Strangest company names in road haulage


What's in a name? looks at the stories behind some of the strangest names in haulage.

Ours is an industry with heritage. You only have to look through a list of general hauliers to see the strong family links that bind them, reflected back at you in their names – often a combination of ‘surname and son’ .

While the typical haulier doesn’t have the deep pockets available to create something on the scale of Yodel (the combination of the Home Delivery Network and DHL’s domestic B2C business in 2010), opting for something unconventional can certainly set you apart.

But it’s not a straightforward decision, as Nicola Peaty, director of marketing agency Vaughan Gordon and Associates, explains. “Choosing the right name for a company is a critical decision and can play a huge part in the success, or failure, of a business,” she says.

“You must think of your audience and what’s important to them. Would your customers prefer simple and memorable, or clever and sophisticated? Should you be descriptive or unique? The made-up name option requires more thought in terms of explaining the business, and may require a larger marketing budget to promote.

“And the Ronseal approach [ie, does what it says on the tin] tends to suit smaller businesses with smaller budgets, including those with family names.”

Peaty suggests brands with names that are short, easy to pronounce, spell, and remember perform best among customers in terms of forming a bond and building trust. Other practical considerations are whether the name you come up with will work once plastered over the side of a lorry and if it will likely stand the test of time. brings you the stories behind some of the more unusual names in the industry.

Buffaload Logistics

Ian Perks, business development director at Buffaload Logistics, which is part of the Buffaload group of companies and runs 33 vehicles, says: “When you tell people the name, it does raise a few eyebrows. We used to be known as Taylor Marketing (Ely), but we had a consultant come in to help with rebranding [in 2007]. It was a name that was confusing – and falls into that realm in the industry where everyone has the same kind of name. Buffaload was the strongest name that came out of the process. Now brand awareness is increasing.

“We recently invested in 12 newly  liveried double-deck trailers and that has helped us promote the brand. We run 33 units and trailers, moving predominantly Co-op products,” he adds.

In August the firm added 10  Buffaload-liveried Scania’s to its fleet and opened a cold-storage facility in Huntingdon. It also has operations in Avonmouth, Wigan and Ely.

Tomato Plant

MD Keith Williams was in a dull meeting at his former employer, doodling, when an award was given to a local company called Green Tomato Cars – a taxi firm that runs Toyota Prius models. “It was my lightning through the window moment,” says Williams, who was in the process of planning his new company, a plant moving specialist that took to the road in June 2011. Pausing only to ponder whether it was a fruit or vegetable, he registered the Tomato Plant name shortly after. “We had a lot of fun pulling together the artwork, and the name is memorable and an ice breaker, as people ask us what we do and it gives us an opportunity to start a conversation,” says Williams. SHAPE  \* MERGEFORMAT

These days the nine-strong vehicle business has Tomato Plant pens and stress-balls as part of its marketing, which has played its part in creating what is now a profitable company.

The downside? “People always ask me for advice on growing tomatoes,” says Williams, who can move a specialist load but is no gardener. 

Panther Logistics

Panther’s customers may believe the firm’s name was inspired by its speedy next-day delivery operation, but director Wilson Barrett concedes the original gem for the idea was rather prosaic. “My wife and I sat down and looked through animal books and we came up with the name. “There was a panther, so we decided to use that," he says.

When Barrett was creating a logo for the two-man delivery business, which started in 1989 and has expanded to offer distribution and warehousing services, he sketched a black cat with the Panther name in red. Art, it would appear, remains subject to interpretation. “We took it to a printer and we didn’t tell him what it was. He thought it was a Labrador.”

Despite all this, Barrett says his customers like the name and he believes it is distinctive in the market.

Goaty Trucking

MD Paul Godby says the firm’s unusual moniker was a misinterpretation of his surname, which led to the merchant haulier being called Goaty Trucking when he set it up in 2009.

“Someone once called me ‘Goaty’ instead of Godby and it has stuck. It is a funny name and tends to make us stand out,” says Godby.

Think those are bad/good? Here are even more unusual names in and around transport:

? Great Bear Distribution
? Biffa
? Big Pigeon Logistics
? Freight 2 the Point
? Cougar Couriers 
? Total Reefer
? Rocket Cargo
? Impatient Parcels
? Deliverance
? Military Movers
? Panic Transport
? Aardvark Hire