Palletforce will begin work on a £20m “super hub” next to its existing Burton upon Trent site this year.

Signalling a year of investment following EmergeVest’s £30m purchase of the pallet network in 2015, the new hub will stand on land next to its home at Callister Way. The purpose-built facility will link to its existing hub and be online by early 2017.

The hub will double pallet capacity on-site, from about 15,000 pallets a night to 30,000. Once complete, Palletforce said it would be the largest drive-through facility of its type in Europe.

Heath Zarin, MD of EmergeVest – which also owns NFT – told MT: “This is a pretty big deal. We’re going to create a super hub. We’re going to have the largest facility. And we think it is an operational advantage and a competitive advantage.

“It’s not just an extension of the site. It’s basically replicating the site next door. So we will have by far the largest capacity in the industry.”

Palletforce chief executive Michael Conroy said that with the network set to celebrate its 15th anniversary in August, the development was part of the new chapter at the business. “EmergeVest is here for the long term so it is looking at the next five to 10 years with this,” he said.

Conroy hinted there would be more senior appointments at the business in the coming weeks, and added that the network is looking to bolster its 88-strong haulier membership by as many as 20 new members this year. It is also conducting a review of existing postcodes to ensure efficiency.

Conroy added: “Go back 15 years in pallet networks and it was a land grab, the Wild West. Logistically you need to have your depot where the postcode is. We’re looking at remodelling that, as it makes a member more efficient and if its more efficient it makes more money and it is happier.”

Although Palletforce will not be adopting a regional hub policy as some rivals have done, Conroy said that a centrally owned site in London with a possible small bleed off site in the South East was looking likely in the future as the complexities and pressures of operating in the capital increased.