Pallet networks have not adjusted their member-to-member rates for too long, the boss of  Pallet-Track has said.

Speaking to MT, Nigel Parkes revealed his 75 members had supported a bid, with 80% in favour,  to increase the internal rate paid for deliveries within the network, something he believes is long overdue.

“Although the industry is continuing to thrive, one of the main problems we’re currently facing is that driver recruitment is at an all-time low while orders are increasing. In the past two months we’ve seen the same amount of growth as we have in the previous 14 months and it’s no longer sustainable to keep operating at the same prices as back in 2004.

“Put simply, to fill the positions and continue to offer the same levels of high service that our customers have come to expect, we need to increase driver salaries, and this can only be done by enforcing a nominal rates increase across the network,” said Parkes.

Parkes said the network was proud to have a focus on quality, which ultimately costs, and urged rivals and the wider road transport sector not to shy away from making the case for their worth.

The Pallet-Track boss added that the move would protect valuable members in areas of the UK, for example coastal regions, that will never be the major inputters into the network, due to the natural export/import balance that exists in the general economy in those regions.

“The industry cannot be driven on the downward pressure on price. The maths is the same for all the networks – although price increases are not palatable in the short term, without them there has to be an industry-wide impact upon quality of service,” said Parkes.