HAMPSHIRE freight forwarding company Regional Express has won a long-term contract to send food to feed over 17,000 peacekeeping troops in Africa.

It has been awarded by Vestey Foods of Petersfield and will run for several years.

“It is our biggest single contract and a great boost for us in our first year of trading,”

said Regional Express managing director Eric Buggy.

The aid is being transported by sea and air to Mombasa in Kenya and then onwards to troubled Somalia by a major international aid agency.

The foodstuffs moved so far by Regional Express include:

  • 40 tonnes of ice cream
  • 100 tonnes of beef stew
  • 20 tonnes of yoghurt
  • 45 tonnes of frozen chicken and turkey
  • 120 tonnes of fruit juice
  • 26 tonnes of salt
  • 374,000 chicken eggs

Around 40 per cent of the food is transported from the UK to Africa and the rest from other countries such as Turkey, the Netherlands and Poland in what is called crosstrading.

“We move most of the aid by sea but we send it by air if there’s more urgency,” said Eric, who established Regional Express with his business partner, sales director Geoff Evans.

The company began trading in May from the Basepoint Business Park at Romsey and expects turnover in excess of £900,000 in its first year.

“To start up in a recession and get that kind of result in the first 12 months is not bad going,” said Eric.

A spokesman for Vestey Foods said: “We chose Regional Express because we know we can trust them 100 per cent.

“They always do what they promise and then more. They are an excellent partner in what is a hugely important international contract.”