Gresham names five companies bought under Silk Logistics

By: Jason Whittaker


Private equity firm Gresham Partners has bought into the trucking industry after acquiring five family-owned transport and logistics businesses. After more

Private equity firm Gresham Partners has bought into the trucking industry after acquiring five family-owned transport and logistics businesses.

After more than a month of speculation, Gresham has confirmed the five companies to be brought under the umbrella of Silk Logistics. They are Melbourne-based companies Doolan’s Heavy Haulage and Hoffmann Transport, Bunker Freight Lines, Kagan Logistics and Western Australian operator WA Freight Group.

The five companies will continue to trade under their existing names, with Silk Logistics being the umbrella group. Former BP logistics chief Bob Welsh is the managing director of the company, which is currently based at Hoffmann’s premises at Tottenham in Victoria.

Silk has been operating since May 1, the day the deal involving the five companies was finalised.

Welsh tells ATN by combining the companies, existing and future customers will benefit from a more comprehensive service. He says Gresham sought to combine the operations of the five companies because of their strong reputation and sound financial situation.

Kagan offers warehousing and distribution services, while the WA Freight Group encompasses Jolly’s Transport, WA Freightlines and Jetsyle Express. Doolan’s has a range of truck configurations to cart heavy freight, while Bunker is one of Australia’s biggest line haul companies.

Silk will also be a major player in and around the Port of Melbourne, with Hoffmann Transport offering a complete service by way of its close proximity to the port and its ability to cart in excess of 4,000teu at any time. It also runs warehouse operations as well.

"Each of the five businesses are very successful in their own right," he says.

"So we are hoping we can provide greater and broader service offerings to an existing customer base."

Warwick Doolan, Managing Director of Doolan’s Heavy Haulage, says becoming part of Silk will help ensure his company continues to grow.

Welsh says his hope is to build and maintain a strong reputation so once new owners come on board they will have a highly successful business. It is not clear, however, how long Gresham intends on keeping Silk Logistics, with Welsh saying it is a "medium term investment".

Welsh says existing customers have expressed "tremendous support" for Silk Logistics. And in order to maintain this, the five companies will continue to be run by their existing management team and staff.
"We said to staff our intention is to grow this business," Welsh says.

To read ATN’s exclusive interview with Bob Welsh and Gresham’s plans for Silk Logistics, see the June edition of ATN. Click here to secure your copy

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