1919. The year the Treaty of Versailles was signed, Nancy Astor took a seat in the House of Commons – the first woman to ever do so, and the year the Women’s Engineering Society was founded.
For those reasons, it was an incredible year, but there’s another; it’s the year that the shipping and inspection services, that would later fall under PD Ports’ provision, were first offered.
The shipping and inspection services were first provided under General Freight Co Ltd, and were established as part of, and to provide services for, what was to become the Unilever Group. The company quickly became highly specialised, forming a wide network of experience in a niche market area, namely working with vegetable oils and cereal products.
PD Ports took over the provision of the services in 2003 following a series of changes in ownership, but this has never stopped the services from thriving.
The centenary was celebrated on Friday, December 6th with an event for all current and former staff, plus special guests, who heard a history of the company and speeches from senior members of the PD Ports team before being honoured with a special centenary gift from the company.
The general manager of Shipping and Inspection Services, Stephen Dabbs, who has worked with the firm for ten years, was proud to be able to mark this special anniversary during his tenure. He said: “As a company we aim to provide a specialist service in a niche area, but only the way we do that has enabled us to keep this wonderful business going for such a long time.
“We are always looking to adapt and grow as the market moves and changes, but customers are constantly at the heart of what we do.
“By addressing the needs of our customers and being flexible, we are able to develop with them – as without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer these services. We’re ever thankful for the relationships we have with everyone we work with which we always try to build and sustain.”
While the company has changed names and moved offices over time, the shipping and inspection offices in Erith remain the only site not to have relocated during the past century.
With advancing technology and the industry developing at a rapid rate we don’t know what the future holds, but we can’t wait to find out over the next 100 years.
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