Jason Midgley has been driving heavy vehicles since he was old enough to get his licence. 

He learned to drive in his father's fleet of trucks as a teenager, and started working at New Zealand Sugar on a six-month contract driving heavy vehicles. Today he is the Logistics Manager at the Chelsea Sugar Factory, in what has been a 20-year career.

Jason has been in his current logistics role for three years. Before that, he spent five years working in-house as a team leader, seven years as a contractor in despatch, five years as a NZ Sugar employee in despatch and another two years driving trucks carting NZ Sugar product around Auckland.

As Logistics Manager, Jason co-ordinates with his team the delivery of more than 80 different types of products from Chelsea Sugar Factory to six warehouses and hundreds of customers across New Zealand.

“It’s a great role. I get to be in contact with a lot of areas of the business, including the factory production team, the packing teams, customers and our trucking contractors,” Jason said.

NZ Sugar utilises six warehouses across the country - the on-site warehouses at Chelsea and Wellington, on the North Island, and warehouses at Blenheim, Nelson, Dunedin and Christchurch on the South Island.

“Christchurch is our largest off-site warehouse and is supervised by Steven McGregor, who co-ordinates about 1,500 pallets worth of stock and 80 product types at any one time, and also operates the liquid sugar plant there, capable of producing 40,000 litres a week.”

Each warehouse has a particular function, with the Wellington warehouse serving as a base in the region, allowing same day delivery on orders from industrial customers. The Nelson warehouse also services industrial customers, supplying 25kg to one-tonne bags of sugar.

The Dunedin operation consists of two warehouses – one supplying products to retailers and the other supplying products to foodservice customers for use in cafes and restaurants.
Blenheim is dedicated to supplying sugar to winery customers throughout the Marlborough region.

“Winemakers only have about four days to balance out sugar levels in fermentation once the grapes are picked and crushed, and this typically all happens in April and May, so our Blenheim warehouse has to be stocked ready to supply a lot of sugar in a short timeframe,” Jason said.

Of the many roles he has undertaken with NZ Sugar, he said his current position required the most innovation, and was never short of challenges.

“There’s always something happening to put your mind to, whether it’s finding alternate methods of transport such as flexi tanks, sourcing rates for new customers or dealing with shipping delays,” Jason said.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”