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© Peter Fleming

Logistics tech platform Shift is to take over the Tuffnells brand, after the 109-year-old firm fell into administration this month threatening thousands of jobs.

Shift CEO Jacob Corlett confirmed he and the team had been in talks with Tuffnells and administrator Interpath to enable reopening of depots and re-employment opportunities for more than 2,000 laid-off staff.

Mr Corlett wrote on LinkedIn: “This acquisition marks another significant step in our journey to disrupt the logistics and delivery markets with our tech-driven solutions. I intend to get Tuffnells trading again as soon as possible.”

Shift’s rescue comes less than a fortnight after Interpath was appointed to deal with the collapse of the mixed freight and irregular dimension and weight express operator. Based in Sheffield, with 33 depots across the UK, Tuffnells served 4,000 customers in over 160 global destinations, but the impact of Covid, inflation and heightened competition left it struggling.

Sold in 2020 for £15m to turnaround investor Palm Bidco, Tuffnells held accounts from the likes of Evans Cycles, and Shift is keen to retrieve these clients if it is to save the workforce.

Interpath MD Rick Harrison said: “Tuffnells is one of the UK’s most recognisable logistics companies, providing delivery services under its ‘The Big Green Parcel Machine’ brand.”

“This transaction secures the future of one of the UK’s longest-standing, well-recognised courier brands, as well helping to facilitate an opportunity for the purchaser to generate a number of jobs.”

Shift’s Mr Corlett said the acquisition was about “significantly increasing our logistics coverage” across the UK, and added: “We’ve grown from helping customers move items bought online, to becoming a tech powerhouse that disrupts (and now saves) traditional logistics companies with our AI-driven routing decisions and driver management efficiency.”

Formed in 2017, Shift has contracts with household names like Homebase and Ikea. In April it bought Berlin-based Movinga, which Mr Corlett described as a “massive milestone”.

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