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Making it happen!

In the dynamic world of event logistics, where precision and reliability are paramount, KB Event Ltd stands out as a trailblazer. Over the past three decades the trucking solutions provider has developed a stellar reputation, a devoted client base and a diverse portfolio that includes blue-chip and high-profile global events.

What seems to set KB apart is its proactive and can-do approach to event logistics. For KB, it’s not merely about moving goods; it's about crafting bespoke solutions that cater to the unique needs of each client.

Whether it's on-site management or full logistics packages, KB’s ethos is to ensure every event is a resounding success, says CEO and Founder Stuart McPherson: “Our aim was always to be different; to provide a service that simply wasn’t available through any of our competitors. We set out to offer clients a logistics service that looked at the transport requirements of their project - whether that be a one-van show or a multi truck tour - and come up with the most effective way of fulfilling those requirements whilst maintaining quality of service.”

After five years of exponential growth, KB took a big leap by expanding into air and sea freight services in 1997, transforming into a comprehensive one-stop-shop for global events. This diversification allowed KB to facilitate events across borders, providing a seamless experience for clients worldwide. From music events to conferences and opera to festivals and government events, KB now offers trucking solutions for every occasion.

Today KB operates 130 trucks and has more than 200 drivers on its books. But it doesn't stop there; the company's commitment to excellence extends to a dedicated team of managers and on-site specialist teams. These experts collaborate closely with production crew and tour personnel to oversee every facet of a project's logistics, from inception to fruition.

KB’s Managing Director Richard Burnett, the former CEO of the Road Haulage Association, explains: “Our experience of trucking music events is vast, from festivals and concerts to operas and worldwide stadium tours. “All our music drivers are industry specialists, experienced at handling backline and production equipment. They have the ‘team player’ skills required in the production environment and understand the ultimate goal is to ensure the show happens.

“Our drivers can be trained with show-specific skills, to operate exhibition units or work as part of the team. Each driver will be dedicated to an event, a conference or exhibition for example, for the whole duration of the project. If the show involves several vehicles or is spread over a longer time period, with breaks, we can train a core of show-specialist drivers to ensure cover at all times.”

KB’s pre-show scheduling service will cover all the necessary destinations using the most time-effective route, which saves client’s money by keeping production hire periods to a minimum. Clients can monitor their vehicles down to street-map level using a satellite tracking system, accessed via a password-protected secure website. This careful scheduling ensures that empty journeys are kept to an absolute minimum – a further cost saving for KB’s clients – and that KB are operating in the most environmentally friendly way possible. KB also offers compound parking and warehousing for safe secure storage of any set or production elements in between events; maintenance, refurbishment and pre-build areas are also available as required. And for those that wish to make an extra impact; trucks and trailers can be liveried for any event.

In addition to its bank of highly trained drivers, KB has long term relationships with experienced event production personnel and will often draft in specialist freelancers to join the on-site driving teams to facilitate some of the larger, managed logistics shows. Burnett explains: “For events like COP26, our CEO and a team of 20 were on site for three months prior to the arrival of the delegates, running the master delivery schedule, managing the remote search site alongside the police, and overseeing and co-ordinating the timely deliveries of all the event elements to site.”

Offering a seamless global trucking service is not without its challenges. Following Brexit, KB had to negotiate further regulatory hurdles, and particularly new cabotage rules. Under EU regulations, which now apply to Britain as a ‘third country’, vehicles are restricted to making only three stops within EU countries before having to return to the UK. KB tackled this challenge by establishing a subsidiary, KB Event Trucking Ltd, in the Republic of Ireland and subsequently registered most its lorries there.

Nevertheless, this new arrangement incurred increased costs. The drivers operating the lorries now registered under the EU banner are required to pass the EU's CPC test, as the UK's driver qualifications are no longer recognised by Brussels. These EU tests entail a five-day process that must be conducted in Ireland. The cost of ensuring that all 200 of KB's UK drivers meet these qualifications cost more than £200,000.

Establishing the subsidiary in the ROI was a pivotal moment for the business, says McPherson: “Brexit was undoubtedly an additional hurdle after the horror of the Covid pandemic, and the costs associated with setting up our EU company so that we could offer our client base the same service as the one being offered prior to Brexit, couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“There was little understanding of the revenue our industry brings into the UK and little sympathy for the challenges we faced as event hauliers, coming out of an industry-crippling pandemic and facing new legislation. But our options were limited. We either set up in the EU and ran the new company alongside the UK operation, or we shut-up shop.

“Richard Burnett and I were instrumental in the reverse easement solution, which ultimately became dual registration for event hauliers. Although I still hear suggestions, almost two years down the line, of hauliers chancing it and not running according to the new cabotage laws, the financial penalties for doing so are enormous, not to mention the damage to reputation and, of course, the dire knock-on consequences to the show they are putting at risk.

“Integrity is at the heart of KB’s ethos,” McPherson continues, “and although the new cabotage rules mean extra costs, changes to how we schedule and, sadly [due to the requirement for touring trucks to return to base], empty miles – which completely contradicts our commitment to sustainability – maintaining exceptionally high standards is what sets us apart. And legality of operations is just one of those standards.”

Unavoidable ‘empty miles’ aside, KB’s commitment to sustainability remains steadfast. In 2008, the company became the first event haulier to receive an environmental standards accreditation and since that time, environmental issues have remained one of the key considerations in its modes of operation. The company was also a pioneer in adopting non-palm oil HVO biofuel in 2018, significantly reducing its carbon footprint. Although this alternative is more expensive than traditional diesel, since rolling out the HVO biofuel to its client base, KB has seen a growing increase in those choosing it as a more responsible way to fulfil their event. Some notable examples include the Google Mobile World Congress, World Economic Forum Davos, COP 26 Glasgow, Cannes Lions, and tours for acclaimed artists such as Bring Me the Horizon, Enter Shikari and Yung Blud.

McPherson highlights some of the latest sustainability accolades and achievements it recently earned, including being awarded IQ Magazine’s Green Guards status, which officially recognises ‘the eco-warriors and innovators striving to make the live entertainment industry more sustainable’: “In February this year, on the evening we won Favourite Trucking Company at the TPI awards, we were also the only event haulier to be nominated for their Green Award.

“Richard [Burnett] was on the panel at GE15 earlier this year, and we are sponsoring the event in 2024.

“In addition, we have worked closely with the EIC to do a full audit on our environmental practices, and, following receipt of their report, recently rolled out our new sustainability policy. Closer to home, we have recently become corporate sponsors for the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

“When it comes to sustainability, KB have always been and will continue to be passionate and deeply committed to making a difference,” he adds.

As KB moves forward, it does so with a wealth of experience, expertise, and a clear commitment to sustainability. And now, with a vibrant new team in place, the business has never been in better shape, says Managing Director Richard Burnett: “Organic growth continues to be our focus, based upon our strong and growing reputation in the market for service and delivery. In the event sector this is everything; simply put, we cannot fail, and every delivery has to be 100 per cent on time, otherwise the show won’t go on.

“Couple this success with our plans for closer strategic collaborations, the future could not be brighter.”

Getting the show on the road: Sam Fender at St James' Park

Newcastle's St. James' Park witnessed a radical transformation in the summer when Sam Fender performed two sold-out concerts, with KB Event Ltd providing trucking and logistics services for this landmark music event.

Primarily a football destination, St. James' Park posed some unique logistical challenges, with a restrictive access tunnel being a significant hurdle for load-in and load-out arrangements. KB's prior experience with the venue was essential as they collaborated with technical suppliers, promoter Kilimanjaro, and the St. James' Park team to devise operational strategies to secure production approval.

The critical issue was the access tunnel’s height restriction of 3.67 metres while KB’s Megacube artics, even with air dropped, stood at 3.9 metres. KB’s innovative solution solved this problem, enabling two trucks to pass beneath the stadium and align with the vomitorium road, eliminating the need to unload equipment in the car park or service road and having to transport it using forklifts and local crew. Challenges remained however with tight manoeuvring necessitating skilled drivers and a comprehensive traffic management plan.

The venue's historical stone plaques and sensitive flooring areas further complicated matters, but KB successfully preserved these through risk assessment and meticulous process management. Space constraints were another hurdle. Again KB worked closely with Kilimanjaro and the stage team to plan vehicle arrival times and parking, allowing for efficient load-in and load-out coordination. This close collaboration was essential for both operations. KB also ensured seamless load-in and load-out for the support acts, which streamlined the whole process.

KB’s CEO Stuart McPherson praised the collaborative spirit of the entire team, emphasising the exceptional work of his colleagues, including Richard Burnett and Howard Dearsley, Lead Driver Alan McKellar, and Pete Gregory, who managed the required 15 Megacube artics.

He added: “The whole KB team understood what was required of them, and just got on and delivered. It’s moments like these when experience and the right team make all the difference. “We love a challenge and the opportunity to prove why we are different, and being involved in making this show happen is something that none of us will forget.” Despite the venue's unique challenges, KB’s expertise and innovative solutions resulted in a remarkable and unforgettable event that left a lasting impression on the audience and the city of Newcastle.


Crowning glory: The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla

KB Event Ltd was honoured to be selected as the nominated trucking supplier for the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on 6 May 2023, the first Coronation in the UK for almost seven decades.

Working on behalf of event agency Identity Global, this prestigious event involved complex logistical arrangements, including deliveries to Green Park and Westminster Abbey. KB's commitment to sustainability also played a significant role in the success of this grand occasion, Five Production trucks and two additional articulated trucks carrying crew elements, including on-site buggies and communications equipment, were dispatched to Green Park, which served as the public viewing area for the event. These deliveries were executed efficiently and contributed to the seamless setup of the event's infrastructure. The deliveries to Westminster Abbey marked a significant part of KB's responsibilities.

The majority of the deliveries occurred at night-time, commencing on 12 April. A total of 19 articulated trucks were used for both the load-in and load-out processes. The careful orchestration of these deliveries transformed the historic Westminster Abbey into a truly majestic venue, fit for a King and Queen. Following the event, the carpeted Coronation platform, including the two magnificent thrones, remained in place for an additional week for the enjoyment of visiting tourists.

One of the standout aspects of KB's contribution to the Coronation event was its unwavering commitment to sustainability. In alignment with the company's mission and it client's values, the deliveries for the Coronation were executed using non-palm oil HVO diesel. This eco-friendly fuel choice is 93 per cent cleaner than traditional diesel, resulting in substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. By opting for environmentally friendly fuel, KB ensured the event had a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Andy 'Spanner' Shaw, a seasoned KB driver, described his on-site participation in the event as "awesome”. Andy collaborated closely with Production Manager Andy Peat, who took charge of the overall event logistics, which included handling deliveries and overseeing the precise management of shipments to Westminster Abbey

He said: “Having provided the pageant parage trucks and a large number of the concert trucks for the late Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations, and then sadly having provided further trucks for the technical elements of her state funeral, being asked to be involved in the Coronation was a wonderfully uplifting way to mark the beginning of our service to the new King and Queen Consort. As with any royal events, we were deeply proud to be involved.’”

KB's involvement in the Coronation adds to its impressive portfolio of high-profile events. Previously, the company has successfully managed logistics for events such as the G7 Summit, COP26, and The Jubilee Pageant, all on behalf of Identity Global.


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