Palletline said the palletised freight market remained highly competitive as latest results for 2023 showed revenue remained broadly unchanged.

However, it told Motor Transport it was a positive performance, “against a backdrop of continued investment and ever-increasing market challenges”.

In the 12 months to 31 December 2023 the pallet network turned over £197.4m compared with £301.1m in the previous 18 months.

Palletline extended its accounting period following a review of its internal processes in 2022 when it decided to change how it prepared its financial results in order to run from January to December.

Pre-tax profit for the most recent trading period was £1.7m and group operating profit increased to £2.1m.

Turnover for its logistics subsidiaries during the year was £50m, marginally lower than the £70.1m in the 18 months ending 31 December 2022.

EBITDA increased by 12% to £4.8m and the cash balance showed an improvement of £2.1m (£1.5m).

In a review of its business Palletline said: “The contribution from the logistics businesses reduced during the year due to increasing costs of fuel, agency drivers and energy.

“The group has spent considerable time and resource to manage costs and deliver business improvements.

“Early indications in 2024 are positive.”

In May, the network said it had achieved full membership and was no longer relying on subcontractors, which significantly reduced its operational costs.

Graham Leitch, Palletline chief executive, said: “2023 has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years our sector has faced, however, the stability and robustness of our member-owned network has shone through, enabling us to deliver a strong performance.

“To be the trusted leader in palletised freight distribution, setting new industry standards in safety, service and sustainability whilst fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration will continue to be our goal.

“Whilst the contribution from our logistics businesses has reduced due to increasing operational and energy costs, the group has devoted considerable time and resource to manage costs and deliver business improvements.

“This is already paying dividends and the indications for the coming year are looking positive with a number of commercial opportunities in the pipeline,” he added.