Senior figures in the road transport industry are more confident about their businesses’ prospects during the remainder of the year, than they were at the start of 2012.

A vox-pop of senior managers and executives at last night’s Motor Transport Awards revealed a sector confident in its abilities to ride out the economic storm.

“Yes [we’re optimistic], as people always want to eat and drink no matter how tough it gets, as they want the feel-good factor,” says Mike Reid, group national transport manager at Fairfax Meadow.

“I’ve always believed that those [businesses] that have slimmed down will thrive when the recession ends,” he adds. “The biggest threat remains the [planned August] increase in fuel duty, and fuel availability in general.”

John Davies, business development director at Fowler Welch, says the company is feeling more confident now than it did at the start of 2012. “It’s the scale of opportunity out there. This ranges from people looking at how they do things, competitor problems, and increased demand for our services.

“These days you have got to be good, competitive [in your pricing] and offer customers something extra,” he adds.

Iain Speak, chief executive of Bibby Distribution, says: “The first half of 2012 has been challenging, but the second half and beyond looks good.

“We’ll deliver over £1m of benefits through our trailer replacement programme. [Due to] the various acquisitions we’ve made over the last two years, we have more trailers to replace and we can replace them to make advantages.”

Andrew Palmer, group MD of Suttons, says the business is performing well, especially outside the UK.