ONE of Scotland’s longest established courier businesses is poised to rack up its busiest year yet, but has warned that fuel price hikes could erode any profit from low-margin public-sector contracts.
Eagle Couriers, which was founded 30 years ago, has bucked an industry backdrop of cutbacks and liquidations, including the high-profile failure of City Link, which entered administration last Christmas Eve with the subsequent loss of hundreds of jobs.
Eagle said 2015 has proven to be a “particularly busy period” for the West Lothian-headquartered business. It is on track to increase the total number of consignments delivered, breaking the one million mark for the first time in its history, with revenue up 10 per cent on 2014.
The 100-strong fleet of drivers have made close to 20,000 deliveries a week, in part due to its role delivering significant public sector contracts.
This year has also seen the company, whose 3,500-strong client base includes the BBC and the NHS, invest in new purpose-built headquarters in Bathgate, while maintaining its bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Co-director Fiona Deas said the firm had been “working tirelessly” to create a reliable and adaptable service despite the challenging economic backdrop.
“The difficulty we face now is that many contracts are being operated along very thin margins – an increase in costs such as fuel could suddenly cause huge problems in the industry. This looks set to be the biggest challenge in the coming years,” she said.
The past months have seen Eagle secure a number of high-profile contracts, including the transportation and logistics behind the general election voting papers and ballot boxes.
The firm also continued “sensitive and demanding” work with national examination boards, organising the delivery and collection of papers from almost every school in mainland Scotland.
Fellow director Jerry Stewart said: “The courier and logistics industry has changed dramatically and it has been tough at times – something that is evident with the collapse and cutbacks seen with some of our notable UK-wide competitors.”