THE ABNORMAL LOAD BUSINESS HAS MANY FACETS, AND FOR SOME, THE HEAVY LIFTING IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE MOVEMENT. GET THAT WRONG, AND THE REST IS ACADEMIC. IAN NORWELL WENT TO MEET MARK WATSON, SALES DIRECTOR OF DAVID WATSON TRANSPORT IN EARLS COLNE, TO FIND OUT HOW IT OPERATES.
PHOTOGRAPHY: CRAIG PUSEY
Specialist companies can often trace their roots back to a single individual who decided he could do something better than his employers. David Watson was such a person, and he started working as a driver for Milbank Floors in 1984. David was a pioneer, the first to operate his Volvo F7 6x2 with a Tico lorry loader arm, acting as a mobile crane. Just two years later, David’s successful operations led to the formation of Milbank Trucks, and he was appointed managing director.
He wasted no time in establishing the beginnings of a specialised heavy lift truck fleet, specifying chassis that could out-lift his competition on heavy plant and industrial equipment. Milbank Trucks expanded, with over 115 trucks in the fleet and over 140 employees. Depots at Earls Colne, Brandon, Cliffe, Stafford and Northampton gave the company great coverage throughout the United Kingdom. Fast forward to 2008, and with a deep recession looming, the building industry was one of the first to crash and Milbank Trucks was placed into administration as a result of the failure of Milbank Floors.
However, jobs and assets were saved, because David Watson Transport was born. David’s personal reputation gave the administrators and banks the confidence to support the purchase of assets, and oversee the new company’s birth. Today, the company has seven locations, 150 staff a fleet of 96 specialised heavy lifting vehicles, and around 100 drivers. In a nod to the past, that original ‘A’ registered Volvo F7 has recently been re-acquired, and is being restored.