Stephen Sanderson Transport revealed increased customer confidence and a tight rein on costs created a significant boost in turnover and profit last year.

The Market Harborough haulier increased its turnover by 17.6% to £9.9m (2012:£8.4m) for the year ended 31 December 2013, while pre-tax profit increased to £497,000 (2012: £307,000).

Ed Sanderson, commercial director, told that growth has come from across all the sectors the company operates across, with its building sector customers, in particular, experiencing a “phenomenal” boom, as well as strong demand from retail and manufacturing.

He added that the company had also experienced new pallet sector wins through its membership of Palletline, as well as scooping the network’s Medium Depot of the Year and Depot of the Year awards last summer.

The company decided not chnage its 60-vehicle mainly Euro-5 Scania fleet during 2013, with an upgrade to Euro-6 trucks planned during 2015 instead. Sanderson added that the firm’s in-house maintenance and training department also helped keep costs under control: “We run a very slick operation and are not admin heavy, which a lot of distribution companies can be.”

This year has seen the business already running 20% ahead of last year, with Christmas peak 2014 on-track to be a success. “We haven’t experienced growth like this since 2007/2008. During that time we mothballed some vehicles in the recession. They are all back on the road now. We’ve taken on 10 – 15 new drivers in the last 12 months, so we feel we are coping quite well [with the upturn],” said Sanderson.

He added that customers are also now adapting to the changing marketplace. “Gone are the days when you would have one or two lorries waiting around for same-day jobs, but we just can’t allow for that these days. Customers are realising they need to be a bit more organised.”

Sanderson believed that rates will now need to rise accordingly across the haulage sector to sustain growth, particularly in the pallet sector.

The next 12 months will see the company investing in its warehousing and fulfilment division, which is predicted to be a strong area for 2015.