The United Pallet Network (UPN) has upgraded its IT to provide real-time, instant pricing, quotes and online ordering for Europe, as it looks to facilitate more cross border trade within its membership.

The new service, which includes auto postcode look-up, is designed to make it as easy as possible for its 65 depots to supply a range of services to 26 countries from within the existing UPN system via a new web portal.

UPN member research had previously found that the time taken to specify and price European freight deliveries was too great compared with the income it generated, something it hopes the new functionality will address.

Andrew Spence, director at UPN, said: “UPN has focused very hard on the UK over the past decade.

“But we never stand still and have been researching the European market for the last couple of years, before deciding what we needed to do for our depots and our customers to fundamentally improve their customer experience,” he added.

The European opportunity

While a number of members have offered services to Europe as loss leaders on behalf of key customers, it is hoped that the new system via its ability to build an accurate quote within seconds will boost interest amongst haulier members who will now have instant, viable pricing information at their fingertips.

In its next stage of development UPN will open up the system to customers, so that they can obtain online quotes in real-time, as well as order and pay for them instantly. UPN hopes to win additional custom from the many medium and smaller companies across Europe that require transport services but have lacked the scale to negotiate good rates with established 3PLs and the like.

A number of pallet networks are pushing ahead with European service expansion including Pall-Ex and Palletforce following long-established European operations such as Palletways.