Long-standing heavy transport firm Heanor Haulage is closing its haulage arm this month to focus on warehousing and storage.

The Ilkeston, Derbyshire company has instructed Malcolm Harrison to auction off its fleet of rigids and artics on 25 March, as well as sell off its customer base, phone book, contacts and contracts.

Director David Smitham said: “The company is ceasing trading as a haulage company but continuing to diversify into other markets.

“In a nutshell, it’s hard work to make money. It’s not all planned out but the fleet comes off the road at the end of February.”

Smitham added that the decision resulted in the loss of 16 drivers, but he said: “We struggle to retain and recruit drivers, there’s a shortage nationwide, so the general feeling is we assume they can find employment.”

The company was incorporated in 1934 as Heanor Coal & Haulage Company by the Searson family but following the Second World War it became Heanor Haulage.

It operated a fleet of vehicles ranging from 44-tonnes up to 200-tonnes. It holds an O-licence across two locations for up to 41 vehicles and 77 trailers.

A company called Heanor Fleet Services was incorporated on 20 February and shares a common director in Adam Searson.

Smitham said he was unaware of the new firm.