Principle Pallet Network L to R Marcus Fischer and Neil Hodgson June 2016 photo 2

Two former Fortec directors are making their industry comeback with the launch of the first new UK pallet network in more than a decade.

Neil Hodgson and Marcus Fischer plan to launch the Principle Pallet Network later this year, with a view to trading by early 2017.

Hodgson was MD of Fortec and will be the chief executive of Principle Pallets, while former Fortec commercial director Fischer will be chief operating officer.

It will be the first pallet network to enter the market since Pallet-Track was launched in 2004 and comes after UK Pallets was wound up by its parent company UK Mail last year.

Hodgson told that while the pallet sector is a mature market, there is an opportunity for a new network with a focus on service, rather than just price competition.

Its focus, said Hodgson, will be on moving higher-value freight that industries have previously avoided moving through networks because they don’t trust the security.

He said: “Elsewhere in the pallet sector, it’s all about price, it’s not about service; day in day out you get undercut. Whereas we will be heavily centred on quality freight.

“If you’ve got a pallet with goods worth £50,000, I’m not saying the transport cost becomes irrelevant, but it’s not the do or die of the operation.”

Fischer added that the network’s membership will be required to meet a list of basic standards before they are granted membership, and that they wouldn’t demand exclusivity from their hauliers.

Hodgson said: “Dual networking has become more obvious. Every transport company does what is right for itself.”

Negotiations are under way regarding the network’s central hub, which will be in the East Staffordshire area, with a mixture of “private equity and private banking” supporting the venture.