Essential Business

Garland and BPCC celebrate 110 years partnership

 In Chambers of Commerce, News, Trade

The British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (BPCC) and Anglo-Portuguese international shipping, transport and logistics group Garland is celebrating a 110-year partnership this year.

At the same time Garland is also celebrating its 245th anniversary. Founded in 1776, Garland is one of the oldest shipping companies in the world.
Trading relations between Portugal and the United Kingdom go back centuries and the history of Garland is a part of that centuries-old relationship.
The company was founded by trader Thomas Garland in 1776 as a Portuguese company, but never lost its link with the Great Britain, the country of its founder and successors.
The fact that both Portugal and Great Britain enjoyed the oldest alliance in the world (1386) meant that Britain and Garland had a very commercially advantageous trading relationship which back then in the 18th and 19th centuries was in Great Britain’s favour, but today is very much in Portugal’s favour, with a positive balance of €1.526Bn in 2019.
The BPCC has made a huge contribution towards this success and in fact Garland is one of the few founding members of the chamber of commerce that is still in business today, having been involved in its creation 110 years ago.
According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), goods sold to the British include vehicles and other transport material (21.5%9, machines and devices (17.5%), common metals (7.6%), clothing (6.9%) and food products (6.5%).
On the other hand, imports from the UK include machines and devices (23.4%), chemical products (21.1%), vehicles and other transport material (9.8%), common metals (8.9%) and combustible minerals (8.2%).
The BPCC has worked hard to deepen the commercial relationship between the two countries and today has around 400 members — companies from the two countries that operate or want to operate in or from the United Kingdom and Portugal – encouraging networking and conducting business between the two countries.
Despite being a Portuguese company, Garland has always maintained a deep institutional and trading relationship with the United Kingdom, the country of origin of successive generations of the Garland family which ran the firm between 1776 and 1850, and the Dawson family since then which is already in its fourth and fifth generations at the rudder of the firm.
In 1855, Garland became the shipping agent in Portugal for various shipping companies based in Liverpool. The relationship with some of them continued on for more than 100 years and was based on a one-page manuscript with just five lines of writing signed by all of the operators of what was at that time the main shipping port for the whole of Europe.
Throughout its long history Garland was also the Portuguese representative of various British companies and brands from insurance and security to alcoholic drinks. In the drawing up all of these contracts the company had the support of the BPCC.
Today, Garland provides regular services between its logistics centres in Cascais and Maia from and to Maldon (Essex) for the London area, Hinckley (South-Centre of the UK), Cannock (Birmingham), Bradford and Manchester (North) for the transport of national exports and imports.
Three months after Brexit, Garland has seen the movement of goods between Portugal and the United Kingdom stabilise, although there are still some teething problems regarding the transportation of goods which require more documentation such as food stuffs, alcoholic drinks and car parts.
In order to accompany the new realities of the international trading relationship with the UK and support its customers, Garland created a department of documentation and dispatches.
On British soil the company has a broker specialised in electronic systems that are compatible with UK customs and dispatching goods to Portugal. All of the areas have warehouses approved by both the Portuguese and British customs authorities without which it would be difficult to consolidate cargo destined for export and import.
Peter Dawson, President of the Garland Group said, “We are enormously proud to be part of this partnership with the BPCC and the combined 355 years of history in which the two entities have done so much to contribute to strengthening the bi-lateral trade links between Portugal and the United Kingdom.
“The BPCC and Garland has succeeded in adapting over the centuries to the needs of the market and economic conditions, creating an well of experience and anchor of stability that ensures the quality and competitiveness of the services that it offers,” he concluded.


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