Business Editor Gary McDonald
April 17, 2018 01:00 AM
A BELFAST-based online courier company, established eight years ago to transport students’ belongings to university, is celebrating one of its biggest global contracts.
UniBaggage.com has signed a lucrative $ 1 million deal with US couriers to ship customers’ items to and from the US to 500 new global routes.
The move will require the company to open an office in New York, giving Uni Baggage access to hundreds of thousands of new customers who regularly ship their belongings out of the United States for college, while traveling. or moving to another country.
And such has been the growth in demand for services that it has also led to an increase in the company’s headcount to 15 people, who work various shifts from 9 a.m. to midnight, providing assistance to new American customers by phone, e-mail and Livechat.
Company owner Paul Stewart started the company in 2010 while at the University of Edinburgh, motivated by his frustration with spending a fortune on airfare to ship goods to and from his home in east Belfast.
“This US agreement is an important step for Uni Baggage and has really kicked off our international growth plans,” he said.
“We have experienced fantastic growth over the past 18 months and are on the verge of doubling our sales thanks to this new agreement, which allows us to sell in countries to which we previously did not have access.
He added, “We will be hiring five additional people in 2018/19 to handle new clients and keep our growth on track. “
Although Uni Baggage began shipping baggage only for students, the profile of the customer has evolved, which has increased business – something Mr. Stewart is keen to cultivate.
“We initially set up the business for students as they have to move several times a year and often return home during Christmas or summer vacation,” he said.
“But as airline prices rose, we found that more and more ‘frequent flyers’ who travel multiple times a year were using Uni Baggage to ship their luggage before them.
“We are also seeing that people move from country to country for work or family reasons and want a fast and reliable way to ship their goods around the world. Our service is completely online, which makes it easy and affordable.
“The days of large moving trucks for long distance moves are over. “