EV Cargo is looking at cutting up to 52 drivers jobs at its depots in Leeds and Runcorn, as part of a major cost-cutting review of the group’s fleet assets and operations across the company.

The news follows reports from drivers at both depots that job cuts were on the cards. Both depots were formerly CM Downton sites, before the company was acquired by EV Cargo for £75m in 2018..

One drivertold MT: “We are facing mass redundancies across a lot of our depots, here at Leeds, at Runcorn (Preston Brook) and it sounds like across our other depots too.

“Many units have already been taken away and drivers are being sent home all the time as there is just no work to do.

“At Leeds we have averaged 50-plus drivers for years, but apparently they want to slash it to 18. Apparently 40 jobs to go at Runcorn too, out of around 100. Sounds terrible and a real shame considering how the Downton family built the business.”

An EV Cargo spokesman denied the company plans mass redundancies. He told MT the group is ”working hard” to avoid any redundancies and had succeeded in avoiding cutting jobs at other sites during the review by reallocating drivers.

He added that “a maximum of 26 drivers” could be made redundant at EV Cargo’s Leeds site and the same number at its Runcorn site.

In a statement EV Cargo told MT: ”Like all road transport operators, we are facing increased costs associated with fleet assets and are carefully considering ways to further enhance efficiency, fleet utilisation and ultimately sweat our assets.

“That includes looking at how our driver resource is structured to allow us to use vehicles more efficiently and enhance our network agility so that we can be even more responsive around customer needs as the marketplace changes.

“At other depots we’ve avoided redundancies by reallocating resource but we are still in the first stages of consultation at Leeds and Runcorn so the exact numbers of any job losses are not yet known. Alongside this review we are also investing in new double-deck trailers to help drive fleet utilisation further.”

In its most recent set of annual results for the year to 31 December 2021, EV Cargo delivered a 47.1% leap in gross profit to £144.5m and pre-tax profit rose from £6m in 2020 to £35.6m in 2021. EV Cargo said at the time that trading in 2022 remained strong and in line with expectations.

EV Cargo provides air and sea freight, road freight and contract logistics and associated value-added services. The company delivers around 4.2 million pallets of less-than truckload (LTL) road freight and 500,000 loads of full-truckload (FTL) road freight a year and operates over 3 million square feet of warehousing and  a fleet of around 400 trucks.