Constellation Cold Logistics

Name: Fiona Hamilton

Title: Regional Transport Manager

Company: Constellation Cold Logistics

Question: How did you get into the temperature-controlled distribution sector and what is your role within Constellation Cold Logistics? 

Answer: I am the Regional Transport Manager at Constellation Cold Logistics UK. I have worked in the temperature-controlled sector for most of my career. As a driver for Palmer & Harvey in Coventry, to Site Manager at NR Evans, then as a controller for DHL on the NISA contract. Finally, to the current day.

Question:  Can you firstly tell us what temperature-controlled vehicles that Constellation Cold Logistics operates?

Answer:  We operate a van and 2 rigids from our Wolverhampton Depot, along with Tri Axle single temp trailers in all of our depots.

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 Constellation Cold Logistics?

Answer: Since I joined ACS&T Logistics in October 2021, we have gone through a time of uncertainty, which restricted updating our fleet, now the merger with HSH Cold stores, and the rebranding as Constellation. We now have investment, so we are currently acquiring new units and trailers. We look forward to getting the latest trailers with more economical equipment and seeing the cost savings along with the journey to Net Zero. 

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

Answer: We are currently in the process of having Microlise fitted to all our units and trailers. I have used Microlise on other contracts and have seen the benefits firsthand for customers. Microlise helps cost reduction, increased safety, efficiency, and compliance, and strengthens customer engagement. We will have complete visibility of our fleet in real-time and be able to analyse the metrics that matter to maximise utilisation.

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

Answer: The most significant request is accurate temperature information. Having Microlise fitted to the trailers, we can get this information at the click of a button. 

Question: What environmental measures does Constellation Cold Logistics incorporate to ensure best practice?

Answer:  At Constellation, we are focused on energy efficiency and clean energy generation. We have heavily invested in solar generation across several sites, including the UK. In addition, Constellation has launched several initiatives to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of its warehouses and refrigeration plants. The business is also reducing the fuel used by its transport fleet through strategic planning, fuel-efficient driving, and investment in our fleet.

Question:  The last 36 months has thrown us all a curve ball, how has business been for Constellation Cold Logistics since the pandemic started?

Answer: I joined ACS&T as we came out of the Pandemic, and there was a reported driver shortage at that time. The first 18 months were challenging, primarily when the merger occurred. It’s been a period of real growth for us, with HSH Coldstores acquiring ACS&T and rebranding as Constellation Cold Logistics UK. It’s an exciting new chapter for our team! Constellation UK will soon be able to offer our customers 34,000 additional pallet spaces with the opening of our new Grimsby facility in 2024, and we have significant developments planned for our Wolverhampton and Tewkesbury locations to meet growing demand.

Question: If you could give one piece of advice to a newcomer to our industry, what would it be? 

Answer: For a newcomer to the Cold Chain industry, I recommend understanding the role temperature control plays in preserving products and familiarise yourself with best practices, technology, and regulations to ensure the safe transport and storage of temperature-sensitive goods. Communication and stakeholder collaboration are essential for a successful career in this industry.

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

Answer: Watch this space; it is an exciting time with the merging of HSH and ACS&T; there are many plans to grow within the UK with the support of our European colleagues. 

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