Pallet network Palletforce, which is part of the EV Cargo group, has completed the divestment of its haulier members.

In a statement it revealed the sale of UK Freight Masters (UKFM) to TTT Logistics Group, which owns TPN member Allegro Transport and the Logistifix and Fleetfix businesses.

Palletforce said that after moving QTR Transport to EV Cargo’s CM Downton business earlier this year, it could now focus on its strategy of being the UK's premier pallet network.

Belvedere, Kent-based UKFM has been a Palletforce member for 14 years and was purchased by the network in March 2016 to secure service capability. Under the new ownership, UKFM will continue as a network member with all staff remaining in place.

QTR Transport near Newbury, Berkshire, was previously a Palletline member. It was purchased in 2016 and also operates as Palletforce’s southern hub. It is now known as Downton Thatcham.

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Palletforce chief financial officer Steve Back said: “Palletforce will continue to invest throughout its network and the purchase of UKFM three years ago helped us secure service capability for the long term in a strategic location.

“Our focus is on managing and developing the best pallet network, we are number one in the sector, and this transaction will allow us to concentrate fully on delivering the best quality, service and long-term growth opportunities to our members.

“With the backing of EV Cargo, we remain committed to market consolidation, which is inevitable and on the horizon.”

Ross Eggleton, who continues as a special adviser to EV Cargo but also became chief executive of TTT Logistics Group this month, said: “TTT Logistics Group is delighted to acquire UKFM from Palletforce, it’s a solid business situated in an influential area.” understands that Palletforce ended its 8% shareholding in network member Premier Logistics earlier this year too. Leicestershire-based Premier Logistics is currently trading under a company voluntary arrangement.

Wyvern CargoPalletforce 2019

Record results

Palletforce has hailed record turnover for the year to 30 September 2018.

Its newly published accounts for the period reveal turnover grew 10.9% to reach £116.4m (2017: £105m). Pre-tax profit of £394,000 (2017: £3.9m) was affected by exceptional costs relating to the QTR Transport and UKFM changes.

Operating profit before interest and tax was £4.5m (2017: £4.3m). The network moved 3.7 million pallets in the year, a 9% increase on 2017.

Michael Conroy, Palletforce chief executive, said: “The latest record figures are a result of our ability to continually deliver unrivalled investment, innovation and technology to provide the best possible quality, service and above-sector growth.

"Extending market-leading global services and unlocking revenue opportunities creates long-term security for our members and firmly places Palletforce as the number one distribution network across UK and Europe."

“The exceptional costs [recorded as £3.7m] relate to the investment in strategically important delivery capacity covered by QTR Transport and UKFM. The group restructuring results in Palletforce being an asset-light, member-operated network fit for the future.”