Pall-Ex has bought two of its long-standing members to prevent the network losing them as their owners retire.

It has bought Shears Brothers, which joined the network in 1997. It has also purchased the logistics arm of Essex-based Bowden Transport, which joined in 1999 and will now trade as Bowden Logistics Services.

Shears Brothers will maintain its coverage of the BH, DT, GY, JE and SP postcodes, and Bowden will continue to cover the IG, RM, SS, CM and E areas for the network.

Pall-Ex MD Kevin Buchanan said that the acquisition of the companies because of retiring owners was a sector-wide challenge linked to the industry's aging population.

He told "Both companies were acquired due to retiring owners, which is an example of the current state of the nation in terms of the transport industry."

Buchanan added that Pall-Ex wasn't actively seeking further acquisitions of operators, but that "in particularly challenging geographical areas we, like other pallet networks, will acquire certain members if no other quality haulier option is available in order to protect our quality service offering".

Network founder Hilary Devey said that the two companies had played a “critical role” in the network in the last two decades, and that she was excited to see how the company could help them achieve their “ambitious growth plans”.

Bowden group chief executive Roy Bowden said the transition was going “extremely well” and its customers were happy with the progress being made.

Shears Brothers depot principle Andy Roberts said that it had not only maintained existing customers since the acquisition but had also gained new business.