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The Loading & Unloading Specialists

01246 260981

Marking Our 40th Anniversary Milestone – The Thorworld Story

We’re delighted to be marking our 40th Anniversary this April, celebrating four complete decades since the Thorworld materials handling solution business was first launched. The company’s origins took hold in the early 1980s when our founder and Managing Director John Meale was presented with an opportunity to partner a UK arm of a family friend’s Canadian dockplates and dockboards business.

John could see the business concept’s potential immediately and together with his wife Geraldine, started ‘Thorweld Industries’, as the UK branch of the company was originally known. The couple unveiled the new enterprise at the ‘International Materials Handling Exhibition’ at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London in 1981 and John hasn’t looked back since.

Today as a much larger entity, we operate from a 17,000sq foot manufacturing and office facility with an additional 20,000sq feet of outside storage space in Chesterfield. Our company has grown to offer a comprehensive range of products including dock levellers, dock seals, alignment curbs, lightweight platforms, mobile ramps, traffic lights and dock bumpers.  We have also built a reputation for excellence in the design and creation of bespoke loading solutions and ramps for unique applications.

However, a key element of the Thorworld journey - and a factor we accredit to our longevity and success - has been the prominent federation positions John has held over the course of his career.

In 1983, he joined ALEM, the Association of Loading and Elevating Equipment, becoming president several times in the subsequent years.  Being a member of ALEM has also allowed the company to join the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF), again an organisation within which John has held presidential positions.

During his time as president of the BMHF, John attended the European Federation of Materials Handling (FEM) as a board member representing the UK, and in 2010 he was elected president of the FEM, which presented Thorworld as a major participator within the European materials handling industry, and he remained president of the FEM Product Group Elevating Equipment until January this year.

Being an integral part of these European organisations has ensured that Thorworld stays at the forefront of the industry and continues to harness its in-depth knowledge of the sector.

The experience we’ve developed has served us well. Based on the unprecedented events of the past year, we’ve understood more than ever the importance of being able to adapt and respond to changes within the industry. We have been fortunate that the sectors we serve have continued operating, providing a frontline service to many. However, our ability to continue throughout these months has been due to the commitment of our amazing team who together have enabled us to constantly stay one step ahead.

The realisation of Brexit has also meant uncertainty for many industries, leading Thorworld to look to the future, and once again demonstrate our ability to adapt to any circumstance.

Our recent launch of ‘Thorworld Materials Handling Ltd.’ has marked the latest such achievement, with the creation of a specific division capable of meeting all new requirements implemented by Brexit regulations so we can continue to fulfil the needs of our customers in mainland Europe.

From John commencing that early Canadian partnership, to the company becoming a leading authority in materials handling solutions and prominent FEM influence, the company has succeeded in setting itself apart as an industry forerunner, equipped to deal with the multitude of challenges the modern logistics sector affords for a further forty years. 

Published: 01/04/2021