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Monday, September 12, 2011
Bob Paul reminisced ‘who could imagine that when Mike Woodman and I took out first precarious steps as lorry drivers in 1964, we would be the ones responsible for opening the gates and allowing thousands of trucks to follow us across Europe and into the Middle East’. The biggest phenomenon in the road haulage industry: ‘the Middle East run’ was started by these two friends with a company called Asian Transport.
To many of us, long-distance trucking conjures up ‘romantic images of big shiny rigs cruising along sunny open highways’. Maybe more so today as new roads are constantly being constructed but in those early years the intrepid few who struggled against all odds knew they’d achieved something special through sheer determination to deliver their cargo across two continents in what was effectively a ‘tin can with an engine on wheels’.
In the 1960s when Bob and Mike decided to tackle their new pioneering continental journey to Kabul, Afghanistan, many people in the road transport industry laughed at them. At that time both were practising and studying medicine, so what made the two entrepreneurs set aside all the road haulage experts’ better judgement and advice to undertake this colossal challenge?
They negotiated with numerous exporting companies extolling the virtues of overland haulage rather than the traditional method of shipping containers. Woodman knew the hazards of sending goods by container. He was also aware that customers wanted to see their products arrive as economically, quickly and safely as possible. Woodman invested his life savings in a second-hand 1962 Guy Warrior tractor unit, and he borrowed a trailer.
In those days there was no such thing as an HGV licence, and since neither of them had even driven a truck before, would they have the expertise to drive 5,000 miles through unknown terrain including the notorious Kyber Pass?
After 45 years of being involved in overland transport to the Middle East, the fledgling company Asian Transport has evolved into a thriving and very healthy freight forwarding business of today that is Astran Cargo Services Ltd.
Middle East Freight Terminal, 519 New Hythe Lane, Larkfield, MAIDSTONE, Kent ME20 6SB, England.
Telephone: +44 (0) 1622 716441 / Fax: +44 (0) 1622 791854 - Email: email@example.com