Business

Online shipping company Uni Baggage signs $1 million deal

Katy Mairs and Paul Stewart of online shipping company UniBaggage.com celebrate signing a $1 million deal with US couriers to ship customers items in and out of the States to 500 new global routes. Picture: Brian Morrison
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A BELFAST-based online courier company set up eight years ago to transport student belongings to university is celebrating one of its biggest-ever global contracts.

UniBaggage.com has signed off on a lucrative $1 million deal with US couriers to ship customers items in and out of America to 500 new global routes.

The move will require the company to open an office in New York, giving Uni Baggage access to hundreds of thousands of new customers who regularly ship their belongings out of the US for college, while travelling or relocating to a different country.

And such has been the growth in demand for services that it has also led to the firm's workforce swelling to 15, who work on various shifts from 9am to midnight, providing support to the new US customers via phone, email and Livechat.

Company owner Paul Stewart set up the business in 2010 while he was at university in Edinburgh, prompted by his frustration at spending a fortune on airline costs shipping his belongings to and from his home in east Belfast.

“This US deal is a significant milestone for Uni Baggage and has really kick-started our international growth plans," he said.

"We have enjoyed fantastic growth over the last 18 months and are on target to double sales thanks to this new deal, which allows us to sell into countries we previously hadn't had access to.

He added: "We will be taking on an additional five staff in 2018/19 to manage new customers and to keep our growth on track.”

Although Uni Baggage started shipping luggage solely for students, the customer profile has evolved, which has increased business - something Mr Stewart is keen to cultivate.

“We initially set up the business for students as they need to move several times a year, and often travel home during Christmas or summer breaks," he said.

"But as airline prices increased, we found that more ‘frequent travellers' who move around several times and year used Uni Baggage to ship their luggage ahead of them.

"We are now also finding that people are moving countries for work or family commitments and want a quick and reliable way of shipping their belongings across the world. Our service is completely online, making it easy and affordable.

"Long gone are the days of the big removal trucks for long distance moves.”

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