Pollock (Scotrans) saw turnover climb in its first financial results since its acquisition of fellow Palletways member Gilbraith (TS) last February.

At the time of purchase, Pollock said it was expecting to see its turnover rise to more than £25m in the future. The company’s latest results, for the year ending 30 August 2014, show a turnover of £26.9m; a 24% increase on the previous year’s figure of £21.7m [albeit not a full year's contribution from Gilbraith].

Pollock attributed the increase in turnover to an enlarged customer base and a series of new contracts.

Pre-tax profit was down by 27%, from £420,387 to £306,021.

Operations Director Mark Jackson told Motortansport.co.uk: “Our margins are being squeezed and continue to be squeezed, primarily because there is ongoing pressure on rates all the time. Customers are expecting reductions on rates, not increases on rates.

“And with the challenges on labour at the moment with the driver shortage, that brings it’s own challenges, so I don’t see that there will be an improvement in the margin in the year ahead.”

Jackson said the transition of Gilbraith into Pollock’s hands - revealed in the accounts as having cost the acquirer £1.07m - had been a smooth one: "Gilbraith is a valued brand in the area so we’ve continued to protect the brand and  we’ve left the team very much in place there."

What Pollock has done, he added, is put more resources in place to “develop the general haulage side of the business".

"We go down there all the time, and have regular meetings with the team. There’s been one or two changes, but it’s been very much a case of investing in the business to bring it forward by putting additional vehicles in there for them and letting it run as Gilbriath," said Jackson.

Livery with a twist

Pollock chose to keep the Gilbraith branding on the company's vehicles, but with a slight twist. "The branding, if you look at one of the trucks, is the Pollock background with the Gilbraith name on it, so there’s a blend of the two liveries," he said.

Pollock is currently giving each of its drivers (at the enlarged group) a tablet-device to use while they're out on a job. The devices will serve a range of functions, including acting as tracking devices, monitoring driving style and vehicle fuel efficiency as well as communication.

Jackson said the company is not sure of the exact saving the scheme will provide at this time, but is confident that it will help cut operating costs.

He said: “We expect there will be some savings, some direct and some indirect, but it’s very difficult to put figures on it at the moment. We’re not expecting it to save a specific percentage, but we’re certainly expecting to make a saving. We’ll get a better idea as we roll into the project. It’s a big investment but we believe it’s the right way to go to take the business forward.”