There’s a growing buzz noticeable within road transport, according to the boss of the Pallet-Track network, with the UK economy showing signs of rousing itself from its long hibernation.

Speaking to The Hub, Nigel Parkes said Pallet-Track was around 15% ahead of where it was at this point last year in terms of network turnover, and is currently running ahead of its own forecast for 2013.

“We had a good year last year and will have an even better year this year,” said Parkes.

Recently published abbreviated accounts reveal that Pallet-Track saw sales grow 5% in the year ended 31 January 2013, with pre-tax profit up 58% year-on-year at £1.3m (£815,540). This mirror's The Pallet Network's strong performance.

Pallet-Track has added only a smattering of members of late, so most of 2013’s progress has come from organic sales growth amongst the existing membership.

“There’s an improved confidence,” says Parkes. “The big challenge is that after five years of austerity – the longest recessionary period since the 1930s – a lot of businesses cut their cloth accordingly and now there’s a scrap to gear up.”

While it’s too early to say if the apparent upturn – recent visits to both Palletline and Fortec have backed up the assertion that business is booming – will transfer into improved rates, things are moving in the right direction.

“The clearest operators have run things as close to the knuckle as they can these past five years, as efficiently as they could. Now they’re starting to look at rates,” says Parkes.