A clutch of regional distribution companies have merged to form a £30m national logistics company providing temperature-controlled distribution, storage and packing.

Innovate Logistics, which is targeting the food industry, comprises Solar Cold Services, Park Conditioned Storage, Versatile Independent Packaging, Aston Distribution Centre and Round Oak Rail.

With operations in Birmingham, Chesterfield, Nottingham and Scunthorpe, Innovate occupies two million sq ft of warehousing, serving customers including Unilever, Nestlé and Cadbury Trebor Bassett.

Unlike traditional cold storage facilities, which tend to be close to manufacturing plants, Innovate sites are strategically positioned around retailers’ and caterers’ depots, said Stephen Dargavel, joint MD at Innovate Holdings, Innovate Logistics’ parent company.

This makes the company better placed to handle factory gate pricing contracts for the multiples and shorter order lead times, he claimed. “We are increasingly targeting retailers as they move into primary distribution. Factory gate pricing is an opportunity for us.”

The company is now looking to develop additional sites in southern England, he added.