Jack  Richards  2011 Jack Richards

Jack Richards and Son boosted turnover by 14% and pre-tax profits by 7% in 2016, aided by stable fuel prices and an efficiency drive.

Reporting its annual results to 31 March 2016 the Norfolk-based company said turnover had grown to £40.6m (2015: £35.5m) with pre-tax profit reaching £1m (2015: £951,007).

MD Peter Brown told Motortransport.co.uk: “Our growth is mostly about looking at internal efficiencies and working that little bit harder.”

An efficiency drive at the company included introducing telematics to reduce fuel consumption and accident rates over the period.

Lower fuel prices also helped grow the business in 2016, said Brown, alongside “a relatively stable market”.

The company, which specialises in fast moving consumer goods, packaging and palletised deliveries, also boosted driver numbers, up from 319 to 395, to help manage growth.

Looking to the future, Brown said growth was continuing at the company, despite uncertainty following the EU referendum, the ongoing driver shortage and predicted fuel price rises, which he said were a concern, going forward.

On Brexit, Brown said: “This year, so far, has been a good year with the economy picking up, particularly in the past six months, despite there being a lot of uncertainty around since the EU referendum.

“Our biggest concern, however, is the effect of Brexit on the supply of drivers from Eastern Europe. The fear is some or all of our European colleagues will decide to go home because of the fall in the value of sterling or that there will be a drying up of the supply of new drivers from Europe. This is one of our biggest challenges.”

On the upside, Brexit has brought the firm, which is a founder member of Palletways, a significant growth in European volumes.

Brown said: “Since the value of the pound crashed, we have seen our export of volumes into Europe double.  Our customers spend on sending pallets into Europe has doubled from £2,000 a week to £4,000 a week, so clearly the weak pound has helped their exports.”