Shipping group singled out for top business honour

A Tipton company has finally been able to receive its Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the highest accolade for businesses in the UK.

John Crabtree, the Lord lieutenant of the West Midlands, celebrates with the team from KMB Shipping
John Crabtree, the Lord lieutenant of the West Midlands, celebrates with the team from KMB Shipping

KMB Shipping Group was announced in April as a winner in the international trade category for its achievement in increasing overseas sales by 708 per cent from £139,000 to £1.1 million over the last six years.

The Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree, was finally able to visit the company at Castlemill, Burnt Tree, to make the presentation after plans for the presentation were delayed by the ongoing pandemic.

KMB were the only winners of a Queen’s Award from the Black Country this year and Mr Crabtree urged more businesses from the region to apply for the 2022 awards.

John Crabtree with Paul Hull

He said KMB was doing a lot to meet his two aims for promoting business in the West Midlands through wealth creation and social inclusion.

KMB, established in 1987, specialises in freight forwarding and also offers import and packing services to its customers. Its key markets include the United States, Ireland and Italy and in recent years it has been winning businesses in more countries including Spain and Kenya,

Mr Crabtree said 85 per cent of award winners saw tangible benefits from winning a Queen's Award.

KMB has been on the second floor of Biz Hub at Castlemill for the last six years and the business was previously based in Oldbury.

Paul Hull, one of three directors, said the business had been a "a bit of a journey"over its 33 years trading.

John Crabtree

He and fellow directors and joint owners Kevin Jones and Jamie Warren all started with the business from school and had learned everything working for KMB.

"We have had some tough times over the years," he said.

"We have an outstanding, dedicated team and it is down to the whole team that we won the award.

"We look forward now to taking this business to the next level and in banging the drum for Sandwell and Dudley," said Mr Hull, who is a Sandwell Business Ambassador

Black Country Chamber of Commerce chief executive Corin Crane said it had been a fantastic achievement.

"It is incredibly hard work to get a Queen's Award and is a testament to the enthusiasm and expertise this company has. It is down to the small team that joined KMB from school and has worked together," he said.

Lord Mike Whitby, chairman of the Made In Group, also paid tribute to KMB's achievement.

"The Government is striving to achieve £1 trillion in exports a year. This company is instrumental in leading all the engineering companies in this region that want to export to do it competitively.

"It is a joy to see a Black Country company getting this award," he said.

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