Royal Mail and DHL top the Motor Transport Top 100 once again, with acquisition activity in 2016 by Culina Group and Turners (Soham) seeing both rise up the annual ranking of road transport operators by turnover.

With £7.6bn of turnover;  £411m of pre-tax profit and 139,000 employees, road transport giant Royal Mail tops the chart.

DHL – comprising of its Supply Chain; TradeTeam and Express divisions ranks second (and that is without incorporating UK Mail – which it purchased in December 2016).

DPDgroup joins an exclusive club with £1bn of annual turnover for the first time – alongside Royal Mail; DHL; XPO Logistics and Wincanton.

DPD also has the best return on sales in the industry, at 15.6%.

There is every chance that UPS, growing rapidly in the UK, could join the £1bn turnover club in 2018, as could the combination of TNT and FedEx (which are yet to be incorporated into one trading entity at Companies House).

Globally, FedEx has been integrating TNT Express on a country by country basis, completing 64 counties in financial year 2017 and is moving into larger, more complex markets in 2018.

The fastest growth in turnover  on the list however is Redhead Freight up 129% year-on-year.  On 1 February 2016 Schenker AG purchased a 75% stake in Redhead Holdings, and subsequently the land division of Schenker UK was integrated into Redhead Freight - with the Redhead management targeted at eradicating the losses of the division and turning it into a profit.

Overall, there are some warnings in the Top 100 over the current state of the road transport sector: approximately one third (35) of the Top 100 saw year-on-year turnover fall and almost half (48) saw a year-on-year fall in pre-tax profit.

In 2016 the Motor Transport Top 100 average return on sales stood at 4.02%, in 2017 this has dropped to 2.95%.