What is a pallet network?

A pallet network is an organisation of contributing professional haulier members, shareholders or licensees.  The hauliers provide cost-effective, nationwide, next-day freight delivery services through planned routes and distribution centres.

What are the steps of a pallet network?

Step 1
Hauliers collect local pallets, picking them up and delivering them to their designated depot.  This is called a Regional Distribution Centre (RDC). 

Step 2
All pallets that fall outside of the haulier’s agreed area are loaded and delivered to the national hub, usually (but not always) central to the UK (e.g. Birmingham).  This is called a Centralised Distribution Centre (CDC).

Step 3
Once at the CDC hub, trucks are unloaded and the goods then reloaded onto the appropriate haulier’s truck and ‘trunked’ to a regional depot close to the final mile.  This may even be close by and be essentially drayage.

Step 4
The loaded trunk vehicles return to the haulier’s depot, ready for local delivery.

Step 5
Hauliers local to the area deliver goods from the depot to the final destination, which might include retailers and franchises. 

What are the benefits?

The benefits of using a pallet network range from the vast transport hub coverage to a more-efficient route plan.  Pallet networks allow UK hauliers to pick up and deliver goods as directly and cost-effectively as possible without having to be responsible for multiple counties of produce.  The network ensures that haulage drivers can rely on other members are vetted, meaning that they are able to deliver goods safely and reliably.

Thinking of joining a pallet network?

If you are prepared to deliver around the UK, joining a pallet network might be an option for you. You can collect pallets of 250kg in your local area to be delivered the next day by 9am, and being part of a pallet network will guarantee you delivery work that Is arranged between you and other members.

According to the Association of Pallet Networks, a UK customer is usually within six miles of a pallet network member.

What options do I have? 

There are a number of pallet networks around the UK which can provide you with a service that fits you. 

Here are a few that FORWARDER recommends:
The Association of Pallet Networks
The Pallet Network
Best Food Logistics (previously known as Bidvest Logistics)

Rachel Jefferies, Editor, FORWARDER magazine