A huge increase in continental e-commerce over the coming years means staying in Europe is crucial to the future of Pall-Ex, said group MD Kevin Buchanan.

Buchanan said there were signs that the recent phenomenal growth of e-commerce in the UK could be slowing, but that cross-border commercial transactions were predicted to swell by 30%.

“Currently, UK exports into the EU are worth an estimated £211bn to our economy,” he said. “To keep the business sustainable, we want to push for development in Europe and beyond, which of course means we’re pro-EU.”

His comments came after a Pall-Ex poll of close to 100 member hauliers found that 75% believed their businesses would increase between 10% and 15% during the next five years following the election of a majority Conservative government that promised a referendum on EU membership.

However, Pall-Ex members are also divided about whether the UK should remain in the EU. “Our autonomous hauliers all have their own, often contrasting, views, which is always welcomed by the network,” Buchanan said.

“As some hauliers operate more UK-centric, local, businesses it’s important we listen to, and open discussions with, all of our members.

“Pall-Ex is the only pallet network to implement a franchise system across Europe, where Pall-Ex’s national partners bring a wealth of local knowledge and experience to operations in their own domestic networks.

“We are building a business for the future, and Europe plays a big part in the future of our business. Being a part of the EU is absolutely crucial to this vision.”