TWO leading dairy co-operatives ? First Milk and Dairy Farmers of Britain ? have announced that they are linking up in a major initiative aimed at reducing the cost of milk transport in the UK.
The two farmer-owned businesses are rolling out an extensive haulage integration plan, which will see all of their overlapping operations shared by autumn next year.
This will result in projected total savings of over £ 8 million per year and will create a fully integrated national milk field of some 4.5 billion litres.
The project will also lead to environmental benefits through a significant reduction in food miles in the milk sector.
Under the proposed restructuring, joint collections will begin this autumn. This first stage is forecast to deliver immediate annual savings of £ 5 million and will be followed by complete integration of the two haulage operations over the coming year.
Malcolm Smith, Chief Executive of Dairy Farmers of Britain, said: "This is a major step forward for dairy farmers as the UK's two leading dairy co-operatives unite to drive significant cost out of the industry.
"Our clear focus is to improve the returns to our members and initiatives such as this play an important part in helping us to achieve that goal."
John Duncan, Chief Executive of First Milk, commented: "I am delighted to be announcing this initiative with DFB, which will provide much needed consolidation of milk haulage across England and Wales and, most importantly, save members money.
"We are committed to working with our fellow co-operatives on initiatives such as this where we have clear common interest."
Roger Evans, Chairman of First Milk and Rob Knight, Chairman of DFB, said they were both delighted at this example of co-operatives working together for the benefit of their members and the modernisation of the dairy industry.