Pallet-Track said an initial impact on its sales volumes during the first two months of lockdown in March had been reversed and its activity levels were already exceeding original forecasts.

The comment came in its financial results for the year ended 31 January 2020, which also revealed that the network increased revenues by 11.6% to £105.4m during the period.

Pre-tax profit was down 31% to £3.5m.

Hub revenue grew 5.7% during the year due to an increase in pallets being transported.

Pallet-Track added that Covid-19 had “introduced material uncertainty into the economy” and the risk remained that customers and potential new customers could reduce their activity levels.

However, it said that the current increase in activity levels was expected to continue.

The results were published as the network’s members ramped up communications to customers of the new customs protocols for businesses moving goods between the UK and Ireland after 1 January.

Roche Logistics Group, Woodside Distribution and Aztek Logistics are promoting a ‘Brexit checklist’ to ensure firms are ready for the forthcoming changes.

They said that as well as new complex customs arrangements, businesses dealing with Irish customers must also ensure shipments only travel on heat-treated pallets, as the UK will fall outside of an EU-wide exemption to this rule.

Pallet-Track said the pallet industry had been in discussions with the government to ensure there are enough heat-treated pallets available to prevent unnecessary supply chain delays.

Damien Roche, MD at Roche Logistics Group, said: “We are ready, but businesses are going to see a financial impact for customs clearance which could be as much as 80 Euros, which is likely to impact volumes particularly in the early months of next year.”

Nigel Parkes, Pallet-Track MD, said: “Business cannot be allowed to slow down as a result of not having the right paperwork so it is important that every one of our customers moving goods to Ireland or the rest of Europe are up to speed on the necessary changes.”