I bought myself a lorry and five years later I’m running a fleet of HGV’s for Amazon

It was the career his dad built up for many years, working long hard hours on gruelling long international trips away from his family. Lee Jones was well versed in truck driving, having grown up seeing his dad, Mike Jones, do it for a living. But it was not the career path he wanted to go down.

Having served in the Army for six years, Mr Jones found he moved around different jobs, not finding himself settling into any one career path. : Huge convoy of trucks pay tribute to well-known dad, 48, who died in his sleep “My father was a truck driver his whole life, and used to nag me about trying truck driving, telling me I’d love it and it would set me straight for life,” he said.

“I told him, ‘No, forget that, I’m enjoying life far too much to be driving a lorry’.” But it was the advice of his father in the back of his mind, and a chance meeting with a man in England that began to change his mind. “I was doing security work, and didn’t really have any other plans,” Mr Jones said.

“I was working for a man up in Cheltenham called Ralph Davies International, and he had a very strong reputation in the haulage industry. He sold up, and when he did, there was nobody to go to work for like him with a family orientated business, so I decided to buy my own truck just to be my own boss. “I decided, you know what, I’m going to try truck driving, maybe for a week or two weeks to give it a go.”

Mr Jones took a tentative first few steps into the profession, and had no idea the success that was awaiting him over the coming years. He launched his company Celtic International Freight Limited, based in Llandarcy, and has gone on to create a partnership with a big name business. Today, through the hard work and dedication of Mr Jones, his wife Leanne and dad Mike, it has 16 trucks and 26 drivers.

“In a short period of time we’ve done amazingly well,” he said. “We started doing Tesco store deliveries, and you could see that the truck was generating money, and thought, this is a feasible business. “Initially it was dipping your toe in and hoping it would be alright, but as soon as you could see the money coming in, and you have a profit at the end of the week, the drive then is to get a second truck and make more money.

“We did that and that was flat out, working constantly, and we got a third truck, a fourth and so on. That led to us working with Amazon. We did a lot of work with Amazon, and up until three years ago, we had a phone call asking us whether we would like to get involved in a brand new project they were working on.

We did it, and now we are the only Amazon freight partner in Wales, which is quite a statement in itself. “By partnering with Amazon, they have really helped us grow as a company, both in size and maturing of the company. You always think you’re doing really well, but you have to grow to have the paperwork to coincide with a huge international company like Amazon.”

The company is the only Amazon freight partner in Wales (C) Lee Jones The company is the only Amazon freight partner in Wales

Mr Jones admitted there was a lot of challenges associated with the haulage industry.

“You’ve got your staff, you’ve got your drivers hours, you’ve got your compliance with the DVSA. All these different elements make up a haulage company, and it’s very hard to make sure everything is perfect,” he said. “With haulage everything has to be perfect because if we miss something that could have a knock-on effect and result in an accident.

There is a lot of responsibility in owning a haulage company and running it. The amount of pressure you have on yourselves is immense, and that’s without actually going out and doing the work yourself.” But the 43-year-old explained how proud he was of the success they had achieved.

“When the trucks are all back in the yard at the weekend and you think ‘Oh my God, that’s a lot of trucks’, you realise how well we’ve done,” he said. “We’ve got 26 drivers now. When you consider it was just me and my father five years ago, it is a big accomplishment to get to this point and still be growing on a weekly basis.

“Our next goal is to grow up to 20 trucks. We’re up to 16 now and that would be our next big milestone. That would be a nice milestone to be at.

If we can get to 20 and have the volume of drivers to carry on going to that number, that would be the next goal. “We’ll also be looking to get more local drivers involved. We’re very proud of all of our drivers and the majority of them are local drivers.”

Mike Jones (C) Lee Jones Mike Jones

Mr Jones’s father still works for the company, as a driver aged 77, returning after retirement, this time doing the work as it suits him.

Mr Jones said: “As a child I remember looking across the driver’s seat and he would be driving as a young man. “On his first trip out with us, I was in the passenger seat as an adult and he was in the driver seat as an old man. I took a picture of him because there is 38 years difference from a memory as a child to an adult now seeing the same image, with a long time in between.

“I used to go with my father from when I was old enough to be in a truck, when I was six or seven. We never used to see him a great deal because he would do European work and would be away for weeks and weeks at a time. “It’s really surreal, and I imagine he must be incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved.

My dad is a really integral part of the company and without him I doubt we would have got where we are so quickly.”

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