50 years: Sanderson Transport celebrates a golden milestone

Stephen Sanderson standing by a van - vintage

Stephen Sanderson Transport began life in 1973 as a man and a van, with a strong work ethic, and a drive to find better ways of moving things from A to B.

This year, we celebrated a landmark 50 year anniversary, and as we come to the end of our golden year, we have reflected on our journey.

So much has changed. We’ve grown to become one of the UK’s leading independent haulage, warehousing and logistics specialists. And yet, the principles Stephen built the business on have never changed: Family values; commitment to getting the job done; willingness to go that extra mile and meet the highest standards; the ability to flex and adapt to our clients’ needs. The trust that comes with a handshake.

In 2023, we’re proving that these values can still underpin any modern, progressive business in our industry, and they’re as important now as they were 50 years ago.

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The key to our success has always been putting high quality service, integrity and relationships before profit. We’re in the business of finding solutions to other people’s problems, of keeping things moving and helping them deliver on their promises. We’ve had our share of luck along the way, but this commitment has been the cornerstone of every successful partnership over our 50 years. It’s all about the work you’re prepared to put in, and a team spirit.

Stephen Sanderson

Managing Director

We could tell you that back in 1973 Stephen was young Leicestershire man with a passion for trucks and a vision to build a market-leading haulage business. But that would be someone else’s story. From a background with strong farming links, school came second to a busy schedule of part-time farm jobs which sparked a fascination with farming machinery and tractors. It seemed as though where there was a job to do, Stephen would be ready to take it on. Not much has changed! He had intended to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps to a career in carpentry, but instead followed his instinct by working 70 hours a week on a farm in his hometown of Market Harborough, where he learned to drive the vehicles and to service machinery. He was offered the chance to help set up a mechanics workshop, and during the miner’s strike spotted his first opportunity in haulage – helping move generators up and down the UK.

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Thanks to a loan from his grandfather, Stephen invested in his first vehicle, a Ford Transit pick-up van, and it wasn’t long before he was also helping deliver display stands to 3,000 Natwest Bank branches across the UK. Since then, Stephen Sanderson Transport has gone from strength to strength as a family business, joined by his wife Janice in the early days and later by two of their four sons, Christopher (Operations Director) and Edward (Commercial Director), and business partner of 23 years John Burrows who helped grow European operations.

During our 50 years, we have always been ready to embrace change. The range of industries we’ve worked across is diverse – bringing new challenges that have required innovation and flexibility, and investment in the latest technologies. Our membership of the Palletline network has helped open up our services to smaller enterprises in a spirit of collaboration, and today we take a central role in the development of the network.

As our 50th year draws to a close, we’ve made a new home in state-of-the-art transport headquarters. We’ve maintained BRC AA Grade food distribution and storage accreditation, along with achieving ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 9001, and we’ve continued to grow our extensive warehousing facilities. This year, we’ve welcomed new partners Deichmann, Lego and BMW on board. What a year!

Stephen Sanderson

If I could, I’d have the last 50 years over again. Our success has been thanks to the many people who’ve supported us, and those that have come through the yard over the years. Our drivers – and friends, who are the face of Sanderson Transport, and our whole team working hard in our offices and warehouses. Our many customers who are true partners, and our industry associates. It’s a cliché but we are a family, and I’d like to thank everyone who’s been part of it. Here’s to the next 50 years, and the next phase of our journey.

Stephen Sanderson

Managing Director

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