GERRY Atkinson, owner of Maxi Caledonian, shared a picture yesterday of his first truck as he announced the latest results for the Ayrshire-based haulier.

The sight of a Volvo F86 may only be familiar to Herald readers of a certain vintage. But even if it is unrecognisable to readers of a younger generation, the image of the vehicle from a bygone era is a reminder of how much has changed in the world in the 40 years that Mr Atkinson has owned the firm.

And it is probably fair to say a considerable amount of that flux has been condensed into the last three years, with the shock of Covid followed by enormous supply-chain upheaval and cost inflation that persists to this day.

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Mr Atkinson cited high vehicle prices and material costs and longer lead times for new vehicles – the latter a legacy of lockdowns which slowed the supply of components required to make modern trucks and cars – as Maxi reported its financial results for the year to September 30.

Fortunately for Maxi Caledonian, the challenges were not enough to stop the company lifting turnover and profits in the period covered by the accounts. Maxi, which includes businesses in the haulage and construction sectors, increased profits before tax to £4.35 million from £4.16m, as turnover climbed to £89.2m from £80.6m.

And Mr Atkinson said he expects to report a further rise in profits and turnover year. Customers in the supermarket sector and commercial vehicle parts markets are returning to pre-pandemic levels of activity, and the lead-time for new vehicles is starting to shorten – another reason to be positive.

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But as is always the case in business, new challenges lurk. The Windsor Framework that aims to smooth trade between the British mainland and Northern Ireland will bring more bureaucratic change for Maxi, just a few short years after the red tape sparked by Brexit, and there is no concrete evidence sign yet that costs are coming down in a meaningful way.

However, it is fair to say that, after 40 years in the driver’s seat, Maxi will continue to be in safe hands with Mr Atkinson at the wheel.