Despite the trauma of losing UK Pallets this year, in a general sense the pallet sector remained in rude health for the majority of networks during 2014, delivering yet another year of volume growth.

According to the Association of Pallet Networks (APN) – which never counted UK Pallets amongst its membership – its eight members (ie. the UK pallet network sector) delivered more than 20 million pallets last year, a new record.

By way of comparison, in 2013 APN members shipped approaching 16 million pallets. Growth last year was strongest in the next-day and quarter pallet categories.

Paul Sanders, chairman of the APN, said that since the association’s formation in 2007, member volume has collectively increased by 65%.

“The image of pallet networks has changed in recent years. Confidence in the services offered by the networks has improved and we are seeing a change in the type of freight being handled in pallet networks, with increasing volumes of hi-tech, high-value products being carried.”

“The sector is now seeing the impact of the increase in e-retail. We have introduced new KPIs to make sure our members understand the correlation of pallet size and delivery point so they can deliver the best service for their customers in this fast-growing marketplace,” said Sanders.

Things show little sign of slowing down either. Data for the first three months of the year show 5.2 million pallets were delivered, which is 12.6% up on the corresponding period of 2014 (which, as we know, was part of a record-breaking year).

Again, next day delivery and quarter pallets are leading the way in terms of growth across the member networks.