Reed Boardall endured one of the most difficult years in its 30 year history that saw it sink into the red amid Covid lockdowns, driver shortages, a criminal cyber attack and bad debt.

However, the Yorkshire-based temperature-controlled transport business said it was confident better times now lay ahead and it had established a strong position in the marketplace.

Its latest financial results showed that the company still managed to increase turnover by 6.2% in the year ending 31 March 2022, to £74.2m.

But it made a pre-tax loss of £4.1m following the previous year’s £705,000 profit.

It said it had battled the impact of the pandemic’s lockdowns and staff self-isolating, along with spiralling labour, fuel and energy costs, as well as the much publicised HGV driver shortage.

Chief executive Marcus Boardall said: “There’s no question that it has again been a very difficult year for the industry.

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“We have seen the challenges of rising employment costs and inflation forcing up prices for most operators, while coping with continued disruption as a result of reduced staff levels due to Covid, along with the problem of driver shortages.

“Looking to the future, the pandemic disruption appears to be settling, and we are starting to bear the fruits of the proactive initiatives we have undertaken to establish our own in-house team of drivers – for example, over the last year, we have trained over 20 new recruits from scratch at our own academy, enabling them to become qualified drivers.”

Boardall added that its financial performance during the trading period was heavily impacted by a cyber attack, which left its IT systems out of operation for six days.

He said the costs associated with business interruption, loss of revenue and subsequent recovery were “substantial”.

The company also had to write-off a debt when a large customer collapsed into administration.

Sarah Roberts, Reed Boardall finance director, said: “Given the myriad of pressures on the business over the last 12 months, we have once again put in a resilient performance and are pleased to say that we are now on a much more even keel.”