Ballycastle man follows in his father's footsteps to launch new haulage firm

A BALLYCASTLE entrepreneur has followed in his father's footsteps by launching his own haulage company with a specialist truck-mounted crane hire service Mike Blake launched Bewlake Lift and Haul Ltd in June 2019 after spotting a gap in the UK and Irish markets for a haulage company to offer a combined crane and heavy transport solution using a single vehicle. The company now operates across Ireland and the UK, using Volvo FH tractor unit with an extendable platform trailer and crane - one of the largest of its kind in Northern Ireland.

The start-up has been backed by the Go For It Programme in association with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. The project is part funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund. Mr Blake said his company offers a range of lifting and transport solutions for everything from shipping containers and cabins, to boats and machinery.

"I'm an engineer by trade and worked offshore, all around the world, in the oil and gas industry for a number of years," he said. "But wanted to return home and follow in my father's footsteps by setting up a successful business in the road transport industry. "I grew up around trucks, so the haulage industry is in my blood.

My dad was in the trade for over 50 years and ran his own haulage company, and my grandfather operated commercial vehicles prior to the Second World War. "The road transport industry is a competitive marketplace, and I knew that if I was going to launch a successful business," added the managing director. "I needed to find a niche that I could exploit.

That's when I spotted a gap in the UK and Irish market for a combined crane and heavy transport solution using a single vehicle." He continued: "After completing my initial research, I knew I had a solid business idea that had the potential to be very successful. However, I needed a robust business plan and financial forecast to secure the necessary funds for the state-of-the-art Volvo FH tractor unit with extendable platform trailer and crane, which was pivotal to my business strategy.

"So, I got in touch with the Go For It Programme and my business advisor provided me with extensive support in drafting a business plan and doing a detailed two-year financial forecast. This allowed me to approach a reputable finance company and secure the necessary funds to purchase the vehicle. "The business has really taken off with commercial enterprises across the UK and Ireland recognising the cost and safety benefits of our tailored lifting and transportation services using a single specialised vehicle.

We have already expanded our client base into mainland Europe and are working to secure the finances to put an additional vehicle on the road to meet the demand of clients."

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