Gary and Chris Burke (Directors at Burke Bros Moving Group)
Russ Cockburn

Member Article

Removals firm grows after overcoming Calais migrant crisis

An award-winning removals firm has posted 20% growth in the last twelve months, despite being caught up in the Calais migrant crisis.

Bosses at Burke Bros Moving Group have revealed tales of 24-hour delays, spiralling costs, managing customer expectation and the financial penalties of inadvertently carrying illegal migrants.

The company, which operates across Birmingham, Bridgnorth, Coventry, Rugby and Wolverhampton, has had to invest heavily in enhanced safety measures for their drivers and a fleet that has been boosted recently by a further five new vehicles.

It has also developed new routes that bypass the problematic ports so that it can still meet the requirements of a growing corporate and domestic customer base that will do more than 100 trips, moving to and from France, by the end of 2015.

“Our clients are increasingly concerned about the security of their personal effects, especially as this is our busiest time of the year for moving people from the UK to France,” explained Gary Burke, Managing Director.

“Trying to schedule things has been very challenging as it’s difficult to safely judge how easily we will get through. This has meant working overtime when planning journeys and we are especially grateful to our customers for their flexibility and consideration when it comes to their delivery expectations.”

He continued: “The safety of our drivers is also paramount and there have been untold incidents of migrants throwing bricks at the windows, even stepping out in front to get the vehicle to stop whilst their friends try to break in through the rear doors.

“Rather than bemoan the situation, we’ve tried to look at ways around it, including alternative routes to speed up journeys and increased security so that we go over and above the Government’s Code of Practice.

“Despite all of this, we have actually seen an increase in the number of jobs we’re doing in France and Belgium and we appear to be offering answers other removal firms can’t offer.”

2015 has been an exciting time for Burke Bros Moving Group, with turnover up to £2.3m on the back of improved economic performance and greater confidence in the housing market.

The company, which is a member of the British Association of Removers Overseas Group, specialises in moving senior executives, celebrities, professional footballers and domestic customers – via land and sea – to 50 different countries just this year.

It also has a proven track record in the commercial sector, with one recent high-profile example involving removal services for a top 10 French corporate. This saw 52 families move between Paris, Lyon and London, with four removal vans dedicated purely to that contract during the migration delays.

Director Chris Burke continued: “As part of our expansion plans, we have just invested £200,000 into a new self-access storage facilities at our Fox’s Lane site in Wolverhampton.”

He concluded: “Backed by £50,000 of Green Shoots Funding, the development has 94 varying size storage rooms in a well lit, clean and secure environment. Interest in this part of the business has been impressive and we’re on track to reach 50% occupancy by the end of the year.”

Burke Bros Moving Group is aiming to hit £2.5m turnover by the end of the year, a plan that will see it create new jobs as it aims to reach a 50-strong workforce.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Russ Cockburn .

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