RT Keedwell Holdings is on track for a busy 2019 thanks to a “buoyant” order book, strong regional growth and a double-contract award at the Hinckley Point C nuclear power station project.
Speaking to motortransport.co.uk about its latest accounts for the year-ended 31 October 2018, the Highbridge, Somerset-based operator said it was confident it would continue to boost profitability, despite ongoing industry-wide challenges such as high operating costs, pressure on rates and driver recruitment.
Turnover for the holding group’s haulage operations during the period was £42.2m, dipping 0.9% on the previous year’s £42.6m. However pre-tax profit rose by 138.1% to £381,000 (2017: £160,000), with the latter partly due to disposal of freehold land and property.
Keedwell MD Jon White said: “The business has consolidated and is extremely stable in an increasingly cost-pressured industry.
“New business enquiries are buoyant, and we are looking forward to developing partnerships with existing and new customers to maximise network efficiency, utilising the growing RT Keedwell network.”
He added that regional distribution operations in both the South West and Scotland are performing robustly, with a new site opened in Grangemouth, Scotland earlier this year.
“Demand is high for regional distribution into what are considered ‘difficult’ geographical areas,” White added.
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In addition to growth with its existing customers and sectors, the group also sees the potential for expansion in its construction haulage operation, thanks to recent contract awards for the Hinckley Point C nuclear power station.
The first has seen the operator awarded a three-and-a-half year contract by Balfour Beatty for work connected with the building of three tunnel sections on the project.
New Renault T Range 460hp 6X2 tractor units with day cabs have been brought in for this, with volumes growing to a peak of around 30-40 loads per day at the site.
A second award at the project has seen RT Keedwell nominated by NNB (the Nuclear New Build Generation Company - a subsidiary created by EDF Energy) as the preferred freight consolidation provider for major contractors
“Effectively we are being promoted to all the tier one and tier two contractors as the primary haulier, which is great news and I know this going to gain momentum,” said White. “We're expecting huge growth in the business from this.”
Across the entire business, keeping a tight rein on operational costs and ensuring maximum fleet efficiency remains a core focus for the business.
White is keen to work closely with other “like-minded hauliers” to collaborate on operations where more efficiency is gained and is an active member of the Transport Association.
The company has also been working in partnership with its customers to improve fleet utilisation through offering out-of-hours deliveries and weekend slots.
It has also set up apprenticeships and career-development schemes to improve recruitment and retention of HGV drivers, as well as rolled out flexible hours and telematics technology to boost behaviour and performance behind the wheel.
White took on the role of MD after a management restructure following the death of company founder Ray Keedwell in June 2017. He works closely alongside Ray’s son Stuart Keedwell, the company's chairman.
RT Keedwell Holdings was ranked 65th in Motor Transport's Top 100 in 2018.