Delighted directors of the family firm Andrew, Richard and John Downton, collected the trophy from co-host Sean Lock. The Moreton Valance, Gloucestershire-based firm has achieved the remarkable feat of boosting turnover and doubling operating profit since the credit crunch struck in 2008 - a performance described as spectacular by one judge.
Other big winners on the evening were pallet networks Palletways (UK), which picked up the Best Use of Technology and Innovation awards for developing systems to improve the tracking and visibility of pallets moving through the network, and Palletline, which fought off stiff competition from rival networks to be named the inaugural Network of the Year.
The first set of the awards were presented by co-host Jimmy Carr, with the voice of the X-Factor Peter Dickson providing a running commentary.
Hermes UK also picked up two trophies on the night – Customer Care and the new Team of the Year award – after it impressed judges with entries describing its exceptional customer service and a complex IT system migration project.
DPD will have to find more room in its trophy cabinet after collecting the award for Fleet Van Operator of the Year as its Predict system continues to set the pace in express parcels.
Another new category for 2012 – Apprenticeship of the Year – intended to recognise schemes designed to bring young people into the industry was collected by Stobart Group, while the well-established Training Award went to Norbert Dentressangle for its management development programme.
The Low Carbon and Efficiency Award went to Keystone Distribution with its partner McDonald’s for the development of a closed loop system to collect used cooking oil from restaurants on delivery vehicles. The Partnership Award went to Yusen Logistics and BSH Home Appliances for a 12 year relationship that has gone from strength to strength. Paper distributor DS Smith Logistics collected the Safety in Operation Award for its work to reduce trailer accidents.
As well as top operators, the MT Awards also recognise outstanding individuals, and the Fleet Driver of the Year went to Jim Whitmore of Dairy Crest for his outstanding contribution to the operator’s safe and efficient driving initiatives. Andrew Davis of Carlsberg UK was named Fleet Engineer of the Year, while the Service to Industry Award went to Nikki King OBE, MD of Isuzu Truck.