Newspapers are still arriving too close to their cut-off time to allow for timely delivery to retailers from Smiths News’ Birmingham depot.

That was the message from the NFRN at an industry summit it held last week, with data showing 30% of all newspapers arrived within 30 minutes of cut-off in the second week of January.

Publishers said closures on the M1 for roadworks had meant drivers had been having to use a slower route on the M40. 

The NFRN’s head of news operations Peter Williamson said: “If you know you are likely to be 20 minutes late then perhaps the process needs to start 20 minutes earlier.”

Northern & Shell’s head of circulation, marketing and production, Paul Goddard, said the publisher is paying more than £300 a night for an extra vehicle to make sure the Express and Star arrive in good time.