The pallet network sector is ripe for consolidation and Palletforce may play its part,  CEO Michael Conroy hinted.

Speaking to ahead of the opening of its superhub in Burton-upon-Trent, Conroy said it was common sense that the eight-strong pallet network sector needed consolidation, suggesting there might only be four or five in the marketplace in the next few years.

“Whether we do something or not. It is going to happen,” said Conroy. “So we can let it happen and watch, or lead it.”

Asked if Palletforce, which was bought 16 months ago by Heath Zarin’s EmergeVest in a £30m deal, was in talks with rivals regarding an acquisition, Conroy said he could not comment.

However, he said his network’s ownership meant it was well placed to make a move.

“We are extremely well funded and supported and there’s an appetite to increase,” he said.

Conroy said with hauliers in some postcodes already dual or triple running in other networks – albeit without the networks’ official blessings – the issue of duplication could be managed.

“You can learn more from other people’s failures than successes,” he said. “City Link and Target Express made £20m profit each – both very good operations – [and then] they merged and there was the Christmas disaster [administration in 2014].

“It is a risk and there are a lot of historical examples of consolidation not working,” said Conroy. “But that boils down to planning, execution and management. Our sector is crying out for consolidation.”