Expect Distribution’s contracts division played a key role in boosting the firm’s profit last year after landing ten new major accounts, according to its latest annual results.

The Bradford-based logistics firm saw turnover leap by 17% to £28.4m (2017: £24.2m) and pre-tax profit rise by 14% to £1.4m (2017: £1.3m) in the year to 30 November 2018.

The strategic report to the annual results said the group’s distribution operations increased in the period by 14.12% to £25.2m.

It added that the contracts division had played a major part in this growth, with ten signed contracts by the end of the year, accounting for more than a quarter (28.5%) of distribution income.

The warehouse division also showed a strong performance in the period with year-on-year growth of more than 20%, the report added, accounting for over 10% of group turnover.

MD Neil Rushworth told motortransport.co.uk: “Last year’s performance was the seed to the significant growth we are expecting to see this year. It was a solid year all round.”

The family firm runs a fleet of 110 vehicles, with an additional contract fleet of 30 trucks.

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Rushworth attributed the company’s performance last year to the diversity of the business adding that the company’s warehousing and contracts divisions “was the key to our success, underpinned by our general distribution division”.

He said that the company’s customer base tended to be SMEs. “These are similar minded businesses - we understand their needs and what we offer them is better value and a personal service.”

He said the ongoing driver shortage and uncertainty surrounding Brexit was continuing to pose a challenge to the company this year.

“Brexit has not directly affected us as we have never relied on using drivers from outside of the UK but it has affected some of our customers operations,” he said.

The company’s apprenticeship scheme and its strategy to offer warehousing staff the opportunity to train to be HGV drivers has helped the company offset the driver shortage, with driver numbers at the firm up from last year, from 122 to 125 in the period.

The company is currently looking for a fifth warehouse as it continues to grow its business.

Rushworth said: “We have full commitment on our fourth warehouse which we opened earlier this year, with four or five new account contracts accounting for the bulk of that business and now we are planning to open a fifth warehouse in 2020,” he added.