The history of the milling industry in Market Rasen, and a local success story in transport, were revealed to members of Market Rasen Rotary Club recently.
It was a chance for members to learn about one of the town’s businesses from days gone by when Geoff Hill was welcomed as the guest speaker.
The managing director of Rase Distribution and family member of the long established local company, Mr Hill gave a potted history of T Hill and Sons, the forerunner of Rase Distribution.
He referred to the windmills situated in Willingham Road and Lammas Leas, to the family home at the eastern end of Queen Street and the legendary ‘Hills Mill’ in Caistor Road, an area he believes could once again be a scenic attraction to the entrance to the town.
This was a true family business operating through four generations.
When the days of local milling ended, the family decided to close the doors and develop a storage, and then distribution, business.
First of all, the company operated from premises in Jameson Bridge Street and then from Wickenby and Bardney, where they are still based. The new company grew and grew, and in 2017 celebrated its Golden Anniversary.
This year saw the sale of the business to H W Coates, and it is now the biggest player in its sector.
Rase Storage and Distribution continues as a division of HW Coates and employs some 125 personnel.
Geoff has been kept on as managing Director for at least the next three years.
Geoff said the six main challenges facing the industry are rising fuel prices, road congestion, lack of new drivers coming into the industry, cost of new vehicles, increasing demands from customers, and unsustainable pricing.
He also gave some interesting statistics about the industry in Great Britain.
A total of 89 per cent of all goods transported by land are by road.
A massive 98% of all food, agricultural products, consumer products, and machinery, are transported by road
In all 2.54 million people work in the haulage and logistics industry.
The sector is the fifth largest employer.
There are 600,000 goods vehicle driving licence holders.
There are 493,600 commercial vehicles over 3.5 tons registered in the UK.
The industry is worth £124 billion to the economy.