Monaghan-based international livestock transport company MD Workman Ltd is celebrated 10 years in business in 2013.
Established in 2003, MD Workman is run by husband-and-wife Malcolm and Hilary Workman from Drumhirk House on the outskirts of Monaghan town. The company offers an import and export service – specialising in pedigree stock – covering Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe. Small or part-loads are not a problem for this busy family-run concern. The Workman’s are also well-known breeders of pedigree sheep, cattle and poultry.
“The last 10 years have gone very well for us and here’s hoping the next 10 will be just as successful,” transport manager Hilary says.
“Malcolm, who hails from Cookstown in Co. Tyrone, had a wealth of experience in the transport industry, having driven for other companies before he set up this business. He still drives and is one of three full-time drivers working for us at the moment. Both of us come from farming backgrounds so we’ve been able to put that knowledge and experience to good use.”
MD Workman has established itself as the leader in its field by providing a service that has no equal in terms of reliability, value-for-money and excellence. The company’s state-of-the-art fleet can deliver livestock from the pastures of Ireland directly to any location in Europe and visa-versa in no time at all.
The immaculately turned-out Workman fleet, which includes a new Volvo FH500, are manned by professional, highly-skilled and trained drivers. The trailers are state-of-the-art, equipped with large access doors for ease of back loading. Each carriage is individually organised. All vehicles are satellite-tracked for security and accurate timing. McDonnell Commercials in Monaghan, who are main Volvo dealers, supply and service the Workman fleet.
While MD Workman has a major contract with Future Pigs in Nurney, Co. Kildare to transport pigs to the UK (two loads leave every Monday morning), the company is better known for the international transport service it provides for pedigree sheep and cattle breeders. This is a very specialised, personalised and highly-regulated service which is provided by only a handful of companies in Ireland.
“We work to order,” Hilary explains.
“Transporting pedigree stock is completely different to transporting pigs. We are breeders of pedigree sheep, cattle and poultry ourselves, so we understand the business. Because the breeders invest a lot of time and money in their stock, there is extra responsibility on us to make sure their cattle or sheep get the best possible treatment. We bring in Limousine cattle from France to the UK and Ireland and the bulls carried can cost up to €30,000, so there is a lot of money at stake.
“As you could imagine, animal welfare is a huge issue with us. We follow all the guidelines and regulations in this regard. Our purpose-built Pezzaioli trailers have automatic ventilation and automatic watering systems. They are cleaned thoroughly after every trip. We go out of our way to ensure each journey is as stress-free as possible for our livestock.”
As an approved Long-Distance Livestock Transporter, MD Workman has an extensive list of requirements to meet as Hilary explains: “Each journey has to be approved by the Department of Agriculture in the countries we are travelling in. Most loading has to be carried out under veterinary supervision. Having a GPS system on your trucks is another requirement for long-distance livestock transport. Under EU law, you have to be able to show rest stops and door openings. Our drivers also have to undergo livestock training.
“I spend a lot of time dealing with the needs of our clients. There is a huge amount of planning involved before every journey. Most of our business is done in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Holland and Denmark. Because we value their custom, we will do whatever it takes to cater for their needs.”
With the country’s new road infrastructure, MD Workman’s base is now closer to the major shipping ports. Larne is just over an hour away, while Rosslare can be reached in three hours.
“Anything destined for the UK goes through Larne into Cairnryan. Trucks destined for mainland Europe board the ferry in Rosslare for Cherbourg. Sometimes, our backloads from the UK contain general goods, including cars. But our work is almost entirely livestock-based.”
As already mentioned, the Workman’s breed their own pedigree sheep, cattle and poultry. They spend the summer season competing at agricultural shows at a national and local level. with great success. They have a flock of Kerry Hill ( Welsh breed) sheepand Rouge ( French breed) sheep and a herd of Simmental cattle. These are a versatile breed of cattle originating in the valley of the Simme River in the Bernese Oberland of western Switzerland. The Simmental has historically been used for dairy and beef, and as draught animals. The Workman’s also specialise in poultry and rare breed fowl.
Like all transport companies, MD Workman – whose livery is green and white – has been hit by increased costs and surcharges.
“We have suffered in the face of rising diesel and shipping costs. Also, road toll charges in parts of Europe are high, especially in France where most of our business is done or goes through,” Malcolm states.
In summary, MD Workman Ltd is able to offer an unrivalled service because of its knowledge and expertise in the livestock transportation industry. And customers can always be assured that their animals are transported with great care, guaranteeing a safe and comfortable journey.
MD Workman Ltd
Drumhirk House, Monaghan,
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 1 No 1, September 2013