One of the biggest changes to this year’s Top 100 list is the appearance for the first time of Ceva Logistics. Formerly TNT’s logistics arm, and occupying the number five slot, it was disposed of last year, and it is by no means the only unfamiliar name. In 16th place is DSV, created out of DFDS Transport and Frans Maas.


Turnover Latest£141,089,320
Turnover Previous Year£106,954,143
Profit Latest£2,463,778
Profit Previous Year£2,705,568
Employees Latest1,459
Employees Previous Year1,286
Number of Trucks482
Number of Trailers652
Number of Depots20
Sales per Employee£103,855
Change in Sales per Employee-1.28%
Profit per Employee£2,766
Change in Profit per Employee-4.06%
Return on Sales2.78%

Logistics behemoths DHL and Wincanton are in first and second place yet again, with TNT itself at number three, above Kuehne + Nagel, Ceva Logistics, and Christian Salvesen. The last-named company will, by next week, be wholly-owned by Norbert Dentressangle, turning the French company into one of the UK transport industry’s key players. At the time of writing, Baylis and Culina Logistics are in the process of merging.

It is also an industry that continues to witness casualties. Amtrak slid into administration at the start of the year, but was acquired by Netfold and is continuing to trade. UFD ended up in the hands of administrators too, and was acquired by Ramage Distribution. Grim tidings can invariably be balanced by more encouraging news. City Link and Turners (Soham), for instance, deserve a big round of applause for their impressive return-on-sales figures, as do Pentalver Transport, Knowles (Transport) and Fergusons (Blyth).

With high fuel prices thanks to extortionate tax levels, not to mention growing environmental pressures, it could of course be argued that any transport business that manages to survive and make a modest margin in today’s tough trading climate is doing remarkably well.

Those that are doing rather better than the rest are those that have the courage to pass their rising costs on to customers. There is no such thing as a free ride.

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