James Andrews

Five minutes with…

James Andrews

IT & Marketing Director

Maritime Transport

How did you get started in the business?

I’ve been working in logistics around the Port of Felixstowe since I was 17 years old, starting as a part-timer whilst at college. My first role was as a back-office POD clerk before moving into the traffic office and eventually becoming a traffic operator. I joined Maritime in 2008 as a traffic operator and have been fortunate to have had time both in an operational and commercial capacity before moving into the IT department around eight years ago. Most recently, I’ve also taken responsibility for Maritime’s marketing function.

What does your average day look like?

I have a very varied role for Maritime, covering all aspects of what we do with our IT systems, hardware and marketing roles. We’re a successful business that keeps us very busy, so we’ve always got lots on with various projects and challenges. I am fortunate enough to work with some great people and companies, which keeps every day interesting and productive. We’ve just finished a large integration of our new Rail Freight Terminal at Hams Hall, and we’re also currently working on a large HR and Payroll systems project.

What role do you see technology playing in the future of logistics??

So many people talk about logistics and IT and the gaps from an IT point of view. Whilst it’s clear we have some work to do, I think we’re already doing quite a bit and moving forward with IT in logistics. In any aspect of life, you can see that technology will play a large part, mainly around logistics visibility and data. What we need to be careful of is that we don’t lose some of the human-to-human contact that we have, which is what makes us a special sector to work within.

Despite the industry’s current challenges, what do you love about the sector?

The people and the challenges.

Logistics is such a varied and challenging market to work in, with so many people from all walks of life working together, making it great. You get a great sense of being part of a key industry. Whilst it sometimes causes headaches, I love the challenges it presents, almost on a daily basis, to get the best from my team and me.

How do you think the logistics sector can better help itself be perceived as an industry with career potential? And with its increasing reliance on technology – how attractive is a career in Logistics IT? 

Most people I speak with are very proud to work in logistics, but almost everyone you talk to explains that they just fell into it (as did I), which is a real shame and, in my opinion, the area that needs to change. There are so many great roles locally in Suffolk, across the UK, and worldwide. We all need to do more to show the positive sides of what we do. Pushing the message of the broader choice of professional roles available, covering every aspect of the supply chain and all the professional office functions like HR, IT, Marketing, Finance etc. The UK logistics sector is one of the most prominent business groups in the UK and is a crucial backbone for our country. A career in logistics is a career for life and one that can be exceptionally rewarding.