rugby Union Football Club, where he can still be found supporting the club and reliving his youth.
Nicola’s desk sits between the desks of Boris and Aidan. At the helm of this particularly lively and often challenging ship, she is the calm organisation between Boris’s transport bookings for Felixstowe, and Aiden’s bookings for London Gateway and Tilbury.
23 years’ experience between freight, warehousing and transport, Nicola has found her professional home at Shore Logistics making the vital links between our drivers and the incoming bookings. The precision and speed of working through the VBS (Vehicle Booking System) that takes our Subbies from quayside to road is a crucial part of Nicola’s skill. Sounds easy enough, but throw in last minute destination changes, late schedule shifts, rejected traffic and problems with paperwork, it takes more than luck to make the puzzle pieces fit to ensure the customer, the Subbie and the job are all organised on time and onto the VBS with precision and efficiency.
Nicola is here, at Shore Logistics quayside HQ, from about 6am, but the team are often on the group WhatsApp (‘You Call: We Haul’) out of hours. “Sometimes it seems like a mountain to climb” Nicola says of all the possible scenarios and hurdles that can hamper a day’s work “but inevitably it all falls into place and it’s a great feeling”.
When she’s not immersed in haulage and organising, Nicola cooks the most amazing treats. She is married to Steve and they live in the ‘Shore Community’ of Old Felixstowe with their two cats. Nicola has a serious glitter addiction and can ‘disco up’ the most mundane of situations.
There isn’t much to know about haulage that Boris cannot tell you. Seemingly born into a container shipping career at Contship from school, he has worked with such prestige industry names as Russell Davies, MSC and Bawdsey Haulage before a 10 year stint at Goldstar after which Shore Logistics were lucky enough to harness all that experience and add Boris to the closely knit team as their own juggling act and Operations Manager.
As much as Aidan takes care of London Gateway and Tilbury, Boris is the Felixstowe lynch pin and replicates this balancing act of always making sure that each job and each subbie are paired to make each day’s schedule run like clockwork.
Sitting in close formation with the team, he is always one step ahead: “I am all ears and know exactly what’s going on, wherever it might be and however it affects our commitments” he explains. “I can hear Nicola talking to the drivers, I can hear if Aidan or Natalie has an issue. Whether we are working together as a four or a two, we know what our challenges are, and we know how to get around them”
Talking to Shore Logistics subbies is an important part of the job: “the challenges with driver shortages are just something we have been affected by, but we do look after our subbies and they tend to stay with us”
Boris has recently moved within Old Felixstowe, where he is tirelessly renovating and decorating his new home which he shares with his wife, Zoe and occasionally daughters Georgia and Meghan. Boris and family can often be spotted around the neighbourhood being walked by their two dogs.