The MT Top 100 largest operators in the UK run on an average margin of just 2.6%, and this comes after the industry became more profitable in 2012.In 2011, average return on sales was just 0.86% as operators struggled in a weak economy, but 2012 saw a major rebound.

This has corresponded with an increase in average turnover across the top operators as the industry finds itself in a stronger position.

DHL continued its reign as the largest operator, with a turnover four times larger than its nearest competitor – Wincanton.

In this year’s Top 100, published in full inside, we estimate that DHL Supply Chain, Express and Tradeteam had a combined turnover of £4.48bn in 2012, well above the £1bn of its nearest rival Wincanton.

However Wincanton’s second position is under threat from a resurgent Norbert Dentressangle, with a turnover of £999m.

Top 100 averages - 2012

Turnover £183m (2011: £175m)

Profit £4.06m (2011: £1.31m)

Return on sales 2.61% (2011: 0.86%)