First quarter volumes increased by 2% at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics UK, with the company’s gross margin also up four percentage points compared with the same period in 2011.

The company says that while volumes have remained steady, profitability has improved due to a new trailer planning system in operation, and growth through business won in the latter part of 2011.

Hellmann also cites an upturn in UK exports to non-EU countries and Germany as a key contributory factor to maintaining robust results.

MD Andy Connor says: "This time last year, due to the uncertainty of the UK’s growth prospects, we were unclear as to which direction the remainder of the year would take – despite a very encouraging start. We have been pleasantly surprised with the continuing positive results and remain optimistic that this positive trend looks set to continue for 2012, standing us in good stead."

The company has also just announced a new partnership with German firm Diehl Spedition. Commencing on 1 June, the link-up will provide a daily express groupage operation between Hellman’s UK hubs in Lichfield and Basildon and Diehl’s depot in Stuttgart.