Pressure on rates has led to Felixstowe-based container specialist Macintyre Transport reporting a 9% fall in pre-tax profit despite a near 11% rise in turnover.

Turnover in the year to 30 April 2012 rose from £19.3m to £21.4m due to organic growth, said chairman Harvey Macintyre; pre-tax profit, however, fell from £895,000 to £813,000.

Much of the profit slide was attributable to stagnant rates, said Macintyre. “We have been very proactive in taking costs out of the business since 2008, but revenue levels [per job] have stayed static or reduced. The lack of increase in our tariffs has started to catch up with us,” he told

Cost-cutting has centred around “all the basic housekeeping issues”, he said,  including utilisation and management of the firm’s 137-strong fleet and efforts to cut fuel consumption.  “We’ve had to be on top of our game – and that’s fairly universal in our sector,” Macintyre said. “If you look at those companies in our sector that are still about and still performing, it’s because they’ve got a very strong management team that’s turning over every pebble of cost and seeing what’s underneath it.”

Turning to the current financial year, Macintyre said it would probably be “fairly similar” to the last two but that he anticipated a rise in turnover of around £1m, thanks to the additional business that should result from the arrival in April of an extra six vehicles.