The general public sees the pallet networks’ members’ vehicles every day on Britain’s roads and motorways, but few people outside the industry are aware of the extent to which the networks reduce traffic congestion and pollution by reducing the numbers of lorries returning empty after deliveries. Or for that matter, how much they contribute to the economy.

However, the business community does appreciate the networks’ efforts. As reported in our news pages, Palletforce received the Royal seal of approval for a second time on October 5th, when The Princess Royal returned to officially open their state-of-theart £50m distribution facility. Eight years ago Princess Anne opened Palletforce’s original distribution hub in Burton upon Trent. Since then the company’s staff has grown from 80 to 400 and its turnover from £8m to £100m. Since EmergeVest bought Palletforce in 2015 it has invested over £65m in infrastructure, technology and people.

In other network news, Pallet- Track recently featured in the London Stock Exchange’s 2017 list of ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Europe.’ The only pallet network to be included, Pallet-Track has demonstrated consistent year-onyear growth since it was founded in 2004. Comprising over 90 member companies, the £85 million turnover business handles an average 13,000 pallets per night at its 270,000 sq ft Wolverhampton hub.

Pallet networks are very much ‘people’ businesses, with the senior managers having a strong influence. Trevor Ellis, Palletline’s Chairman of 11 years, is stepping down to be replaced by Jim Welch of Welch’s Transport, but will remain on the board. He was instrumental in some of the network’s most strategic advances in the last decade, which not only saw the business grow despite the global recession, but emerge the strongest member owned pallet network, having stayed true to the original business model.

The pallet networks are consistently big investors in technology. UPN recently launched “SmartPOD,” a unique new multiplatform Live Signature Capture App enabling UPN members to consistently provide 100% live signature capture. The SmartPOD is available for both Android and Apple smart phones, enabling UPN to maximise Live Signature Capture. Six months in development, SmartPOD is UPN’s third generation Live Signature Capture App.

Finally, as well as achieving high service levels, the pallet networks also like to show their caring side. Somerset-based logistics firm Just Vans recently joined forces for the third consecutive year with other members of the Palletways network to lend logistical support and deliver goods to the annual BBC Children in Need ‘CarFest’ charity events. Just Vans, Telford-based KRL, Newtonabbey-based Montgomery Transport and Andover-based AET Transport, all members of Palletways, teamed up to form a transport chain for Children in Need, carrying merchandise from Market Harborough, Leicestershire to the Pudsey shop in CarFest North at Bolesworth Castle, Cheshire and CarFest South at Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire.