Fastforward logo - News

They're not red, they're not silver, they're green!

They're not red, they're not silver, they're green!

Don't worry, your eyes are not deceiving you - the most recent additions to the Fast Forward International stable are seriously green at heart!

Although we offer old-fashioned service, Fast Forward International does it with the most modern technology available.

The arrival of a trio of the latest Volvo FH4 trucks in our all-new silver livery signals the completion of a 6 month replacement programme which means the whole fleet now meets Euro-5 emissions standards, making Fast Forward International one of the cleanest, most modern operators in Europe.Whether we are bowling down an autoroute in Bordeaux or threading our way through London suburbs, we are doing it as efficiently and environmentally-friendly as we can. It's enough to make others green with envy! STOP PRESS!!! Recent replacements now mean that over half the fleet now meets Euro 6 specification, the highest standard currently available.

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All Under Control

All Under Control

Fast Forward International's new load restraint systems mean better-than-ever care of your cargo

At Fast Forward International we're always looking at ways to improve the service we offer, and our latest innovation is the fitment of roof-suspended cargo control systems to ensure the least risk of damage to your  freight.

Originally developed in Finland, the system consists of a high-strength sheet which is suspended from the roof when not in use and pulled down onto the cargo once the truck is loaded. 5-tonne rated ratchet straps are then used to secure the load both sideways and fore-and-aft resulting in the safest, most secure method of cargo restraint we have seen in use anywhere in the world.

The ability to adjust to height differences between pallets, and apply more or less tension depending on the nature of the goods, ensures the cargo arrives in the best possible condition regardless of the length of the journey involved.

 With half the fleet already equipped and a programme of retrofitting over the next 6 months, we are confident that our cargo care is the best in the business!

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Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains

As part of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Fast Forward International organized the delivery of a Swiss mountain through narrow cobbled streets to the centre of the city. Roger Federer (left) was just one of the many VIP guests celebrating all things Swiss at the amazing House of Switzerland.

Working closely with our Swiss partners, the structure which would serve as the Swiss national hospitality centre during the Games was transported across Europe by a total of 15 artic trucks and stored at our temporary South London consolidation centre awaiting call-off by the team constructing this amazing facility.

 

Over a period of 3 weeks, parts of the giant jigsaw were moved to the Glaziers Hall site adjacent to Southwark Cathedral using a fleet of smaller trucks. The problematical restricted access caused by low bridges and narrow cobbled streets meant that meticulous planning was needed to ensure the components arrived on time and in the correct sequence to ensure construction was not delayed - this was one deadline that couldn't be missed, even by a few hours!

 

 As the project progressed, early visitors were fascinated by the stylized Alpine mountain that was taking shape in one of the most historic sites by the river Thames - and all in a shocking bright red! The climbing wall, stages and hospitality areas linked together to create a wonderful - and slightly surreal - spectacle, which was used by the Swiss Olympic team, their guests and commercial partners for a month long whirlwind of shows, presentations, promotions and - of course - those legendary Olympic parties!

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Climbing wall
Evelinn Trouble on the main stage
Federer and the big screen

Pearly Kings of the Road

Pearly Kings of the Road

They say that good things come in threes, and for 3 of Fast Forward's drivers that is certainly true.
Celebrating 3 decades of trading - a pearl anniversary - Fast Forward International has taken delivery of 3 new Volvo trucks painted in a special pearlescent version of our striking red & silver livery. Pictured with Paul Cogger from Volvo dealership M C Truck & Bus at a handing over ceremony at the Sittingbourne Head Office, MD Colin McKay mused on the changes in the industry over the last 30 years. The new trucks - equipped with air conditioning, central heating and night coolers for those sultry Mediterranean nights - are a world apart from the trucks he drove when the business was founded, some of which didn't even have a basic heater. In 1980, without the benefit of mobile phones, satellite tracking and messaging systems, communication with the office was dependent on finding a public phone box that worked - and having a large supply of 10 pence pieces!The good old days? Probably not!

 

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A Touch of Sparkle

A Touch of Sparkle

On the Fast Forward International stand at the recent 20/20 business-to-business exhibition, visitors were invited to guess the mileage driven by one of our drivers on a groupage run, zig-zagging through northern France. The lucky winner was health & safety consultant Peter Hopkins, whose estimate of 700 miles was within 12 miles of the actual figure.

Peter (left) should have no problem finding volunteers to help him celebrate - the prize was a magnificent jeroboam of champagne!

 

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Red noses and red faces!

Red noses and red faces!

The truck driver's face was a picture as the fork lift drove up to offload him...driven by Coco the clown - ever tried to explain Red Nose Day in Swiss-Deutsch?! Staff at Fast Forward dressed as celebs and cartoon characters to mark Comedy Relief's day of "do something funny for money" with the accounts department run by Britney and Dolly and the Operations desk under the care of Elvis and Fred Flintstone.

MD Ozzy Osbourne said "I'm very proud of the way everyone has entered into the spirit and raised more than just a few smiles". With Delia in charge of catering for the day (and with a sideline in extortion) staff raised just short of £300 which will go straight to help good causes. Coco's smile might have been painted on, but there were plenty other broad grins around!

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Glazed over!

Glazed over!

Dashwood House, a 1970's high-rise office block in London's financial quarter, has just completed a major facelift which has lasted two years - this is the first of two projects in which Fast Forward International's Project Manager, Mark Hannen, has played a key role.

Typical of the concrete-clad designs of the 60's and 70's, Dashwood was beginning to look dated as ever-more futuristic structures grew around it, but it is now enjoying a new lease of life having had two extra floors added and clad in special glass panelling, manufactured in Switzerland and delivered to site from our warehouse in Kent as the job progressed. Now looking as striking as the most modern developments in the City, this innovative building technique has involved thousands of tonnes of glass being transported as road freight from the factory in Switzerland and delivered in specific batches according to the day's needs, often using lorry-mounted cranes and other specialist vehicles.

Closely co-ordinated with our Swiss partners in Basel, the rejuvenation has been hailed an enormous success, the proof of this being two new projects due to start next year. For more information, have a look at www.skyscrapernews.com/news.php?ref=591

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Rhyme time!

Rhyme time!

On a beautiful sunny Sunday one of the largest carnivals in the south-east wound it's way through the historic streets of Tonbridge. This year's carnival theme was nursery rhymes, and the Demelza House Children's Hospice (assisted, of course, by Fast Forward International and the Footsteps Theatrical Workshop) certainly stood out, winning the Best Float award for the second year in succession.
Escorted by several lovely Queens of Hearts, the nursery rhyme characters danced their way through a non-stop routine that lasted nearly an hour, entertaining the thousands of spectators who lined the route - it wasn't just much needed funds that were raised for the hospice, quite a few smiles were raised as well!

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Climate Control

Climate Control

Typical of the work of our Freight Forwarding Department, the first leg of the journey of this crated air conditioning system from the UK to South Korea was probably the hardest to arrange, due to the height of the cargo. Measuring 6 metres top to bottom, the truck and it's load had to negotiate a carefully planned and closely controlled route to the port of Felixstowe from where it was shipped to Busan.

Ultimately destined for installation on a deep sea exploration rig working in the Pacific Ocean, it didn't quite break the record for the largest air-con unit carried by Fast Forward - that distinction goes to a system specifically designed by a French manufacturer to fit into one of our top-loading 13.6 metre trailers, and which now resides on top of an office block in London's Docklands.

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'Allo, 'allo! 20 years of quality!

'Allo, 'allo! 20 years of quality!

It's over 20 years since 'Allo 'allo! star Vicki Michelle presented Colin and Naomi McKay with Fast Forward International's first ISO9000 certificate of accreditation for the company's quality management system, and the company has now celebrated a decade and a half of continuous certification.
Currently working to the newer standard of ISO9001:2008, Naomi McKay says "This is proof positive of our dedication to the provision of a quality service to industry. Our commitment is as firm as it was 20 years ago." Naomi added "The certification is just one aspect of our business procedures which are all directed at one goal - to maintain the highest standards possible".

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Charity begins...

Charity begins...

...close to home! At Fast Forward International we're proud of our association with local charitable organisations, and we all get a kick out of helping where we can. In 2007 our involvement was more diverse than ever - amongst other things we have helped with carnival floats for Demelza House Children's Hospice, kitted out the Lenham Wanderers junior football team and supplied hundreds of commemorative neckerchiefs for the Scout's centenary jamboree (pictured).

And, of course, Fast Forward benefits too - the freight industry is all too often seen as gritty and unwelcome, but the kids round here know that we're really quite nice people!

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A Matter of Honour!

A Matter of Honour!

The International Road Transport Union has awarded the Medaille d'Honneur to Steve Ockenden, in recognition of his outstanding service to international transport over more than 15 years with Fast Forward.

The IRU, which represents the national road haulage associations of many countries, has confirmed that this is one of only two such awards made to UK drivers this year - the medal and diploma are only given to drivers who have driven over one million kilometres in international freight transport without incident. Presenting Steve with the award, Director Colin McKay said "Those who know Steve will attest that he is not only a very safe driver, but also a true gentleman who will always offer to help someone in trouble. I can think of no-one more deserving of this recognition".

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Work and Play

Work and Play

Leading car rental company Europcar hold an annual karting Grand Prix where nearly 300 drivers compete for honours in a series of 3-hour endurance races held over two days at the Wohlen circuit in Switzerland. To organize this event they call on London-based Playscape, who stage corporate motor sport events around the globe.

Fast Forward International were contracted to ensure the vast amount of equipment - from the karts themselves to the race mechanics' toolchests - arrived on schedule and in plenty time to set everything up before the first guests arrived. In temperatures of over 35 degrees, the racing continued into the evening before everyone could relax and enjoy the banquet laid out in a marquee right next to the pit lane - when the racing finished with no injuries and minimal damage to equipment the event was hailed a huge success by all concerned - Ferrari, eat your heart out!

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Switzerland - every day!

Switzerland - every day!

Commercial Director, Lee Davison, has launched a new and greatly improved daily Swiss service which will offer enhanced flexibility and service levels to new and existing customers throughout the UK and Europe.

Lee says 'With a new consolidation depot in Yorkshire and our existing facility in Kent the benefits are clear - clients can be confident that consignments to or from Switzerland will be handled with the high level of care which is Fast Forward International's hallmark'. Guaranteed daily departures in both directions are the icing on the cake and mean rapid transit times. Lee adds 'Our partners in Switzerland are one of the most professional organizations we have ever worked with and we complement each other in many ways. Their ethos matches ours - quality of service is paramount'.

With consolidation facilities in Kent & Yorkshire we can offer the same high standard of service and rapid transit times to and from locations throughout the UK

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Onward, Upward and Fast Forward!

Onward, Upward and Fast Forward!

Fast Forward International has moved to a larger, improved site and can now offer even greater flexibilty across the range of services on offer.

Commercial Director Lee Davison says "Whilst we are still situated on the Eurolink Commercial Park in Sittingbourne, the new depot and Head Office gives us greatly increased secure warehouse capacity, whilst offering potential for growth which will stand us in good stead for many years to come". The new warehouse offers facilities for bulk stack, racked pallet storage, order pick & pack and groupage consolidation – all in a modern, dry and highly secure environment. Lee Davison adds “The investment in Fast Forward’s future has been considerable, and will not only allow for future expansion but will also bring immediate benefits to our clients, many of whom have been quick to take advantage of the extra facilities”. What better way to celebrate the start of our 25th year of operation?!

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Art and Soul!

Art and Soul!

Fast Forward International has played a part in bringing a little bit of modern France to the heart of Britain's historic naval establishment.

In the courtyard of the recently redeveloped Devonport House, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage site (now housing the University of Greenwich), developers Cathedral Group PLC have unveiled The Throne of Earthly Kings, a major piece of public sculpture by the French artist François Hameury. Fast Forward International were asked to arrange the transport of this large and delicate sculpture from the site in Brittany where it was crafted by Francois Hamery, and to assist in the installation in Greenwich.

This installation coincided with HM The Queen's official state visit to France to mark the 100th anniversary of the ‘Entente Cordiale’ (with a reciprocal visit by President Chirac planned for later in the year). More ironically perhaps, the grounds of Devonport House are the old Greenwich Hospital burial grounds, where many naval Pensioners and former seamen of Nelson’s fleet lie buried, including Tom Allen, Nelson's personal servant, and Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Nelson's friend and flag-captain and best known as the man to whom Lord Nelson addressed his famous last words whilst fighting Napoleon and the French fleet at Trafalgar. The Throne of Earthly Kings is situated in the courtyard of the University student accommodation blocks that form part of the redevelopment of Devonport House. It is intended, says François Hameury, to be 'a place where all who pass by can sit and contemplate their futures as they launch themselves into the world, situated as it is in the heart of the place from which so many of Britain's great historic naval expeditions were launched.'

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Fast Forward Paves the Way!

Fast Forward Paves the Way!

A French-based manufacturer of concrete additives has confirmed the appointment of Fast Forward International as their preferred logistics supplier for importation and distribution of their products throughout the UK. The product portfolio includes accelerators, retarders and plasticisers used to enhance the performance of concrete in differing conditions and specialist applications.

In a deal which has seen them switch from importing their products in bulk tankers to an IBC-based distribution system, Fast Forward International will operate a new telesales and stock control facility on their customer’s behalf. “With less than 24 hours transit time from the factory in France to our depot in Kent” says Operations Director, Lee Davison, “we can react very quickly to our customer’s needs. A buffer stock of over 150,000 litres held at Sittingbourne means just about every eventuality is covered. Taking responsibility for the supply of this customer’s products from factory to end user means they can devote more resources to developing their core business, and this has led to greater efficiency throughout the system”. A rock-solid partnership indeed!

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Surprise!Surprise!

Surprise!Surprise!

Fast Forward's Mega Growth Success! MD Colin McKay says he is 'A little surprised, but very pleased' at Fast Forward International's ranking as the 14th fastest growing privately owned company in Kent.
The MegaGrowth 50 list is compiled by leading Kent newspaper, the Kent Messenger, together with accountants KPMG and Lloyds TSB Commercial Bank. Fast Forward International is the only freight company to be included and fully intends to be even higher up the ladder this time next year!

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City of London Spectacular!

City of London Spectacular!

In brilliant November sunshine which defied the forecasters, the Lord Mayor’s Show wound its way through the spectacular setting of London’s Square Mile. Stretching for over 3 kilometres and comprising around 300 motor vehicles and 8000 participants, the procession marks the inauguration of the City’s new Lord Mayor.

This celebration has taken place every year since Dick Whittington first made his way through the streets to pledge allegiance to the Crown in 1397, just over 300 years before even Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame, began brewing ale in 1698. The theme of the show was ‘Serving the City’, and Shepherd Neame has done just that for generations. Built around one of our 13.6 metre trailers they constructed two pub scenes, the first representing the war years of 1939 – 45 complete with Pearly Kings & Queens leading a singalong of wartime songs. The second depicted today’s pub, with Chef providing tempting fresh food and the bow-tied barman mixing cocktails for a younger clientele.

Although many months in planning, the float was built in less than a week. Following the inevitable lengthy security checks on Friday, the crew were to be found putting the finishing touches early on Saturday morning, with many compliments coming from other participants. Without a doubt, the float was one of the favourites with the tens of thousands of spectators lining the route many of whom joined the singalong enthusiastically, and there was more than one request for a sample from the bar! Most importantly of all, our customer was delighted with the positive exposure their brand was given at this prestigious event, and are already talking about next year’s show. For more information on the show itself, visit the website at www.lordmayorsshow.org.

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