O’Toole Transport

Name: Laurence O’Toole

Title: Managing Director

Company: O’Toole Transport

O’Toole Transport
O’Toole Transport - Laurence O’Toole

Question: How did you get into the temperature controlled distribution sector and what is your role within O’Toole Transport Ltd?  

The first truck we bought in 1996 was a Scania 93m with a Gray & Adams body and Petter fridge motor. We commenced work with a local dairy delivering butter and cheese across Ireland. My role in the company started out driving the first truck, in 2000 we commenced International transport and I did european long distance driving for a time, as the company grew I moved into the office full time in 2001 and have been lucky to have worked with great people and customers, we now operate a fleet of 100 trucks,180 refrigerated trailers out of 3 depots, Galway, Dublin and Glasgow. We deliver 7000 pallets per week to every supermarket RDC in the UK and Ireland, for inbound goods we collect anywhere in England on day one, trunk overnight to our depots in Glasgow and Dublin and deliver early the next morning on time everytime.

Question: Can you firstly tell us what temperature controlled vehicles that O’Toole Transport Ltd operates? 

180 refrigerated trailers, all Chereau, all Thermo King, mix of Multi Temps, Double Decks and Single Temps. We update our trailers every 5 years. So far this year we have had 24 new trailers and have 12 new trailers joining the fleet in October, we will hold on to the older trailers until after the Christmas rush and will send them back to the dealer in January. 

Question: What has been the most important technical development in your temperature controlled bodies and refrigeration systems in recent years and how has it impacted on your operations within O’Toole Transport Ltd?

The new cooling units on the market are remarkable, they are lighter, greener, are whisper quiet and have minimised downtime with service intervals now heading toward 3000 hours. We are due to get the first Thermo King Advancer in the fleet next month and we are really looking forward to seeing how it performs against the SLX models.

Question: Are you using telematics across your fleet currently? If so, what advantages do you see this gives your clients? 

We teamed up with Bluetree in 2004 simply because they were one of the first companies to fully undertstand an operators needs on temperature management. Bluetree have expanded into fleet tracking, driving style reporting, tachograph management and can offer us a suite of over 100 reports that can help us manage the business on a daily basis. Our customers have access to the portal and can log in to check the progress and temperature of their cargo in real time which gives real peace of mind to our customers. 

Question: Customer needs are constantly changing, so what are you finding is now the biggest request from your customers?

Our customers are in the FMCG sector, by definition things are happening at a high tempo. The biggest request at the moment is for extra capacity to service their needs, whether it is storage capacity to help with stock piling or extra vehicles, we are always there to help, 24/7 x365, we never stop! 

Question: What environmental measures does O’Toole Transport Ltd incorporate to ensure best practice?

Recycling water, electric plug in points in all depots for cooling units, we have solar panels on the roof of our new Dublin depot and all of our decisions on fleet are centred around the most fuel efficient vehicles, we are eagerly awaiting the launch of the Nicola Hydrogen truck in Europe, they are due to hit the road in 2021/2022 and we would like to be among the first owners in the UK.

Question: Now that the UK has left the European Union, have you noticed any changes with your business since 31st January?

We have become founding members of the customs clearance consortium,  to help us maintain our promise of delivering on time, as we await the final details of the withdrawal agreement we are preparing for Brexit and have employed a team of 8 people to undertake customs formalities. 2020 has been a challenging year on the business as we have operated through the pandemic with a dramatic drop in volume between April and June, between July and September we have seen a steady return in volume. We have managed to grow our staff numbers and will end the year on target which is credit to our team who are helping us through the pandemic. 

Question: Lastly, would you like to share any news about your company that you feel would benefit the TCS&D readers? 

We have recently moved into a brand new custom built depot in Dublin, its serviced by 12 dock levellers, has 50,000 sq ft of warehousing and parking for 60 trucks, all within minutes of Dublin Port and Airport. 

Our Glasgow depot has both storage and crossdocking capacity and all sites are BRC accredited. We are always looking for experienced professionals to help join the O’Toole Transport journey.

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