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Keeping it private

Jan 06, 2019
An interview with Graham Bell of Transworld in New Zealand, by Steve Jordan

Transworld TeamGraham Bell started Transworld in New Zealand in 1994.  After working for many years in the industry it was one of those opportunist moments when what he was looking for was not what was on offer, so he had little choice but to start something new.

Twenty-four years ago Graham moved from Wellington to Auckland with little more than a car, a cell phone and a quiet confidence that he could make a new business work.  Competition was tough in those days with many small companies that all started at around the same time jostling for market share.  All were focussing on the migrant work that flowed between New Zealand and the UK, and the traditional trade with Australia. 

“For the first 10 years we did really well,” said Graham.  “But it did plateau to some extent after the global financial crisis.  Since then the moving business in New Zealand has been much harder.”  That said, Graham said the migrant market inbound has been massive in the last few years, predominantly with people returning from Australia.  “The Australia business is three or four times bigger than the UK.”

The company has since expanded from Auckland (its FIDI office) into Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch, enabling it to provide New Zealand-wide services. Graham currently serves as chairman of FIDI New Zealand.

Transworld has always been in the international business and Graham prefers private work to corporate as he believes the margins nowadays are better and he doesn’t have to wait to get paid.  That said, the company is broadening its position in the corporate market.

Recently Graham took on a high-profile new recruit: Errol Gardiner.  Errol is highly experienced in the industry having run his own company, New Zealand Van Lines, for many years and serving a term as FIDI president.   Errol will be representing the company on the conference circuit and will be attending FIDI in Amsterdam in April 2019.

Photo:  The Transworld team pictured at a long service celebration for Auckland Brand Manager, Vicki Hockey

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