FreshLinc increased turnover by 3% last year, despite fuel surcharge revenues falling following the Spring 2020 collapse in oil prices.

For the year ending 30 January 2021, the Spalding-based temperature-controlled operator reported a £111m turnover, up from £108m the year before.

Pre-tax profit jumped by 51.5% to £2.3m (£1.5m).

In a statement signed off by the board the company said the increase in revenue year-on-year resulted from additional new business wins and continued organic growth.

Key factors driving the increase included expansion of its ambient business FLX, development of its DirectLinc brand and volume growth in its bulk transport division FLB.

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In addition, it pointed to “significant additional volumes across our chilled business FreshLinc, with the introduction of substantial new volumes for an internet-based retailer and generally increased retail volumes through the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of many hospitality premises”.

FreshLinc said its operational performance during the period was “very satisfying” and that the improvement came not just from operating efficiencies but as more of the population worked from home or were on furlough: “Whilst volumes increased overall, the daily demand for our services was less volatile than in normal circumstances, when demand is traditionally focused in the lead up tp the weekend.”

It said that since the year end, volumes had remained buoyant across the business, but in particular in FLB, which had commenced a contract with a large grain producer and distributor.

FreshLinc recently became one of the first UK operators to place a major order for DAF Trucks’ new generation XFs, with 40 tractor units being delivered from the end of 2021.