Cross-channel disruption and the migrant crisis, combined with bad debts arising from the steel crisis, saw Laser Transport International suffer a tough second half in 2015.

Despite this, newly published accounts for the year to 31 December 2015, show pre-tax profit at the Hythe-Kent based company more than tripled in the period, up from £28,712 in 2014 to £108,697.

Turnover was broadly flat year-on-year at £16.4m, with the company's UK division contributing the lion's share of revenue at £13.3m (2014: £12.7m).

Reporting its results, Laser Transport International said while it made a strong start to 2015 this was soon affected by a fall in cargo volume, flat trading in the Eurozone, a strong pound, and fierce competition from multinational operators.

These pressures were exacerbated in the second half of 2015 by cross-channel disruption caused by industrial action in Calais and the migrant crisis which “caused substantial loss of gross profit”.

It added: “Bad debts, which have not troubled us for some years, arising principally from the troubled steel industry sector, hit us hard with about £26,000 in the second half.”

In its accounts, the company said that despite a challenging start to 2016, which saw cargo volumes down and currency losses of more £9,000 due to a volatile exchange rate, it remained “optimistic” that its trading performance will be “back on track” in the second half of 2016.

An improved European market, some significant early sales successes, overseas project activity and an “exceptional performance” from its UK pallet distribution operations with Palletline, were all cited as as key factors driving growth in 2016.