Pentalver has warned there could be casualties in the container haulage market in the second half of the year as the sector struggles with low volumes.

The warning comes as the firm reported turnover and pre-tax profit growth in 2011: Pentalver Transport saw turnover grow to £57.4m in the year, from £55m a year ago, while pre-tax profit rose to £2m, from £1.5m.

At sister business Pentalver Cannock, turnover rose to £24.8m, compared to £22.9m in 2010, but pre-tax profit fell from £1.1m to £246,000.

Speaking to MT, Chris Lawrenson, MD at Pentalver, says: “The most competitive market is transport and this is where all businesses are suffering from rate pressure, increased costs such as fuel, insurance, legislation and volume.  The combination of these factors will undoubtedly mean we see more operators leave the market entirely or consolidate in order to survive.

“There are some short-term decisions being taken in the market to try and ensure survival rather than strategic long-term decisions and this is dangerous for the industry going forward.”

He says he is pleased with the direction and results of both Pentalver companies, given the current market conditions, but warns that  2012 is proving as difficult, “if not more so” than 2011.

Lawrenson indicates that container volumes are still low and the market overall remains extremely difficult.

“The first six months of the year have been particularly difficult, but we are in a good position with a sound business strategy and a healthy sales pipeline.”