Newly created AKW Group Logistics believes its enhanced scale will allow it to hunt further up the food chain.

The group created after the merger of "friendly rivals" AK Worthington and Global Logistics (UK) will have an approximate turnover of £26m in its first full year of trading.

Integration began last summer to create a Manchester-based road transport and warehousing operation comprising 95 trucks, 160 trailers, 210,000ft² of transit warehousing and 500,000ft² of bonded, racked capacity.

The group moved into a new 12-acre site last year in Alba Way, Manchester, which features cross-docking and drive-through warehousing, with parking for more than 100 trailers.

Julian Richards, MD at AKW Group, said: “We have now had six months as AKW Global Logistics and it has gone very well. We all knew each other prior to the merger, as friendly rivals.”

He added that the extended fleet and membership in both Partnerlink and Palletline networks would enable the business to target larger customers and move away from “adhoc small pallet quantity accounts”.

AKW’s packing and warehousing division grew by 9% last year. Already at 90% capacity, the company will now seek to grow further by focusing on faster-moving products, particularly those that feed into its transport and co-pack businesses.

“The co-pack growth has come from branching into other markets. We were very Christmas-season-driven, with a speciality in cosmetics and gift packs, so we have now targeted customers with business all year round,” Richards added.

For the year ended June 2015, prior to the acquisition of Global Logistics (UK), the group posted a turnover of £20.3m, up 1.7% from £19.9m the previous year.

Gross profit dipped from £4.9m in 2014 to £4.7m in 2015, which it attributed to increased driver wages and subcontractor costs in its transport division.

Richards told that AKW had not experienced difficulty in recruiting drivers, however “we have to think differently to keep them”, which includes a focus on training and rewards.

Pre-tax profit for the year was £950,146, up from £736,014 in 2014.