About Us

The Company was established in 1919 when William Bowker used his war gratuity to buy the first vehicle. He began making local deliveries in Lancashire earning a reputation for a pioneering spirit and an innovative approach to industry's needs. It wasn't long before he'd assembled one of the largest fleets in the area.

The General Strike of 1926 became the catalyst for further expansion when he began making the first overnight trunks to London carrying record consignments of fruit from Liverpool Docks to the markets of Covent Garden.

The Company continued to prosper until 1949 when they were nationalised but continued to operate as warehousing keepers. In 1954 a change of government brought a swift and welcome reversal of the situation and de-nationalised the industry.

William Bowker bought back a number of vehicles, and it wasn't long before they were once again at the forefront of the UK Haulage Industry.

In December 1961, Bowker took their first steps into Europe moving a carpet tufting machine to Holland which attracted a lot of interest from UK manufacturers in the process. The new service led to unprecedented levels of freight being moved by road to the continent and with business booming, Bowker opened its depots in Hull in 1973 and Zeebrugge shortly after in 1976.

The Company diversified its activities in 1984 with the acquisition of Clock Garage in Accrington - the authorised BMW dealership for East Lancashire, and today, its Retail Motor Division incorporates the BMW and Mini Dealerships in Preston and Blackburn, Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Dealership in Preston,Maserati Dealership in Ribble Valley and its latest acquisition BMW Motorad Dealership in Southport, which has relocated to its new purpose built site in Preston.

In November 2016, Bowker completed the purchase of Potter Logistics' warehousing and distribution operations at Ripon, York, Selby, Knowsley and Droitwich. Like Bowker, Potters were a quality driven operation and in recognition of their high standards were declared the Motor Transporter of the Year at the Motor Transport Industry 2015 Awards

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Today, Bowker is a major UK and international transport and warehouse provider operating in excess of 160 vehicles 300 trailers, providing over one million square feet of warehousing at their 7 UK sites.

We continue to invest in our people, equipment and infrastructure including continually evolving our state of the art IT solutions.

Our commitment to providing responsible, secure and reliable transportation services has been recognised by the accreditations and Industry awards the Company has received.

The Company is also extremely proud to have recently been voted one of the 'Top 20 Great British Transport Companies of all Time' - a testament to our heritage, the present and our future.

The Bowker Timeline
  • William Henry Bowker establishes the business in Blackburn using his Army gratuity

  • The business continues to grow through the twenties

  • The General Strike provides further growth transporting fruit overnight from Liverpool Docks to Covent Garden market
  • Bowker continues to prosper until 1949 when all UK transport assets were nationalised. Bowker continue to operate as warehouse keepers
  • A change of government heralds de-nationalisation. William Bowker buys back a number of vehicles and rebuilds his transport business
  • The business is once again at the forefront of the UK haulage industry
  • Bowker takes first steps into Europe moving carpet machinery to Holland. The new service proves popular and experiences major growth
  • Hull office opens to handle increasing European volumes
  • A base is established in Zeebrugge to manage movements to and from Europe
  • Our first dedicated contract hire, working in partnership with packaging and chemical company Huntsman
  • The company diversifies with the acquisition of Clock Garage in Accrington – the authorised BMW dealership for East Lancashire
  • New head office and operations centre opens in Bamber Bridge, Preston
  • CBA WINNERS
  • CBA WINNERS
  • CBA WINNERS
  • Voted one of the top 20 Greatest British hauliers of all time
  • In November 2016, Bowker completes the purchase of Potter Logistics warehousing and distribution operations who were crowned 2015 Motor Transport Haulier of the Year.
  • Today, Bowker is a major UK and International transport and warehousing operator with 160 vehicles, 300 trailers and over 1 million square feet of warehousing