Freight customers must prepare themselves for significant rate rises in the freight transport sector, warns Paul Sanders, chairman of The Association of Pallet Networks (APN). The well-documented driver shortage is leading to spiralling wage costs. This is in addition to: increased costs from the need for customs clearance staff following Brexit; higher wages for forklift truck drivers and warehouse staff; additional training costs as hauliers pick up the cost of licence acquisition training; unexpected fuel costs as hauliers struggle to get bunkered fuel deliveries; increased insurance costs as hauliers face higher premiums and excesses from employing younger or less experienced drivers. “Freight customers must be aware that transport costs can only rise and that in order for road transport companies to remain sustainable and be able to invest in the future, they must pass these costs onto their customers,” says Sanders.

This article was first published in the November 1st 2021 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.

In a year like no other with Brexit, Covid 19, an unprecedented driver shortage, and a huge spike in the demand for logistics support services across the UK and Ireland, UPN has continued to grow strongly both financially and in terms of reputation. In a market sector which itself has grown in reliability and reputation, UPN has established a clear niche as a network driven for, and by its membership. UPN is also renowned in the sector for its bespoke high quality IT support systems that have enabled the company to build, retain, and develop a strong and stable member network across the UK and Northern Ireland.

Pall-Ex Group has announced its partnership with innovative addressing system what3words in what is a sector first for the pallet network industry. The two businesses are united in the mission to improve the delivery experience of thousands of customers each day, as the partnership enables customers to add a what3words address to their delivery information, a first in the world of pallet delivery. Pall-Ex’s Group’s bespoke Core Operational System, Nexus, which provides sector-leading freight management technology to members of both the Pall-Ex and Fortec networks, will integrate what3words.

Wiltshire haulier Downes Transport has said a return to the Pallet-Track network is like “coming home to the family” after signing a contract to cover the SP postcode. Wolverhampton-based Pallet-Track said it was thrilled that family-owned Downes, which is based in Amesbury, had decided to rejoin after a short spell with another network. The business is located at the Boscombe Down Business Park on the A303, linking the South West and London, and offers pallet distribution services to anywhere in the world.

Express distribution network Palletforce is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a multi-million pound investment pledge. For the next 12 months the company’s investments will further develop distribution services, pioneer technology, embrace sustainability and drive continued collaboration throughout its membership. That has begun with a £3 million investment in a full replacement of its forklift truck fleet, loaded with Palletforce’s award-winning technology and patented weighing, scanning and imaging capability.

Despite serious challenges and increasing costs, the pallet networks are still innovating and expanding.

George Simpson

Features Editor

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