After one of Britain’s largest delivery companies, Tuffnells, was sold to an rival gig economy company the livelihoods of over 2,000 workers hang in the balance.
Shift is a delivery service founded by Jacob Corlett. He’s a 29-year old entrepreneur. Shift has signed a deal with administrators Interpath to purchase the Tuffnells trademark and intellectual property.
The purchase follows Tuffnells’ collapse into administration earlier in the month. This brought to an end a company whose history dates back over a century. The delivery company was struggling in recent months due to soaring costs and a more competitive market.
Sheffield-headquartered Tuffnells was founded in 1914 after Harold Tuffnell bought a horse and cart for £100 and began delivering goods.
Interpath made Tuffnells employees redundant after its appointment. However, there is hope that some staff members could be rehired. Shift has asked former Tuffnells staff to submit their details under the “previous employment” section of Tuffnells website.
The fate of Tuffnells’ 33 depots will be determined by whether or not a buyer is found. Shift has been in discussions with Interpath about acquiring some of these sites.
Shift, founded in 2017, runs a system that it claims is more efficient than the traditional delivery services. It does this by adding orders to vans already on the road.
It says on its website: “Once our algorithm knows which vans are en-route, we calculate how our drivers can adjust their routes in order to make more deliveries faster.”
The management team is comprised of tech veterans from Deliveroo Trainline Gett. Recently, it acquired German home removals firm Movinga.
Interpath, a firm of insolvency experts, is still in negotiations to sell Tuffnell’s leases.
Richard Harrison, Interpath’s managing director, stated that the sale of Tuffnells to Shift will “at least secure the future” for the brand.
Tuffnells is a specialist in the distribution and handling of goods of irregular dimensions and weight. In its last financial year, the company generated £178m in revenue.
Mr Corlett stated: “Tuffnells, one of the UK’s most recognisable logistic companies that provides delivery services to more than 4,000 businesses in the UK will be significantly increased by this acquisition.
The acquisition will help us achieve our vision of a tech-driven logistics platform that disrupts both consumer and corporate logistics through AI-driven routing decisions and driver efficiency.
We are currently also in dialogue with the relevant parties so that we can reopen certain depots and offer re-employment.