Regional hauliers will not survive in the long term if their only income is from pallet network membership, according to Simon Nelson, MD of Nelson Distribution.

The Derbyshire business joined Palletforce early this year, along with Lockwood Haulage, after a reorganisation of the network’s East Midlands region saw the departure of H Beardsley.

Nelson, who spent 16 years at Exel Logistics before joining his family’s firm in 2004, did a masters degree in logistics and supply chain management basing his thesis on pallet networks in 2008.

“A lot of hauliers were focused on pallet networks and by doing that a lot of small businesses had survived for the past 10 years,” he said.

“But margins were poor and balance sheets weak. Consolidation in this market will speed up in the next five years and hauliers focused purely on pallet networks will have a tough time.”

■ See Motor Transport 4 November for more detail.