Cautious optimism for transport SMEs

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Transport SMEs are cautiously optimistic about the current economic outlook, with 20 per cent expecting a steady recovery and a further 30 per cent feeling prosperity will come, but only slowly.

Concerns remain among many; however, with 30 per cent worried that the UK could slip into decline again and 15 per cent still to see a true recovery; 5 per cent feel the economy is worsening.

In terms of trading conditions, 15 per cent say they are prospering but over a quarter 27 per cent say it’s worse than ever. Half say they have seen no difference compared to 12 months ago.

The results are based on the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey of close to 1,000 SMEs across the UK conducted by GMI on Close Brothers’ behalf.

“Transport firms face a number of factors that are preventing them from growing, ranging from fuel price fluctuations and lack of drivers to increased regulation and insurance costs,” said John Fawcett, CEO of the transport division. “Haulage firm owners are finding it tougher than most of the other sectors we operate in.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, over two thirds of businesses (68 per cent) expect performance to remain static, while 15 per cent predict growth; 10 per cent contraction with the remainder unsure.

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