There is no sign of growth in the pallet sector slowing despite a “difficult trading climate”, according to the Association of Pallet Networks (APN).

The association’s figures for Q1 2017 show that its members moved more than 5.9 million pallets in the period, 7.2% higher than Q1 2016.

APN chairman Paul Sanders said its members were seeing year-on-year growth across their businesses, with a 7% increase in next day volumes, 8.7% growth in half pallets and 6.5% for quarter-pallet volumes.

Sanders said: “We are seeing no signs of the growth trend abating, and in fact, despite a difficult trading environment, members are seeing growth across all their services.”

However he added that the increasing volumes handled by the network would not have a negative effect on their service levels.

“Thanks to robust processes and quality operations, this surge in demand hasn’t had a detrimental effect on the quality of the pallet sector offer; members’ service levels remain high, averaging 97.3% since we began our benchmarking service.”

APN also said its members’ trunking trailer utilisation stood at almost 80% in Q1, and Sanders said it was “proud of [its] green credentials”.

The Health and Safety Executive is currently working on updated guidance in regards pallet delivery weights.