Airfreight specialist Saints Transport saw both turnover and profit rise in 2013, despite what it described as a “challenging year” for its sector.

For the year-ending 31 December 2013 turnover rose 2.4% to £24.9m at the Heathrow-based firm, from £24.3m in the previous year, while pre-tax profit rose to £577,495, from £343,447 in the previous year.

Chief executive Steve Beeches said: “2013 proved a challenging year, with the aircargo sector weighed down with specific security requirements all of which require significant expense to comply with airport access  rules and regulations.

“However we were satisfied with a continued improvement year on year and autumn 2013 was a key moment when we won our fifth consecutive five year contract with the UK’s leading airline group,” he added.

Beeches said that 2014 has seen a healthy growth in the customer base at Saints and, at the current rate, he forecast an increase in turnover of around 7%.

He also revealed that Saints had approached by “one of the big four supermarkets” for what he described as “ad hoc traction requirements”.

“This is developing into a strong relationship,” he said, adding that: “margins, of course, continue to be depressed but volumes see significant improvements.”