Jack richards livery

Fakenham, Norfolk haulier Jack Richards & Son has reported a 56% rise in pre-tax profit, and £2.3m rise in turnover, for the year ending 31 May 2012.

The firm said the increase was down to a number of factors, including a slight hardening in rates, successful efforts to improve fuel consumption, a fortuitously-timed Christmas break and a number of new contracts that helped cut empty running.

Turnover at the vehicle operator rose almost 9% during the year, from £25.6m to £27.9m; pre-tax profit rose from £570,000 to £893,000.

“The rise in profits has been the result of good management of a number of seemingly small things that have all impacted successfully - and a degree of good fortune,” said Victoria Banks, the firm’s finance director.

“Also, we managed find some new business that was both geographically and type-suited to our predominantly curtainsided operations and this was work that cut our empty running significantly,” said Banks.

Both staff and vehicle numbers rose during the year. The firm took on 25% more drivers as a result of new work and a change to a four-on, four-off shift pattern during the year, said Banks, while the fleet increased by 10% for the second year running and now stands at over 200 vehicles.

The firm’s membership of the Harlequin Logistics consortium, formed in June 2011, did not have much effect on its results, however, despite a large deal being signed between Kelloggs and Harlequin early this year.

“Volumes have stayed much the same as when we worked direct with Kelloggs, although we have benefited from Harlequin’s central management services with the customer, which have freed up management time,” said Banks.