Logistics trio form new alliance to jointly buy freight software business

Brian Hay

Salford-based logistics group Cardinal Partnership has formed a joint venture with two other North West-based freight forwarding businesses to buy freight software company Forward Computers.

The joint venture is called Forward Computers Alliance Limited and is the vehicle through which the three leading independent freight forwarding and supply chain management companies now jointly own Forward Computers Limited, which trades as Forward Solutions.

Both the Cardinal Partnership and Wythenshawe-based Woodland Group are long-standing clients of Forward Computers, and have been investing and building their own digital logistics software in-house.

The third member of the alliance is Davies Turner, based in Stretford, has been assessing the freight software company’s products as part of an exercise aimed at enhancing its existing freight management systems that have been developed in-house to date.

Freight Software Group acquired Forward Computers Ltd in 2019, with its products rebranded to trade under the Forward Solutions name in 2021, and will continue to own BoxTop Technologies.

Brian Hay, chief executive of the Cardinal Partnership said: “We welcome this opportunity to acquire one of the UK’s foremost suppliers of software to the freight transport sector.

“With hundreds of years’ collective experience in providing multimodal solutions across air, sea, road, and rail freight, the three partners understand how the industry is evolving, and how freight management software needs to evolve alongside to offer a range of processes and systems that deliver success.

“As co-owners, we look forward to supporting Forward Computers in further developing its range of software solutions that help its clients adapt to an ever-changing landscape. 

“Those clients, many of which have business relations with the joint venture’s three owners already, can rest assured that Forward Computers trading under the Forward Solutions brand, will continue to be run as a completely independent business, with client confidentiality assured.”

Last year Hay engineered the transition of Cardinal Global Logistics to an employee-owned trust, claiming at the time it was was the largest company of its kind in the world.

Launched in Eccles in 1998 with a £15,000 business loan, Cardinal is an international firm with more than 40 offices, 6,000 clients and revenues exceeding £500m.