Turnover at Palletforce reduced by around 3% in 2022, amid a sector that saw its first year-on-year volume decline since 2009, new figures showed.

It said it had delivered a robust performance during the year despite high inflation and a macroeconomic slowdown, with a record number of new members signing up to the network.

Revenue was £142.8m, down from £147.1m in 2021 with pre-tax profit recorded as £6.6m (£9m).

“The road freight market in the UK saw demand softening across the board in the second half of 2022 as high inventory levels and reduced consumer confidence impacted on customer volumes,” The EV Cargo Group company said in a statement signed off by the board.

“The turnover decrease in 2022 was due to the decline in UK pallet volumes after the sharp increase in the prior year post-Covid lockdowns.

“Volumes were down 9.4% and this included two additional bank holidays; however, market share increased during the year.”

At the end of the trading period, Palletforce acquired Dobbs Logistics in East Sussex, an area where it said most of its competitors struggled with delivery capacity and service consistency: “The acquisition is another example of EV Cargo delivering against its strategy to have the best member in each postcode in its Palletforce less-than-truckload network,” it said.

Chief executive Mark Tapper added: “Caution remains on any future disruption, be it inflation, fuel and energy pricing and shortages in the supply chain.

“HGV driver availability and supply issues caused by conflict and an uncertain economy will continue but the Palletforce model is resilient, scalable and provides an alternative distribution platform to mitigate the effects of these industry issues.”