• R Swain & Sons
  • R Swain & Sons
  • R Swain & Sons
The Harlequin Logistics Philosophy

“The Five Points of Five-Star Collaborative Transport”

Harlequin Logistics is an exciting new venture, which challenges many of the tired assumptions found at the heart of UK contract logistics for the last generation.

Harlequin offers outstanding service at realistic prices, by harnessing the operational efforts of five like-minded, privately-owned hauliers into the UK’s only genuinely collaborative logistics business.

The business is owned by its founder and Managing Director Paul Smith, plus its five shareholder hauliers, all of whom take a seat on the board. It has a five-point philosophy at it’s heart.


Collaboration has become a buzz-word in 21st century logistics. Many companies claim a collaborative approach is now integral to their strategy, but for most, in practice, this is little more than tokenism.

By contrast, the ability to unify five competing hauliers behind one common goal, lies at the heart Harlequin’s central philosophy.

The truly national product this creates, means Harlequin’s shareholder hauliers collectively offer a strong, cohesive UK transport solution to the country’s biggest haulage users.

Cost Effective

Harlequin Logistics has been created during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. As a consequence, it is acutely aware of the need to provide cost-effective haulage solutions to the market.

The business must also ensure its haulier shareholders’ futures are not jeopardised by sub-market rates.

Harlequin’s focus is therefore on the elimination of waste. Its unique structure naturally encourages this, since its hand-selected alliance of complementary hauliers impacts positively on costly empty running.

On addition, rigorous control of central overhead allows Harlequin to offer solutions which typically cost between five and ten percent below than those offered by the global super corporations.

Carbon Reducing

Harlequin’s shareholder hauliers are all long-standing, privately-owned businesses, solidly established within the Motor Transport “Top 100.”

One of the key factors in maintaining this status is continuous investment in fleet, and as a consequence all 900 vehicles operated by the five Harlequin shareholder hauliers are under five years old, with the “cleanest” available engine technology.

The central tenet of Harlequin’s operating structure focuses on providing its five shareholder hauliers with traffic that fits with existing flows.

By harnessing these complementary regional strengths into a cohesive national product offering, Harlequin plays a tangible role in carbon reduction, through the minimisation of empty running.

Customer Friendly

Harlequin’s management are all experienced transport and logistics professionals, well-versed in the demands of servicing large-scale UK transport operations.

Through a single point of contact, Harlequin customers enjoy access to a wide range of management information as well as a comprehensive, system-driven administration structure.

Most importantly, the Harlequin team is accessible to its customers, not absorbed by the internal politics of a big business, or based in a head office elsewhere in the world.

Harlequin prides itself on its sensible, hands-on approach, which offers friendly-yet-professional service at affordable prices.


In creating Harlequin Logistics, Paul Smith has broken the mould of the contract logistics sector, to offer supply chain buyers a viable alternative to the tired, empty promises of the global super corporations.

Pre-recession, buyers often protected their career prospects by sticking with the logistics sector equivalent of “buying IBM.” But many now see phrases like “asset light transport,” “fourth party logistics” and “control tower operations” for what they truly are – smoke and mirrors.

Harlequin guarantees its customers that no less than 75% of their despatches will be handled by its five shareholder hauliers, managed by UK-based, seasoned transport professionals.

Harlequin is not reliant on sub-contracting work to cheap owner-operators, since its central overheads are low. It also has no requirement to “prop up” inefficient core fleet operations by exploiting small hauliers at the lower end of the market.