Colm Sherlock is what the haulage industry is all about. Having inherited his love for trucks from both his grandfather and father, Colm progressed to developing a name of his own within the haulage circles. In the space of two short years since Sherlock International was founded, Colm has taken the company to new heights.
Hailing from near Jamestown, Navan in Co. Meath, Colm grew up on a farm which kept everything from sheep to cattle to pigs.In fact, his grandfather Pat ran a quite substantial sheep wool merchants, skins and hides enterprise right off the home farm. Some of Colm’s earliest memories are of farmers arriving with trailer loads of wool.
“My grandfather has a farm in Jamestown in Navan, though he was into anything that involved farming. He was always buying and selling cattle, sheep and he got the hides and skins too. He was a wool merchant as well,”, Colm informed ThatsFarming’s Kevin.
“My father started driving a rigid lorry for my grandfather when he was around my age…Bits of livestock, but mostly collecting hides, skins and wools…He actually got his own lorry in the 80’s, when he was bringing the wool out to Bradford.”, he added.
His father started from here by obtaining work for the return routes home of his trip, working his way up having a fleet of ten lorries on the road. His father now has gotten out of haulage, instead building warehouses to carry out his new enterprise, leaving Colm to continue the family tradition behind the wheel.
“He finished up with lorries in 2007 and got more into the warehouses, storing stuff for companies, such as Glanbia and a local chocolate factory in Navan. All I wanted to do growing up was to drive lorries, but when it came to doing the leaving cert all the lorries were gone from the yard.”, Colm said.
Aged 26-years-old, Colm says it was always the dream since he was knee-high to get behind the wheel of a truck, having watched both his grandfather and father driving them, A dream he now lives every day.
“I used to see all the lorries coming in and out of the yard and it was always something I wanted to do, So I decided to go for it then,”, he added.
How it all Began:
His trucking adventure well and truly began at the age of twenty in 2012, when Colm obtained his arctic licence.
“I got the arctic licence when I was twenty. I had it about a day or two and James, one of the brothers from Virginia Transport who used to draw a lot out of our yard at home, told me to call down and I did and I then started driving with them,”, Colm stated.
He stayed here for just over two years, carrying out haulage work throughout Ireland and the UK and even France. After a few years of driving for Virginia, Colm made his maiden purchase, A 1986 Scania 142, which he aimed to restore. When the lorry was close to completion, Colm’s father obtained some haulage work for Colm from the local Leer chocolate factory.
From here in 2013, things progressed quickly and for a man aged 23 in the midst of his first season on his own, he well and truly thrived under the pressure. Colm noted that having his father as a guiding light for him was an excellent resource for him when any difficulties arose.
“He would be very good at giving advice, which is why I ended up changing to a Limited company after the first two years,”, Colm said.
It wasn’t until 2014 when Colm got the second lorry on the road when things began to take off. This was followed by the purchase of another a year later, leading to the ‘retirement’ of his first lorry.
Colm currently runs with a fleet of three lorries, which is an impressive feat at such a young age. He decided to go against the grain and instead of spending big money on new lorries, he decided to go with the old reliable models, keeping in tune with his restored Scania 142.
The Scania 142 does not count as one of the three currently on the road though, as this is now kept simply as a backup. The team carry out mainly multi-drop meat work, while also as mentioned transport for the local Leer chocolate factory.
Colm said using the older models suits the system he has in place and says it wouldn’t be ideal for those making long continental trips. The fleet he is currently running with are all Scania, ranging in years from 1986 to 2007.
Lorries - Scania R500 (2007), Scania 144 (2002), Scania 13 (1993), Scania 142 (1986).
Drawing Capacities - Total weight 40 tonne, load 26 tonne.
“The older lorries I have are V8’s and are nearly worth more now than when I bought them…If I keep going the way I am, I will probably get a newer lorry for the other driver. I will stick to the older ones though.”, Colm said.
He currently has one man on the road with himself, Seamus Reilly, on a full-time basis, a man that Colm says has been in or around the industry for many years and is a valued member of the operation. Colm says he moves between having two and three lorries on the go, dependent on work and availability of drivers.
His girlfriend Anne Marie is also roped in for a spin on her holidays from teaching and the pair actually had an incredible ‘first date’.
“The first date I brought her on, I picked her up in the lorry…So we went for a spin to Roscommon mart and that,” he joked.
Future and What keeps him going:
The idea is to continue on the upward trajectory Sherlock International over the coming years and as mentioned, he will maybe purchase a newer model lorry over the coming years for one of the drivers. He also hopes to upgrade some of the trailers on the road at the moment, the cold storage ones in particular.
“I will look to update the trailers and that, especially the fridge trailers,”, he noted.
With regards major plans of an upheaval, this is unlikely, although Colm hopes to take a step back from the driving seat in 2018, instead focusing on the financial aspects of the firm as well as the mechanical side, with Colm carrying out maintenance on his own lorries.
“We are doing most of our work in and out to England. I would probably look to doing maybe one trip a week and a day's maintenance and a day in the office as well,”, he said.
Not only does he drive, fix the lorries and keep the show on the road, but he has also recently begun looking after his own accounts meaning his finger is firmly on the pulse.
To put it simply, Colm is doing what he always dreamed of doing. Hardworking, dedicated and living his dream, though Colm has his head firmly screwed on. Sherlock International’s success is not something of luck, rather the fruit of his hard labour.
“If I wanted an easy life, I would go back to college…You do it because you like it. If you are in it for making money, you are in the wrong industry”, he joked.
“I love the idea of it, maybe more so than the reality”, Colm joked.
If you would like to contact Colm or Sherlock International, you can do so here.