Orchid Transport

Orchid case study

This case study can be downloaded by clicking here, alternatively you can scrolll down to read more. 

LCFD project companies:


Who benefited from the Low Carbon Freight Dividend, and how? This is one of a series of case studies that goes ‘behind the scenes’ to find out how the project is working for participating SMEs.
Here, Oliver Howard, manager of Orchid Transport Services’ Felixstowe office explains his enthusiasm for the project and why he got involved. We would like to thank him for his input.  The views expressed in our case studies are always those of the managers/companies interviewed and not necessarily those of the project team, the Haven Gateway or ERDF.
Tell me about your company:

Orchid Transport Services is a transport management company specialising in container transport and distribution. Our headquarters is in Kenilworth and we have divisional offices at Felixstowe and Leeds. Orchid was launched in 1988 by Phil Plowman and Mike Wigley, who both had many years’ experience in the transport industry. Our third director, who joined the company early on, is Paul Nethercot.

Do companies really want to be green?

To be brutally honest, this industry is based on price and service. We would all like to be greener, but it has to be in a profitable manner. As far as our clients are concerned, a green solution would be a ‘nice to have’ but it would have to go hand in hand with price and service.

What attracted you to the Low Carbon Freight Dividend?

When we received the literature about the project, we realised this was a really good opportunity for us. Of course it’s great to bring in some additional revenue through the dividend, but there is another aspect; it gives us the opportunity to quote on some specific types of work that we might not have been able to quote for by rail before. In creating new supply chain and transport solutions, you have to look at the longer picture – and the Low Carbon Freight Dividend certainly helps in that.

Progress so far?

We haven’t used the Low Carbon Freight Dividend for one specific line of traffic – but there will be multiple claims for some customers, with some ad hoc. Initially we signed up expecting to make 90 claims and, of course, the limit has since risen. From our point of view, it is fantastic that the maximum number of containers eligible for the dividend has been increased. Again, this enables us to take a longer-term view.

We have become really familiar with the process now and I will use a quiet period to send through our claims. It is easy and straightforward. I have also been to the workshops.

Project statistics
  • Number of containers moved to date: 954
  • Grant received to date: £69,950
How many containers do you hope to move with the support of the Low Carbon Freight Dividend?

Over the period of the project, we certainly expect to achieve the maximum amount of claims. The scheme has been very good for us and the LCFD team have helped me a great deal.

Are you getting a lot of interest from clients and potential clients?

Well, it can be hard convincing customers to try rail – many of them seem to think it is less reliable! But generally most customers want the best price and service you can give, and the LCFD gives us the opportunity to find out, and demonstrate, how rail can fit into that. 

Your views?

I know the LCFD team sometimes finds it difficult to give the money away – and I find that difficult to understand. They have to work hard to convince people to take free money. Perhaps people fear it will all be a lot more involved than it is. Perhaps it is because people just don’t believe it; when something sounds too good to be true, it frequently is!  All I can say is, the Low Carbon Freight Dividend project has been really good for us, particularly through the challenging trading conditions of the past couple of years.



 Total carbon savings


 East of England carbon savings