The region’s largest family-run haulage firm took the top trophy at the very first heat of our annual business awards.
Nigel Cook is chief executive of Elddis Transport in Consett today – the £25m turnover haulage, warehousing and logistics firm specialises in moving goods around the UK and now employs some 310 people.
It had humbler beginnings, however. His great grandfather Thomas Cook bought his first horse and cart in 1881 and his son Siddle took over most of the business in 1942, creating Siddle C Cook Ltd, and it then grew to become one of the largest privately-owned heavy haulage companies in the UK, before being sold in 1964.
Elddis Transport – Elddis is Siddle spelt backwards – was formed in 1971, by Siddle’s son and Nigel Cook’s father Geoffrey.
The firm now operates more than 150 vehicles and 300 trailers from nine depots across the North East, Yorkshire and Lancashire and recent expansion has seen it plough £250,000 into bespoke equipment, including the largest trailer operating in the whole of Europe. A pallet sorting and repairing facility has also been established, creating jobs for another 13 people.
Nigel Elddis said: “Elddis is very much a family business and we take great pride in looking after and nurturing our staff and allowing them to develop. The UK transport industry is extremely competitive and by having the best workforce and outstanding levels of service Elddis have continued to prosper when many other companies have fallen by the wayside.”
The other two shortlisted firms in the Company of the Year category were CreateCity Ltd and Tavistock Leisure’s Sonnet 43 Brew House.
Organised by the The Journal and its sister paper Teesside’s Evening Gazette, the annual event, held in association with the North East Chamber of Commerce, aims to highlight the inspiring work of businesses, small, large and somewhere in between throughout the past 12 months. Elddis Transport was one of 10 businesses that took the top prize in their category at the ceremony at Durham’s Ramside Hall last night, a bustling black-tie event hosted by TV presenter Kim Inglis.
From start-ups to established firms, companies covering every sector imaginable came together for the event – a true calendar highlight for the region.
All the winners in this sub-regional final will now go through to the regional final, together with those from the Teesside final and the Tyneside and Northumberland final, with that all important final taking place at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield in May.
Brian Aitken, editor of The Journal, added: “The North East Business Awards are the biggest of their kind in the country. By the time the three sub-regional finals have been held and the grand final at Hardwick Hall on May the first is over, more than 2,000 people will have attended them. The Journal and Evening Gazette combine to hold them, but we couldn’t do it without the help of our sponsors .
“It is so important that we continue to do these awards so that we can highlight excellence and celebrate success.
“We have recognised the importance of training by adding a new category this year of Apprenticeship Award, to recognise those companies who are already doing some fantastic work in trying to close that skills gap.
“You will have seen from the headlines this morning that a Combined Authority for the region is back on.
“Let’s Grow and the apprenticeships campaigns are just two areas where combined working is making a big difference and we at The Journal will be firmly behind the Combined Authority when it gets up and running and helps the region punch its weight.”