Arcese UK said it expects 2013 to remain as flat as 2012, despite posting a 77% increase in pre-tax profit in 2012.

The Thurrock-based arm of the Italian logistics giant said that it viewed volumes in the year as quite positive, considering the state of the economy across the Continent and it had made steps to run as cost effectively as possible.

For the 12 months ending 31 December 2012 turnover stood at £23.67m, compared to £23.71m in the previous year.  Pre-tax profit rose from £209,777 to £372,223 resulting in a profit margin of 1.57%.

MD Keith Leutchford told that 2012 had been “fairly tough” and that he was disappointed that, despite the firms’ best efforts, it had not made better profit margins.

“It is difficult at the moment to give our share holders the kind of returns they are looking for,” he said.

“We are still winning new business, which is good. But there are hauliers that will take a reduction in their rates. With that it is very difficult to get new business,” he added. “This year looks very similar to last year, we had a slow start in January but that was the same last year and we worked through it.”

Leutchford added that profitability progress was being harmed by the rising price of essentials and equipment, ranging from fuel to tyres.

According to the directors’ report Arcese’s core UK fleet comprises of 80 vehicles and all of its assets bought before 2008 have been paid for, with a prediction that they will remain in service for years through in-house maintenance and service.