The administrator handling Crewe-based NLH Logistics said the haulier battled major increases in fuel prices, high levels of driver accidents and even pest control issues at its depot before it collapsed.

Insolvency practitioners at Dow Schofield Watts in Warrington were appointed to NLH Logistics on 17 March, however in a report to creditors the administrator said it had been informed the firm ceased trading in November 2022 and its business, assets and employees had already been transferred to connected firm NLH Express.

The report said Covid-19 had a significant impact on its trading performance three years ago, but that an increase in demand for delivery services during mid- to late 2020, as well as the haulier securing new business within the farming industry, meant that for the year ending January 2021 its turnover increased significantly to £2.5m and it made a profit of £248,000.

But then the following year, NLH Logistics experienced soaring fuel prices which it was unable to pass on to customers.

“The company also experienced a high level of driver accidents, resulting in an increase in maintenance and repair costs and some vehicles were left inoperative due to lack of parts as a result of the war in Ukraine,” the administrator said.

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“In late 2021, the company experienced pest control issues with its Wrexham premises. This led to customers removing their goods from the premises, leaving the business paying rent on a largely empty warehouse and turning this part of the business from profit to generating a monthly loss of approximately £6,000.

“The company’s financial statements for the year ending 31 January 2022 reported an increased turnover of £3,188,393. However, the company suffered a loss after tax of £37,876.”

NLH Logistics entered into a time to pay arrangement with HMRC in respect of its tax arrears, but this fell into default “in or around September 2022.”

On 23 January this year, a winding-up petition was issued against the haulier by Fortec Distribution, which Dow Schofield said was owed £86,034 at the time.

The administrator added that it could not guarantee the accuracy of the information it had extracted from NLH’s books and records and, referring to the transfer of the business to NLH Express on 18 November 2022, it said: “No consideration was paid by NLH Express in respect of the business and assets transferred. The joint administrators and their agents have been carrying out investigations to determine what assets were transferred and to seek to recover payment in respect of the full value of those assets.”

The haulier held a licence authorising 15 HGVs and five trailers running out of a Marshfield Bank operating centre.