Here, Anand Assi, the project director in charge of Pall-Ex’s European growth, tells Warehouse and Logistics News about further expansion and explains why the pallet network concept is proving to be so successful on the Continent.
When we started our expansion journey, many thought it would be an arduous task. However, we found that the sectors of manufacturing, pharma and healthcare, retail and demand for home deliveries were not so different abroad, and so our UK model was an easy for new partners to understand and implement.
In many countries, freight is presently moved on ‘groupage terms’. It is held until a full load is accumulated, meaning that the delivery times are erratic. Rates are calculated on a ‘weight and dimension’ basis making it difficult to predict costs. Pallet networks offer a unitary service with very specific service levels. The main differentiator is that instead of working on the traditional measure of dims and weights (which can become complicated and expensive at times), pallet networks offer customers a more specific service; determining a pallet footprint rate against differing height and weight dimensions.
In addition, pallet networks provide a strong “first and last mile” domestic solution, thus ensuring that the capillary collections and deliveries at the end of the international Line Haul are handled appropriately. This, coupled with a very comprehensive track and trace and service level management system, allows for a competitive offering.
Pall-Ex Italia was our first country partner, launching in 2009 and serving Italy from regional hubs in Milan and Naples. This was followed in June 2011 by Pall-Ex Iberia, which is situated in Madrid and services Spain, Portugal and the Balearic Islands where, for the latter, it is the only pallet network. In December 2011, Pall-Ex Romania launched, operating from its hub in Sibiu.
We certainly wont be slowing down when it comes to expansion in 2012 either. The search has already begun for a Principal National Partner in Turkey, which, alongside Romania, will provide the burgeoning Asian manufacturing economies with a convenient, efficient and secure gateway from Asia to (and from) Europe.
With our sights also set on Germany, France, Benelux, Poland and Scandinavia, we should be in a position to announce new European partnerships soon, moving us closer towards our ultimate ambition of creating the first Pan-European network.