Gloucestershire haulier Eric Vick Transport is to close in April after almost 70 years of business.

The family-owned firm blamed a sluggish economy, new legislation and a weak UK manufacturing industry for the decision.

It is understood that it would prefer to close the business rather than risk selling off assets to pay debts.

However, it remains confident that staff will find alternative employment due to the worsening driver shortage.

Eric Vick Transport was started in 1950 by Eric Vick who began with livestock transportation before undertaking general UK haulage.

He then expanded into international haulage, including many years delivering to North Africa and the Middle East.

More recently the company has switched its focus back to the UK as well as accepting some European work.

Commenting on the closure, Eric’s son Rob Vick said: “It is with great sadness that the Vick family announce that, after almost 70 years of business, Eric Vick Transport will cease trading at the end of April.

“While pleased to have kept the business going for five years after the death of its founder and driving force Eric Vick, the family are unable to see a profitable future that would provide secure employment.

“As with so many haulage businesses, a less than thriving economy, increasing legislation and the continued decline of UK manufacturing mean the business is not viable in the longer term.

“The family would like to extend their thanks to all the drivers and staff, past and present, customers and excellent people in the industry that have enabled the business to survive and prosper.”

The business operates a fleet of articulated vehicles comprising 11 tractor units and 25 trailers.