The current high level of economic activity in the UK pallet network sector confirms them as a flourishing part of British industry, a major resource for customers, an excellent place to invest and a business model that is being transplanted successfully to the rest of the world.

The networks’ remarkable strength ultimately comes down to the calibre of their member networks and service offerings. A case in point, UPN, the leading UK pallet network, continues to strengthen its quality driven network with the expansion of its comprehensive pallet range and the addition of new members nationwide.

Recent new members of Team UPN include MLH Logistics, DGG Transport, DEL Doncaster, Langdons Transport, Palletmaster, Middlegate Europe, Trafertir International Transport and Solstice Storage. “Our UPN Nationwide network of expert independent hauliers has never been better,” says UPN MD Dave Brown. “These new additions we have brought in to key postcode areas bring excellent credentials and service performance pedigrees. Our new members are assisting our market leading pallet network to achieve even more impressive service level performance.”

The networks’ senior management teams are a critical part of their success. Palletways UK has appointed a new MD, Rob Gittins, previously UK Sales and Commercial director, replacing Dave Walmsley. Rob Gittins joined Palletways in September 2007 as UK Sales Director.

Connectivity is another vital ingredient of the pallet networks’ success story and crucial for customers accessing the pallet networks. Fortec’s new Fortec Connect app aids operational efficiency and gives network visibility, from real time PoD to live delivery and collection updates and vehicle tracking in real-time.

The networks’ clear success has attracted outside investors, notably Hong Kong-based private equity EmergeVest, formed in 2013 by former HSBC investors Heath Zarin and Roger Moh. EmergeVest has been steadily building up a portfolio of UK logistics businesses including Adjuno, Allport Cargo Services, NFT Distribution, NR Evans and Palletforce. In their latest acquisition EmergeVest have bought CM Downton, the UKbased logistic group, from the Downton family in a £75 million deal. The members of the Downton family including Andy Downton, the MD, will stay on as the company’s senior management. Established in 1955, Downton has an annual turnover of £120m and employs 1,400 staff.

And finally, the pallet network formula for success has been exported over the years beyond the UK and Ireland where they originated, not just to Europe and the Middle East but as far afield as China. We await news of Palletforce’s plans to launch a Chinese division of Palletforce, which Chief Executive Michael Conroy said in October were well underway.