Prospects for the transportation and distribution sector in the new year were given a boost today after a study of SMEs found that more than a third expect growth in 2013.

With SMEs and entrepreneurs seen by many as key to the countrys economic revival, research from The Co-operative Bank has revealed that 36% in transportation and distribution believe their sales and orders will rise next year.

The findings also show that almost half (45%) expect to see investment in their business, for example new equipment or improvement to premises. Some 36% expect to take on new staff.

Keith Alderson, Managing Director of Corporate and Business Banking at The Co-operative Bank, said: SMEs and entrepreneurs are widely acknowledged as vital to Britains economic recovery so these results are good news as we head in to 2013.

As the curtain closes on another tough year it seems many SMEs in the transportation and distribution sector are now looking forward with a cautious sense of optimism about the challenges for their businesses next year.

We see this entrepreneurial spirit day-in, day-out in our dealings with customers and Im not surprised that SMEs are adapting and exploring new markets to overcome the economic challenges.

Asked about the challenges facing their business in 2013, more then two thirds cited the current economic climate along with rising energy costs as their main concerns both with 64%.

Support from banks was regarded as the next main issue cited by 36%, followed by red tape and regulation for 27%.

The study also found that just 9% felt sales and orders would fall in 2013 although 27% said they had suffered a decline in 2012.

The study was carried out on the Banks behalf by YouGov.

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