The future of the Principle Pallet Network is in the balance with an investors meeting due at the end of this month to decide its fate, MT has learnt.

Principle Pallet Network MD Adam Leonard said the meeting had been called because the fledgling network is facing a number of challenges, which he claimed were created before his arrival at Principle Pallets.

Leonard, a former boss of The Pallet Network (TPN), joined the venture in March this year. By May the two co-founders of Principle Pallets, former Fortec directors Marcus Fischer and Neil Hodgson, had resigned.

In June ex-Nightfreight boss Robbie Burns and entrepreneur Piyush Shah joined the board.

Leonard refuted industry rumours that the network is about to go into administration and denied claims that employees have been made redundant.

“At this stage the business is not in administration and no member of staff has been made redundant, although some have left,” he told MT.

Leonard said the network’s investors would meet to discuss the network’s future towards the end of this month or in early August.

Adam Leonard

He added: “We don’t know what the future is at this stage and no decision will be made until we hold an investors meeting at which the next steps will be decided.”

Leonard acknowledged that the network is facing problems. “There are issues around what was done prior to our involvement at the network,” he said, adding: “The company is not in administration as we speak and no decision will be made until the investors’ meeting.”

The launch of Principle Pallets was mooted in 2016, with co-founders Fischer and Hodgson targeting a launch date in 2017, which came and went.

The project showed signs of life once more in spring this year, when the network secured the former Birds Transport & Logistics site at Parsonage Street in West Bromwich, as its operational hub.

A number of pallet networks have taken on former Principle pallet employees in recent weeks. One pallet network operator told MT: “We have had staff join us from Principle Pallets, which we hear is struggling. The business was committed to the cost of staff and hubs before it had a network.

"That has been the problem and the fact that there aren’t enough hauliers available to build another network.”

Paul Sanders, chairman of the Association of Pallet Networks said setting up a pallet network in the UK posed “a serious challenge due to the level of investment required and the lack of availability of members”.