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Eddie Stobart container

Eddie Stobart Logistics subsidiary O’Connor Container Transport is set for further integration into the group after racking up a loss of £800,000.

The loss, which the firm attributed to its strategy to turn the regional business into a national player, is laid bare in the company’s results for the year to 30 November 2016.

The Widnes-based container haulage and storage business reported that despite turnover remaining stable at £23.1m (2015: £23m) profit plunged by 171% year-on-year from £1.1m in 2015 to a loss of £801,554 in 2016.

The company’s strategic report attributed the loss to “a strategic move to target anticipated areas of growth in the other main operating ports in the UK, as the company seeks to become a national operator rather than regional”.

“Management are of the view that this strategy remains valid and will continue to invest in growing the business,” it added.

To this end, O’Connor Container Transport “aims to take advantage of more comprehensive integration into the Eddie Stobart network, with all the cross selling benefits and improved cost saving synergies which come along with this”.

The integration strategy will also see O’Connor expand its presence “into the other major container locations in the UK” and give greater focus to the retail, consumer, e-commerce and manufacturing sectors.

O’Connor Container Transport has, collectively, operating licences for up to 250 trucks and 325 trailers. These operate out of depots in Widnes, Northampton, Chesterfield and Stoke- on-Trent, although all of its fleet has been re-badged in Eddie Stobart’s livery, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Approached by MT for comment, David Meir, Eddie Stobart Logistics UK finance director, said: “The legal entity results shown within O’Connor Container Transport’s statutory accounts do not fully reflect the full activities of the Eddie Stobart Logistics Plc ports and rail related activities.

"The result for the O’Connor Container Storage Limited and the results of some 'Widnes' campus solution activity that is embedded within Eddie Stobart Limited need to be reflected to gain a full picture.”

Asked about the firm’s strategy to go national, he added: “The business has historically been strong within the North West and recognised the requirement to be present in all key ports which is linked in with our customer and their requirements.”

No further detail was available as this article was published.

O’Connor Container Transport was bought for £23m by Eddie Stobart Group in 2011, as part of plans to offer intermodal services through O’Connor’s Widnes rail terminal in the 3MG Logistics Park.

At the time the move was hailed by the container company as an opportunity to fast track its plans to go national.