Priority Freight is a global time-critical logistics specialist providing supply chain certainty for its customers. The company helps clients with complex and urgent international transport challenges and adds speed and flexibility to their supply chains to keep business moving. Priority Freight, founded in 1996, now employs nearly 300 people, operating from nine offices in the UK and Europe.

Interview with Stuart Stobie, Chief Commercial Officer at Priority Freight.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Stuart Stobie: Priority Freight supports many clients within the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceuticals and events industries. We manage adaptive and complex challenges within supply chains, providing bespoke logistics 24/7, 365 days a year. Our team speaks 22 languages and has extensive time-critical air and road transport experience. Examples of recent works include: shipping a two-tonne replacement part for life-saving medical machinery over 7,000 miles in just 48 hours; an urgent courier delivery of microchips worth £110,000 across UK/France border within 20 hours; and the transport of full instrument inventory for the Bamberg philharmonic travelling from Germany to Iceland and onto the US

E.E: What’s the news about new products/services?

S.S: The company is delighted to receive the prestigious King’s Award in May for Enterprise in International Trade, recognising Priority Freight’s good business practices and significant, sustained growth in overseas sales. [Please see attached press release for further information.]

E.E: What are the ranges of products/services?

S.S: At Priority Freight, our time-critical logistics specialists understand the need for urgent, well-organised and logical shipping services. That’s why we manage all aspects of cargo shipping for all modes of transport. From air freight and air charter to on board courier services and point-to-point road haulage, we provide fast, efficient freight forwarding designed to meet most critical deadlines. With a choice of over 6,000 specialist freight vehicles, we can cater to virtually any sort of cargo shipping, including both fragile and heavy freight, irregular dimensions and weight or dangerous goods. Our services can also include 24/7 customs management and ETSF facilities with permit handling, airport security and screening. [Please see attached service matrix for further information.]

E.E: What is the state of the market where you are currently active?

S.S: The last few years have seen unforeseen adversities in our industry from factors such as Brexit, global conflicts, and the coronavirus pandemic. The automotive and freight industry has undergone significant changes in the past five years with the ripple effects and new challenges creating several layers of issues that aren’t disappearing anytime soon. There were significant price rises after the pandemic, less air freight carriers were available and there was a reduction in lorries as many drivers didn’t return to the industry or found working in Europe harder following Brexit. A financially damaged and destabilised economy was then further exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine and the pressures on energy prices. As a provider who prides themselves on facilitating supply chain certainty – it is our job to understand and predict the complexities involved in the global supply chain; all the time we can do this, we will always have a role to play.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

S.S: There has been an impact on the level of demand for electric cars from the increased cost of living, energy consumption and interest rates. Add to this a lack of infrastructure – consumer confidence has taken a knock and predicted levels of demand have not been realised. But we also need to consider the way that we have changed as humans. If you take the automotive industry as an example – cars in the UK multiplied 4-fold in the last 40 years, there are more of us on the planet valuing mobility, and your average family has gone from one car to three or four. Cars themselves have also become bigger and more complex. Older cars would have 3,000 parts, they now have 7-8,000 parts, which means more suppliers. If you overlap this fragmented supply chain with rising costs, consumer demand, global suppliers, and climate goals you have a huge metaphorical bowl of spaghetti with many competing factors.

E.E: What are the most innovative products/services marketed?

S.S: We offer a bespoke TMS monitoring service for shipments globally with live updates and manage every aspect of the freight shipping process for all modes of transport. Our multimodal transport services range from air freight and air charter to an on board courier service and point-to-point road haulage.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2024?

S.S: We believe that the car industry will enjoy a resurgence when the future becomes clearer on the mode of propulsion.

The complexity of the supply change, the global nature of it, increasing demand and major changes to electrification will keep this industry a very dynamic place for the next few years.

Our people love the buzz of “what’s next?” It makes every day interesting as they find different solutions, rather than processing the same orders on repeat.

With a general election in July, another layer will soon be added to the complexity and who knows, there might be more public ownership of businesses. But whatever the next year presents, one thing is for sure, the industry has never been boring and will certainly keep us all on our toes.