Freight Forwarding | Project Forwarding


Johnson Partners is proud to be working with PSTS

Johnson Partners is proud to be working with PSTS to facilitate trade between India and the UK.

PSTS is our preferred agent in India and we are dedicating significant resources to our joint venture, working together to develop our competitive offering to meet growing trading requirements between the two respective countries.

Established in 1940, PSTS is currently handling around eight million tons of cargo each year. The company provides a one stop service for all logistics requirements in India.  The company offers a range of port, road and rail, heavy equipment hire and in-plant logistics services to complete transfers.

Johnson Partners Launch New Website

Independent international freight forwarder Johnson Partners has unveiled its new brand with the launch of a new company website. 

The new site is designed to be more user-friendly with enhanced resources and functionality and is a result of talking to customers and gaining valuable feedback on their information requirements.  It seeks to educate customers on forwarding procedures and will provide timely updates on transport issues and topical industry developments.

Case studies demonstrate the capabilities and approach of Johnson Partners with interesting project examples.  Both the new brand and website have been developed to encompass the values of the family-run business and their launch coincides with the company’s 10thanniversary.

Johnson Partners targets more big business after celebrating 10th Anniversary

Johnson Partners, the Teesside based freight and project forwarder, has celebrated its 10th anniversary by completing one of its biggest international assignments to date, spread over three continents.

The contract involved handling and shipping two generators, each weighing 60 tonnes, and required bringing in specialist containers from Europe and engines that had been sourced in the USA for final assembly in the West Midlands, before shipping to China via Felixstowe.

Bernie Johnson, Managing Director of Johnson Partners, said: “This was the second shipment we have undertaken for the client on this scale and our selection is testament to the reputation that we have built up over the last ten years for coordinating projects and handling heavy, complex loads.”

Johnson Partners has assembled an impressive portfolio of industrial clients including MPI Offshore, LB Foster, Hird Rail and Darchem Engineering for whom they handle high value, sometimes awkward and out of gauge cargo.

Reflecting on the last 10 years, Bernie added: “Like a lot of businesses, we were hit quite hard by the most recent recession, but it did allow us to focus on what we do best – moving out of gauge cargo. Working with project managers we ensure that shipping is in their plans at the earliest opportunity and this avoids any unnecessary disruption or additional costs later down the line.”

Looking to the future, Bernie is handing over the day-to-day running of operations to his son Paul, who was recruited into the family business in its second year of operations. Together, they have grown the business by 50% over the last three years, establishing an international network of agents and providing a door to door service globally.

Paul Johnson, Director at Johnson Partners, added: “We know our market better than ever and are committed to providing something different over our larger competitors. By looking after all their shipping and forwarding requirements, we allow clients to focus on their core business. UK exports and manufacturing output are both predicted to continue to grow and with our reputation established oversees we’re well placed to grow big business."

Be prepared! The basics when insuring cargo

You wouldn't go on holiday without insurance … this principle should be the same when transporting goods overseas.

While freight forwarders do have their own insurance, this is a limited liability insurance. At Johnson Partners we operate under BIFA 2005 Standard Trading Conditions. Crucially, in the event of loss or damage to cargo, compensation is based on weight - which roughly works out at around £1870 per tonne*

We therefore recommend you take out an all-risks insurance policy when transporting goods to ensure your payout is relative to the value of the cargo … should the worst happen.

Our top tips to avoid an invalid claim:


One of the first things a surveyor will look at after a claim is made is whether the cargo was appropriately packed for transport. If it is deemed that packaging did not take into account the stresses and strains of being moved on the high seas, insurers may reject the claim. So make sure cargo is packed safely and securely.


We would strongly recommend that if you suspect your shipment is damaged – even if it’s only superficial damage to the outside packaging - you record the damage on the Proof of Delivery document and take photos of the damage to send to the insurer. Avoid unpacking the cargo as this could delay or invalidate a claim. Instead wait for the green light from your insurer before you proceed.


There are often time limits for notifying insurers after damage or loss of cargo, after which it can be very difficult or impossible to make a claim. It’s usually within 7 days of the damage or loss but it’s important to check your trading conditions.

Johnson Partners can help with all aspects of freight forwarding. Call a member of the team on 01642 240123 for more information.

* a rate of 2 SDR per kg (IMF Special Drawing Rights rate as of November 14, 2014)

Mackenzie Thorpe delivery and exhibition

Since transporting Mackenzie Thorpe's  ‘Shipping Together’ sculpture to Oklahoma, Johnson Partners have arranged several different kinds of shipments for Mackenzie and his team.

Fairly recently, we arranged a delivery to Box Galleries on Kings Road in Chelsea. This sculpture was collected from a Fine Art Foundry in Houston Texas and flown across the Atlantic to Heathrow Airport and then delivered on a small truck to navigate the tricky streets of London!

Whilst the artwork has travelled from two parts of the world that seem a million miles (figuratively speaking!) from Middlesbrough, both the inspiration and logistics were forged on the banks of the River Tees!

Following this delivery, we were recently invited to attend the opening of Mackenzie’s exhibition of The Station Posters at Middlesbrough’s Thirteen building. Having looked after a number of Mackenzie’s shipments over the year, it was a real honour to be invited and a treat to attend!

We’d been aware that Mackenzie had been invited to create a series of posters to be shown at Middlesbrough’s railway station. However, seeing the originals alongside the posters was amazing to see. It was fantastic to meet Mackenzie and speak to his wife Susan, and really intriguing to hear Mackenzie talk about his life and how the local industry in Middlesbrough has influenced him so much!

Event Season is Well Underway!

Johnson Partners have attended their first of many networking events this year. Event season kicked off with Venture Fest Tees Valley at Wynyard Hall!

Venture Fest was a busy day with workshops and keynotes that gave insight into how the Tees Valley region is innovating and adapting to change in the business environment. The speakers, which included Ben Houchen (Tees Valley Mayor), gave opinions, statistics and real life cases on how organisations in the region are adapting to change. It was demonstrated by speakers at the event  how the Tees Valley region is growing, with businesses in the region going from strength to strength.

A major talking point at the event included how we should all be proud of the Tees Valley area and that we should all be positive about the region. This is so that nationwide negative perceptions about the area are changed. If this is done then business in the Tees Valley will grow at an even faster rate!

Workshops included: How to Generate New ideas, How to Better your Business Using Digital, How to Make Your Organisation More Innovative and How to Commercialise New Products and Services. These were attended by Johnson Partners and they strengthened our knowledge in these areas. Speakers were experts in each of the workshop's fields so could provide first hand knowledge to everyone in attendance.

Overall Venture Fest Tees Valley was a great day and we would recommend  it to any organisation in the area looking to innovate and grow. It was great to meet like minded people from local organisations on the day and to get some new ideas from positive and inspiration people in the area.

Johnson Partners Helps Technology Business Expand Into Teesside

Recently Johnson Partners helped technology company, Tech Corner, expand their business into Teesside. Johnson Partners worked with their agent in China to ensure the delivery of new shop fittings was made successfully, with Johnson Partners taking control of the shipment as it came in to the UK. The shipment was shipped from China all the way to Tech Corner’s new store in the Parkway Centre, Coulby Newham.

The shop fittings included essential elements to be used in the store, such as signage and lighting. It was crucial that the fittings were not damaged as they were going to be used in the shop for all to see. Johnson Partners have built up a great relationship with many trusted agents around the world so can ensure reliable, timely deliveries around the globe.

Johnson Partners are passionate in helping the local economy grow and prosper, so when a business wants to expand into the Tees Valley Johnson Partners are always more than happy to help. It is their mission to grow as a business and help with the growth of the region by helping businesses wherever we can.

Johnson Partners can offer a wide range of transport services, whether it be by road, air or sea. The company also has over a decade of experience in project forwarding and handling abnormal loads so can assist any large-scale project a company may have. In perhaps Johnson Partners’ largest project to date, the company delivered equipment from Europe to China to build two new Jack Up Vessels for MPI Offshore. The Vessels would be used to install new offshore windfarms and were named Adventure and Discovery.

A Great Event Season For Johnson Partners

Johnson Partners have been very busy in attending many events across the North East. We have met a lot of people and hopefully started some thriving business relationships.

Event season kicked off with Venture Fest Tees Valley, this focused on business innovation within the area. Keynote speakers included Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, he explained how the region is growing. Secondly came the Teesside Business Show, which was held at the Riverside Stadium. The day was packed with seminars and organisations exhibiting at the event. We learnt a lot from the day and met great people.

Next up was the North-East Chamber Event ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’ at The Cleveland Tontine. This gave us the opportunity to do a 60 second presentation about the company to a room of people from a variety of sectors. The aim was to raise the profile of Johnson Partners throughout the presentation and with some networking before and after the event.

Durham Oktoberfest came next for Johnson Partners. This event specialises in the engineering and manufacturing sector, so it is a particularly important event for us to attend. We talked to many organisations and have hopefully started many working relationships with some of the manufacturing and engineering companies that attended the event.

The day after Oktoberfest came a NECC Local event, hosted by Turtle Bay. It was a breakfast networking event for businesses in Middlesbrough. We had a good chat with many Middlesbrough based companies and met some great people. It was interesting to see how many exciting businesses are just on the door step of Johnson Partners.

The penultimate event Johnson Partners attended this autumn was the popular North-East Expo, this was held at the Newcastle Falcons Rugby Stadium. It was a similar set up to the Teesside Business Show, with plenty of seminars and exhibitors at the event.

The final networking event of the year included another NECC Event, this time it was the ‘Chamber Exchange’ at the prestigious Acklam Hall. This was a formal roundtable networking event, in which we had to share a business success and challenge with the people on the table. It was a great experience to learn how other local firms face and tackle similar challenges in business.

In addition to the above networking and exhibition events Johnson Partners have been attending STDC Events, which unveiled the brand-new Tees Valley Master Plan. Johnson Partners wants to keep up to date and be informed with this exciting proposal, which will include the regeneration of the derelict sites on the south of the River Tees. This is because it is an exciting plan in the area which could result in new opportunities for Johnson Partners.

Johnson Partners Helps Local School Upgrade Technology in Crowd Funding Campaign

Johnson Partners has once again shown that the company is committed to the local community by recently funding local primary school, St Gabriel's Catholic Voluntary Primary Academy, in their bid to upgrade dated technology. The technology is vital for the school as it will make learning fun for pupils, helping them feel engaged in subjects they may normally be less interested in!

The technology proposed for the campaign included: iPod Touches, Virtual Reality Goggles, Controllers for the VR goggles and Charging Stations. Not only will these pieces of technology make learning more fun and engaging for pupils, but it also gives a chance for the school to offer the children experiences that may not be available at home.

The campaign was incredibly successful achieving a total of £2501 from 62 donors. This has smashed the original target of £1375. This means even more of the latest technology will be made available for the children at St Gabriel’s. For more details of the campaign please visit the crowdfunding page:

6 Tips for First Time International Shippers!

1. Make sure your cargo is fully covered by insurance.

We at Johnson Partners strongly recommend that you take out a all risk policy when shipping internationally. This ensures the pay-out is the same as the value of the cargo. Johnson Partners can offer an all-risk insurance policy.

2. Make sure you have facilities to unload your cargo.

It is the shipper’s full responsibility to unload the cargo from the container. So, any fork lift trucks or any extra personnel needed to unload the cargo must be sorted out prior to the delivery being made. If you don’t have facilities you may need to ask for a tail lift delivery.

3. Be aware of extra charges that can occur when shipping internationally.

The basic set of charges for the shipment will be shown prior to the shipment, however extra charges can occur as the shipment goes on as indicated below.

Some of the main charges that can occur when shipping include:

  • Container Demurrage: This is the cost of storing a container at a quay. This can happen when there is a delay caused by your shipment.
  • X- Ray: This is the cost of a container getting scanned by the UK Border Agency. This is likely to happen on a first-time shipment.
  • Trailer Demurrage: It is normal to get 2 or 3 hours free offloading time. After this free time charges will occur. This is why it is crucial to have the facilities to be able to offload the cargo.

4. Make sure to have the right information in place for your shipment. For example….

  • When is the cargo ready to ship?
  • Supplier contact details
  • Who will load the container?
  • Packing list containing dimensions and weight of the cargo
  • Commercial invoice containing cost of items, for customs purposes
  • Which address are you delivering to and is there sufficient offloading facilities at the site?

5. Commodity Codes

It is necessary to have the commodity codes of the products you plan to ship. To find the correct code for your cargo please visit: For importing/ exporting from countries outside the EU an EORI number will be needed. Information on how to acquire an EORI number can be found here: .

6. Professionally pack cargo.

While in transit containers can be subject to rough conditions, if cargo is packed correctly this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if cargo hasn’t been packed with care its possible that cargo can be damaged. Johnson Partners can assist with professionally packing cargo.

5 Tips For Good Exporters

Whether you are new to exporting or you just want some advice based on our experience gained in Freight Forwarding, we hope you find these 5 tips for 'Good Exporters' useful!

  • Make sure you understand under what Incoterms your customer wants to purchase the goods from you. There are subtle but important differences between for example: FCA & FOB, CFR & CIF and DAP & DDP. We can advise you on any queries you have with Incoterms
  • Make sure you send over any invoice / packing list as soon as you can for exports out of the EU. If your cargo has already collected and the paperwork hasn't been completed and submitted, then this could potentially delay the customs clearance procedure
  • Make sure that you have correct details for the final destination. Sometimes your contact may be based in an office away from the delivery point or a reference may be required
  • Make sure you check any paperwork such as bills of lading for inaccuracies. Delays can sometimes occur on shipments where invoices are different from the bills of lading when it gets to the destination port
  • Do you know if you have all-risks insurance? We operate under BIFA 2017 Terms and Conditions which limit our liability under the event of loss or damage. If you do not have this in place we can offer this to you on a one-off basis

Manufacturing: a key driver for UK exports

Earlier this month, the EEF association cut its forecast for factory output growth in 2014 to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent following a quarterly survey of its members. This, however, would still represent the sector's fastest expansion since 2010 as SMEs are encouraged to export and seize opportunities to explore new markets.

Latest figures state that 85% of UK exports are manufactured products with the largest markets in the US and Europe. The UK Government has called for UK companies to double export to India over the next two years and with 1,000 Indian companies in the UK their investment here is more than in the rest of Europe combined.

Given the high value of products being exported with transport equipment, chemical products, machinery and equipment leading the way then getting started in the world of exporting can be daunting. Johnson Partners works with preferred agents across the world on behalf of clients moving standard and out of gauge cargo efficiently and safely.

Look through some of our recent projects.

Delivering for industry for over 10 years

As Johnson Partners celebrates its 10th anniversary, Managing Director, Bernie Johnson, reflects on the last 10 years in business.

After spending a large part of my career working for large forwarding organisations, I started the company in 2004 with two full time employees (and no clients). I knew that we could not compete with volume shippers but passionately believed that we could offer something different – namely, a more personal service to clients.

Up until 2008 the company grew steadily and had seven employees before the recession hit and we were forced to take a step back. Nevertheless we regrouped and secured the first big project for two vessels being built by MPI Offshore in China. This would prove to play a big role in the next three years as we were successful in being appointed as the sole project forwarder.

In 2011, a highlight proved to be our role in managing suppliers and shipping for over 40 shipments (in French) for a power plant in Madagascar. We also moved into the rail sector, working with Progress Rail in the USA and this continues to be a key sector for us.

Up until this point, most of our business had come from my own contacts that knew and trusted us to do a good job for them (which we did). With ambitions to grow further we needed to find new clients and moved Beki Blenkinsop into a sales development role. In the first month she brought in her first new customers and made a contribution of around 10% of sales for the month, so it was an easy decision to continue this approach.

Over the last two years we have brought over 100 new clients on board. We have updated our operating procedures and systems, and recently undertook a review of the company image which led to a rebrand and new company website. Johnson Partners is sitting on firm foundations but we know we cannot rest on our laurels and must continue to improve the way we do business.

As I come to the end of my career and I step back from full time day to day operations I have total faith in Paul and the team to take the business further. Our ethos remains as it has always been: we never say no to a challenge and we provide competitive, personal service.

Thank you for your support.

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