Express delivery firm Aspray Transport will shortly begin constructing a new 10,000 pallet high-bay storage facility at its Willenhall, West Midlands hub.

Construction of the 17m high facility, which will also include an area for block stacking, will begin in October.

The firm, which recently bought over five acres of additional land around the site, is also putting an extra 40 parking spaces in place for trailers. Both developments should be operational in June next year.

Aspray’s investment in hub expansion accounts in part for a slight dip in profits in the year to 31 December, said MD Stuart Laight.

Turnover last year rose by 3% from £26.4m to £27.3m, while pre-tax profit slipped from £1.5m to £1.35m.

The other reason for the 13% fall in profits was the current business climate, said Laight. "It’s the economy taking its toll. We haven’t lost accounts but there is less revenue from them. A lot of larger companies still have the same orders but the worth and quantity of goods is definitely lower.

"We have been squeezed on margin by having to respond to the marketplace where large PLCs  are driving rates which are unsustainable."

That pressure shows no signs of letting up, either, added Laight. "This year is a more competitive one. The economy from the end of the first quarter through to August has been slower than the first quarter. Most of this sector will be under pressure on margins this year – even more so than last year."