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REL Haulage Rejection Highlights Dangers Of Assuming Success

The world of haulage equipment has seen a range of unique stories over the past two years, but the story of a company that began operating under the assumption they would be granted an operating license before being rejected on reputation grounds is a unique case for the haulage industry.

However, the Transport Secretary’s rejection of REL Haulage’s application serves as a cautionary tale that proves the old adage that one should never count their chickens before they have hatched.

REL Haulage was a subsidy of REL Capital, a private investment company that aims to help struggling businesses through consolidating the profitable elements of different firms together that were individually struggling.

The company applied for a licence in July 2021 and whilst it assured the overseeing bodies that it had no plans to operate lorries until their application was approved, was found to have already started taking jobs even whilst the application was taking place.

What made this more concerning is that owner Andy Scott and overseer Adam Lewis both had a reputation of running failed logistics companies, with a combined 11 companies entering liquidation or dissolution under their watch.

The Traffic Commissioner, Nicholas Denton, in his long report on his decision, described how Mr Scott and Mr Lewis had a history of running failed road haulage companies, before siphoning the profitable elements into new ones, escaping creditors and HMRC in the process.

He subsequently accused the pair of planning to do the same with REL Storage; they would leave the unprofitable warehousing business to collapse and continue the profitable road haulage element under a new company.

As well as this, on the day of the inquiry, he noted that he was shown a letter that threatened the staff of the company with redundancy as an attempt to influence Mr Denton’s decision.

The application was rejected in early January 2022 due to a lack of ‘good repute’ required in a road haulage operator.

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