Scottish multimodal operator John G Russell boosted pre-tax profit by 8% last year despite suffering from floods, sluggish rates and disruption on cross-channel routes.

The company posted a pre-tax profit of £2.91m in the year to 31 March 2016, up from £2.69m in the same period the previous year. Turnover fell 2.4% to £61m from £62.5m.

Chief executive Alan Poulton said a focus on core distribution services and improving margins had helped its performance. This included ending its loss-making rail service through the Channel Tunnel at the end of last year.

He said: “Because of the well-documented migrant crisis in Calais we felt that it was affecting consistency and reliability of our service through the Tunnel. The move has impacted positively on our bottom line.

“Sustained warehousing throughput and the continued growth of our on-site logistics and contract packing services, predominantly in the food and drink sectors, has also helped. We expect more growth in these areas alongside more demand for e-fulfilment.”

Poulton said turnover was hit by the closure of the West Coast main rail line in January and February after a bridge viaduct failure following flooding. He said there was an “unavoidable loss of some revenue” during the period, but he stressed that the company put a contingency plan involving a mix of road and alternative rail routes in place.

by David Craik