Agility moves 2000 British service personnel in 12 weeks

Dec 16 | 2015

At the end of June 2015, after 18 months of planning, Agility GRMS embarked on a record breaking challenge

Agility won a contract to Move 3500 families from Germany back to the UK for the British Army, 2000 of which would fall within the 12 week summer period, which was a daunting task to say the least by any standards. Agility called the project B15.  

Lack of truck availability in the summer meant that Agility GRMS decided to go with a plan of containers running between both countries and teams of packers stationed in Germany for the 12-week period, working in specific areas or moving around as needs changed.  Some of the crews were away from home for four months solid, as were the operations team set up by Agility GRMS with offices in each region and a head office in Bielefeld with Army HQ.  

Agility led the operation with guidance and experience which meant acute, solid planning, preparation, and risk analysis to avoid any problems along the way.  This created a smooth and astonishingly well run operation from start to finish. “We had already planned to use Rotterdam not Calais as of course the French do like a strike during the summer and this year was no exception,” said Simon Kirby, Director, Agility DGS. “Operation stack would have killed the B15 contract stone dead so in hindsight it is all about covering all bases and making sure no eventuality escapes the risk register.”  

This drive to leave no stone unturned began two years prior when GRMS warned the MoD that there was a tsunami of work coming their way in a very tight timeframe.  It was not to be ‘business as usual’ and the circumstances required particular and precise planning and treatment, pre ordering and the MoD green light as soon as possible.  

Every single shipment was fully export packed before being loaded into 45’ containers and transported to a variety of destinations mainly in England and Scotland, Wales.  Nearly 200 packers were housed in military accommodation during the critical move window which expired at the end of September. Agility, aided by some if its suppliers on the GRMS contract, completed all the moves on time with less than 0.1% complaints.  

The Agility GRMS model has been proved to be an outstanding and unparalleled quality control success over the last five years and continues to deliver the best possible service to people of the British military.  

Contract statistics 

  • 350 containers in just one busy week 
  • Up to 55 containers delivered in a day

  • A convoy of the containers used in B15 would have seen the first reach the summit of Mount Everest and return to sea level before the last started its ascent…. 

  • The RAF’s aircraft, the Hercules, would have had to undertake 482 flights, full to capacity, to move the volume of the B15 project 

  • 63936 m3 moved 

  • 2,257,902 cu ft 

  • 14,928 m3 (527,194 cu ft) in just one week 

  • 14.6 million lbs moved on this project - equal to the weight of 2,500 Rolls Royce cars. 

  • 3.42 million lbs in the biggest week. 

  • If each item moved had its own seat, the Twickenham rugby stadium would have been filled three times. 

  • Of the 2500 moves completed, fewer than 25 complaints of loss, delay or damage were recorded.  

  • Next year’s effort will be called ‘Bravo-one-six’ 


Photo: Michael Jennings from Agility presents Sergeant Amanda Morris and family with champagne as they prepare to move back to Stafford, with their Unit Welfare Officer, Captain Nowosielski (far left).