Diesel price increases combined with depreciation charges due to Bowring Transport’s fleet renewal programme saw pre-tax profit in the company’s haulage division fall by 25% last year.

In the year to 31 May 2018, the Mansfield, Nottinghamshire-based company revealed that, despite a 5.5% rise in turnover in its haulage division to £12.9m (2016: £12.2m), its pre-tax profit fell to £1.2m (2017: £1.6m).

The family firm, which has combined O-licences for 132 trucks and 307 trailers, offers a range of services including heavy haulage for construction and agriculture, landfill and aggregates.

Reporting its latest annual results, Bowring Transport, said: “Diesel price increases were a significant contributor to increased operational costs, up from £2.2m in 2016/17 to £2.6m in 2017/18.”

Despite these headwinds the company said that the infrastructure, building construction, manufacturing and farming sectors “continue to generate significant demand for the company’s haulage services” in the strategic reports to the results.

Fleet renewal

A Bowring Transport spokesman added that another key factor that had impacted on profits in 2017/18 had been depreciation charges arising from firm’s ongoing fleet modernisation programme.

He said conditions had continued to be challenging in this financial year. “December and January were not so good – but those months always tend to be difficult - and work has picked up since January.”

He added that turnover fell in the six months to 31 December 2018, compared to the same period in the previous year, which would have an impact on this year’s gross profit level.

Asked if the uncertainty surrounding Brexit had impacted on the company’s performance this year, the spokesman added: “It is very difficult to pin it on Brexit. Our strength is that we work in many fields and that means we are spread over a wide area.

“If companies are holding back on investing then once the decision on Brexit is made there will be a mountain of cash ready to invest, so those projects that might be on ice at the moment might well kick off," he said.