heavy machinery transport

Joseph Merritt Group Plc has announced plans to invest £1.4 million in heavy machinery transport and lifting equipment as part of an ongoing strategy to expand services across the UK.

The company, which specialises in the lifting, removal, transportation, installation, and storage of heavy machinery and equipment has already invested in 4 new Scania S500 tractor units and will shortly take delivery of 4 new customised Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans and 4 new Hyster fork lift trucks. A new £100,000 Nooteboom flatbed trailer is also on order for delivery in January 2019.

In addition, Merritts has added to its fleet of Versa-Lift trucks following the £300k investment in a further 60/80 truck which has the capacity to lift and carry machinery weighing up to 35 tonnes, which is a valued asset to machinery end users and manufacturers. The Versa-Lift’s compact design also makes it an ideal solution when moving machinery in confined areas.

In total, Merritts will have invested £1.2 million in vehicles by the end of 2018. The remainder of the investment has equipped the new vehicles with bespoke toolboxes and lifting tackle, which includes specialist jacks, skates, chains and slings. This ensures each Merritts site engineer is fully equipped with the specialist tooling required to successfully carry out each project.

Commenting on the investment, James Merritt, Director, said, “We have ambitious plans for expansion over the next five years. We are investing in the equipment and people we will need to meet the growing demand for machinery movement services in the UK, Europe and beyond. It will also enable us to continue working for manufacturers who are moving factories or need to re-locate machinery within their existing premises.”

Funding for the investment was provided by Santander. Joseph Merritt Group Plc currently has a turnover of £6m and employs a team of 45 personnel who work from a fully equipped storage and bonded warehousing facility based in Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottingham. As part of its expansion plan, the company intends to increase revenue to £10m, create at least five new jobs and seek to attract more global machine moving projects on behalf of manufacturers selling new machinery to UK based companies.

The company has a blue chip client base of industry leading manufacturers and supply chain partners in sectors that use heavy machinery such as aerospace, defence, automotive, print, plastics & rubber, food production and waste recycling.

As part of Merritt’s bespoke services we provide safe and secure storage servicves for large loads and industrial equipment. This is often essential when equipment is being mothballed, sold on or can’t be transported to its final destination for a period of time. It is a key component of our comprehensive logistics services, although we also offer use of the storage facilities as a standalone service.

One of our key strengths is that we’re centrally located in the Midlands, conveniently close to the M1, giving us and our customers quick access to major routes North, South, East and West. Our secure facilities offer 150,000sqft of internal storage space, with another 80,000sqft external storage space for items that are not weather sensitive.

All of our warehouses are heated, equipped with overhead cranes that can lift up to 20 Tonnes, allow storage for items up to 10m in height and are protected with state of the art security systems. All of which is managed by our skilled warehouse team.

Storage Services

We have customers come to us looking for a variety of storage solutions, so we often tailor our services to suit each individual need. For instance, energy engineering firm Doosan Babcock needed to store some sensitive items that required regular maintenance and a permanent power supply to maintain correct temperature, humidity and performance. By closely following instructions our skilled team were able to fulfil all the manufacturer’s requirements for safely storing the equipment.

How short and long term storage these are some of the reasons why businesses choose to store their equipment with us:

  • Machinery manufacturers from all industry sectors often need a buffer storage solution prior to UK installation.
  • A piece of equipment may no longer be required but cannot be written off due to balance sheet value.
  • Manufacturers that downsize production on multiple sites by consolidating machinery may need to store some machinery prior to it being sold.
  • When manufacturers change their tooling or model they are still required to keep the old tools and parts for a specified time.
  • Used machinery dealers sometimes need a simple holding area or showroom to keep equipment prior to sale.
  • Auctioneers can require warehouse space in which to hold closed auctions or store machinery.
  • Many transport businesses can save fuel and time between drops to customers by using our central location to temporarily drop certain loads.


Storage services and HMRC bonded

Customs bonded warehousing

Our facilities are also popular with importers and exporters. Merritt’s premises are HMRC approved as a customs bonded warehouse facility, which means we can help our customers defer payment of import duty and VAT on their machinery and equipment.

These are the key benefits of our customs bonded warehousing facility:

  • Businesses can defer payment of import duty and VAT.
  • The opportunity to purchase stock machinery without paying import duty and VAT until they’re sold.
  • Provides customers with greater flexibility for supplying ‘quick turnaround’ machine deliveries to clients.
  • It also means you can take advantage of favourable exchange rates when purchasing stock machinery.
  • If you are unable to sell your machinery in the UK you can sell it for re-export without having to worry about the duties which would already have been paid.


Secure Storage Services

Rates start from £0.10 per square foot per week (£1.09 per square metre per week), which is inclusive of buildings insurance, rates, light, heat and power in the area dependent on use. Find out more about our storage services.

Get in touch for a quote on storage.

(NB Our customs bonded warehouse is approved for ‘dry’ status only. We do not have a ‘wet’ licence and therefore cannot process enquiries relating to the storage of alcohol, fuel or cigarettes.)

Proper routines and procedures are essential for every job that we do, because each machine move is unique and presents its own set of challenges. By putting thorough planning and preparation into a big move we make sure there are few variables and that we reduce the chance of any problems. But every now and then a project comes along that needs us to do something new or adapt to certain circumstances in order to get the job done…

Transporting something big? Get the Police involved

In 2010 we worked with power plant equipment specialists, Doosan Babcock, to move 150 pieces of machinery, some of them weighing up to 40 tonnes, 26 miles to the Radcliffe on Soar power station. Due to the size of the equipment it was necessary to work with the Police to ensure that we could safely transfer the machinery from our storage facility to their final destination. While we had been storing them in our dedicated facilities we had been ensuring that the more sensitive items were regularly maintained and were connected to a permanent power supply to keep them at the correct temperature, humidity and performance.


Setting off along the M1 at 6pm accompanied by an experienced Police escort the four flatbed trucks travelled at a speed of 40mph. We took things steady, allowing the Police to close each slip road on the southbound route to traffic until the convoy was safely past. The final leg from the M1 to the power station itself required us to negotiate two miles of the busy A453 into Nottingham. The Police quickly closed off the route with as little impact to traffic as possible, enabling us to complete the operation in just under an hour.

Find out how we did it here.

We’ll work out of hours to reduce disruption to public services

The installation of a bronze statue and granite base onto the main concourse of Robin Hood Airport was always going to be a tricky one. We had to access the building through a restrictive doorway and drive a forklift carrying the statue of the famous outlaw across 60m of polished marble floor, close to retail units. As a result we needed a special track to protect the floor from our vehicles and we were restricted to only using electrically operated machinery when inside the terminal building.


Each of the two parts to the granite base weighed 1.3 Tonnes and needed careful manoeuvring to get into position. As it is a working airport we weren’t allowed to disrupt its busy schedule. So as well as having our team be subjected to strict security requirements the work could only be carried out between 11pm and 5am, when there weren’t any flights. Despite the various restrictions that we had to deal with the move was completed to schedule, over two nights.

Find out how we did it here.

Working with very little room to manoeuvre

Not all of our big machine moves involve travelling far. In the case of an East Midlands Aerospace company the machinery wasn’t even leaving the building. We were tasked with moving seven CNC lathes weighing up to 4 tonnes each. These seven machines needed to be relocated from the first floor to the ground floor of the factory. The main challenge being that we had to take them through a gap that was only slightly larger than the largest machine. We had helped install the machines originally, so we also had the advantage of being familiar with the factory.

Once the machines were stripped of their guards and motors we raised them onto skates and moved them to the aperture between the two floors. It is through this hole that we raised the forklift blades of a Versalift on the ground floor on to which the machines were then rolled. The fork lift then carefully lowered and carried them to their new locations where they were lined, levelled and reassembled. The main challenges that we faced were the restrictive gaps that we had to manoeuvre the machines through. This required very precise handling and good communication between the team members to ensure everything went off without a hitch and without disrupting work that was still going on elsewhere in the factory.

Find out how we did it here.

Find out more about the many big machine moves we’ve made by looking at our case studies.




Although we’re expert machine movers we don’t just measure our work in tonnes and miles. When transporting large, expensive equipment we focus on the detail, ensuring each project is handled with care and exacting precision. This way we can guarantee the safety of the high value loads and, more importantly, the safety of our team and the public. That’s why we don’t leave anything to chance.

Martyn Goodwin is our new Project Manager, who’s brought his considerable experience as an engineer and HSE manager to Merritt’s Health and Safety team. It’s his job to meticulously plan and oversee every step of all our projects. We make sure everything meets the correct industry regulations, including the latest environmental guidelines, and all of our equipment is regularly tested and fully certificated.


Our health and safety team are specialists in these key areas:

Project Planning

Everything starts at the planning stage. It’s here that we allocate the time and resources to a job. It includes careful consideration about vehicles, specialist equipment and key personnel that need to be used to ensure the smooth, safe running of a project. The wrong equipment, too little time or not enough people onsite can lead to problems and unnecessary risks.

Find out more about how we prepare for a project.

Risk Assessments

We always undertake a thorough risk assessment to identify potential risks and issues at the locations where we’ll be working. A key component of the planning process it ensures we can take pre-emptive measures to manage the risks and protect everyone involved in the move. Most risk assessments will also include a Fire Risk assessment, which are essential when we’re dealing with hazardous or flammable materials.

Construction – Design and Management (CDM) Regulations

These regulations define the legal duties for clients, designers and contractors to ensure safe operations when we’re working on UK construction sites. It’s about having the right people for the right job and good planning so that when we’re onsite health and safety is always at the forefront of what we do.

Find out more about CDM on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Work Method Statements

These are common practice in construction which is why we routinely draw up work method statements to define how we will safely perform a task or operate a piece of machinery. It works in conjunction with a lot of our other health and safety practices to establish a consensus between our employees and our clients on how the work will be undertaken.

Site Inductions

Site inductions are critical as well as being standard procedure. It helps our workers to familiarise themselves with particular hazards and risks at a location where we will be working. It’s essential everyone on the team does it before we even start to work on the site.

Incident Reporting

In the event that something doesn’t go according to plan we’ll create an incident report. These are standard forms for recording details of an unusual event that occurs while we’re working on a project. It’s important that we record as much detail as possible at the time so this document will be useful for dealing with liability issues and will help in the planning of similar projects in the future.

Form F10 notification to HSE

Before the project is even undertaken we need to submit an F10 notification to the HSE. It includes information such as project address, project description, project duration, client details, principal contractor details, CDM coordinator details, project start and finish dates. The form must also be signed by the client to confirm they are aware of their duties and the regulations.


Essential qualifications and certification

We understand that Health & Safety is of paramount importance within the workplace. Our Health & Safety team has over 30 years’ experience working within a variety of industry sectors. The following are a selection of the recognised qualifications and accreditations that we have and continue to maintain. We find that they instil confidence in our customers; who can see that every project will be carried out to the correct guidelines and regulations.

IOSH – The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health is the largest chartered body for health and safety professionals in the world. www.iosh.co.uk

NEBOSH – The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health offers a wide range of globally recognised qualifications aimed at meeting the health, safety and environmental management needs of all places of work. www.nebosh.org.uk

Safecontractor – A health and safety assessment scheme that offers tailored, industry specific training to promote high standards of competence and compliance. www.safecontractor.com

PRINCE 2 – An acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environment,s this internationally recognised project management methodology encompasses high level management, control and organisation of a project. www.prince2.com

ROSPA – The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is a charity that provides health and safety training with the express aim of saving lives and reducing injuries in the workplace. www.rospa.com

Six Sigma Management Awareness – Six Sigma facilitates a set of techniques and tools for businesses to improve processes, performance and ultimately save money. www.sixsigmagroup.co.uk

Kaizen – The philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement for a business through its people, processes and systems. uk.kaizen.com


Never standing still

In order to stay an industry leader for machine moves we have our own in-house training academy. This means that our coordinators get access to the latest training methods and standards as soon as they are developed. It’s this knowledge that is then relayed to all of our team to ensure we remain at the forefront of the industry for health and safety procedures, and complex lifting practices.

Some more essential facts about Merritt Training:

  • We been providing industrial training services for over 20 years.
  • We provide training for individuals, companies and public sector organisations.
  • Courses are delivered both at our training centre in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and at customers’ premises.
  • Merritts are RTITB accredited, which is the largest training body for lift truck accreditation in the UK www.rtitb.co.uk
  • We are also JAUPT approved, which means we can provide Periodic Training www.jaupt.org.uk


Click here to find out more about all the courses available with Merritt Training.


Other accreditations and qualifications:

We are also members of the RHA (Road Haulage Association) and the CPA (Construction Plant-Hire Association).  And because our work takes us all over the place we also keep up to date on qualifications through the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority).


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