A lorry-load of orders for Sunderland firm

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AN engineering firm is in getting in gear as it prepares to start work on a multimillion pound deal.

The GT Group has won a contract to supply American firm Ground Force with trucks.

The vehicles will carry water, fuel or lubricant and will be shipped out to clients across Russia and Europe.

The global contract will allow the company to press on with its plans to increase its workforce from 300 to 500 during the next three years and double its annual turnover from £30million to £60million.

The majority of the work on the contract will be carried out at its factory in Pallion, Sunderland, with Caterpillar’s Peterlee plant also receiving a boost, as it will produce the trucks’ chassis.

GT says the partnership could lead to further contracts.

The Ground Force deal will also involve basing a sales and marketing team of up to four people at its headquarters in Trayor Way, in Peterlee’s Whitehouse Industrial Park, to capitalise on business opportunities.

In May, the company announced plans to boost its staffing levels as it beat international competition to win a £50million contract to produce parts for Russia.

It is also in talks with another major transport business about a further project.

Geoff Turnbull, chairman of the GT Group, said: “The Ground Force contract reflects the quality of equipment made and services provided by GT Group, as well as validating the level of skills possessed by our workforce.

“It is also a prime example of how GT Group works closely in partnership with its customers to achieve a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

“The contract, which will be handled by our specialist truck division, will further enhance the ambitious growth programme that is being driven within GT Group.”

Ron Nilson, Ground Force’s chief executive officer, added: “It was a very easy decision to award the work to GT Group above other companies.

“GT as a manufacturer has state-of-the-art engineering capabilities as well as a strong relationship with Caterpillar over the past 30 years.

“Caterpillar demands an exceptional level of quality.

“As a result, Ground Force has to ensure the calibre of companies that make parts for us.

“Usually they have to raise the bar to meet Caterpillar’s exacting standards, but GT Group has already done that so it made sense for them to supply us.”