The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit were highlighted as two of “numerous reasons" why air freight specialist Saints Transport was forced to close its doors this month, according to the company’s joint administrators.
The privately owned company, founded in 1968, was based at Heathrow and specialised in high value security loads, temperature controlled transport, hanging garment carriers, nationwide airside capabilities, art logistics, events work and dedicated European haulage. It employed around 350 staff and operated a fleet of 200 trucks.
On 1 August, after struggling for some months with the impact of Brexit and the pandemic on its business, the company appointed Paul Ellison and David Taylor of Reading-based KRE Corporate Recovery as its administrators.
In a statement issued this week joint administrator Paul Ellison said: “It is with great regret that following our appointment we had no option but to cease trading and make the majority of the employees redundant. The company’s main contract terminated on administration and has been awarded elsewhere.
“Since appointment, the joint administrators, with the assistance of their agents Lambert Smith Hampton, have secured a sale of the company’s fleet of tractor units to an independent third party.
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He added: “There were numerous reasons for the insolvency but not least the impacts of the pandemic and Brexit.”
The company had been battling for some time with the challenges that Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic had created for the air freight sector.
In its latest annual results to 31 December 2020, published in September last year, the family firm revealed that turnover was £12.3m for the year, compared to £11.3m in the six months to 31 December 2019, with pre-tax losses standing at £167,006 - the same amount as reported for the six months to 31 December 2019.
In its strategic report to the annual results it had warned that “given that a degree of uncertainty exists within the economy as a result of Covid-19, and the greater impact this could potentially have on the haulage and aviation industry in which [the company’s] main customer operates, there is a material uncertainty surrounding both the recovery time and the impact of any further restrictions”.
Despite the directors stating in the strategic report that they were confident the company would survive these challenges, on 1 August Saints Transport was forced to call in the administrators.
A request for comment from the company’s directors has yet to receive a response.