Scottish distribution firm M&H Carriers has hailed a year of “incredible growth” after online ordering soared to unprecedented levels.

The company, which trades primarily out of Inverness and operates 26 HGVs from four bases, also expanded its Highlands and Islands operation in 2021, creating over 100 jobs in the process.

Fraser Maclean, M&H MD, said: “Coming into 2021, there was a lot of uncertainty.

“However, we’ve experienced a year of incredible growth – thanks to the dedication of our team, and our customers who have stuck by us.

“In 2021 we doubled our staff – in turn, almost doubling our turnover.

“As well as recruiting new drivers and warehouse operatives, we’ve expanded our management team with a new general manager in our Inverness depot, a customer services manager, and a continuous improvement manager to ensure we’re always focusing on the future of the business.”

Maclean said the pandemic had demonstrated how vital the haulage industry was to the running of the country and he thanked his drivers for ensuring deliveries reached their destinations during an unpredictable time.

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During the period, one of the company’s biggest investments was the opening of a new Glasgow depot, serving Argyll, with further satellite depots in Oban and Tarbert, as well as an additional five across the Highlands.

It said levels of two-man deliveries of large and bulky items had increased, including for national brands such as B&Q, and the signing of new contracts had boosted its fleet to over 50 vehicles, including 10 electric vans for last-mile deliveries.

Maclean said: “In November, I was invited to join a panel discussion at COP26 focusing on the steps SMEs can take to decrease their carbon footprint.

“It was a huge honour to be involved in an event of this scale and it made me realise that our goals in business have to be bigger than focusing on tomorrow’s deliveries.

“We need to be looking at the way we generate and consume power; the efficiency of our buildings and vehicles and the sustainability of our business as a whole.

“When we committed to becoming the first delivery firm in the Highlands to introduce electric vehicles to its fleet, many thought it was just a pipe dream,” he added.

“But operationally, it’s been a huge success and it’s been a real hit with our customers.”