A flourishing food and drink sector looks set to help Palletways, Europe’s number one palletised freight network, to defy flat consumer spending and shift record pallet numbers upwards of 875,000 during the 2017 Christmas period.
According to recent Kantar data, customers brought 10.1 million packs of traditional Christmas biscuits last month alone. Alcohol sales have ramped up too, increasing by 5.3% year on year as shoppers parted with an extra £142 million of their favourite tipple.
Dave Walmsley, Palletways UK Managing Director, said: “The logistics industry is usually the first to feel the effects of both positive and negative trading in the UK’s key retail sectors. Our pallet network is experiencing significant demand from our food and drink customers as we move increasing numbers of pallets containing seasonal goods, like festive biscuits, alcohol gift sets and fine whisky. We estimate that our food and drink pallet movements are up by at least 10% year-on-year.”
Last festive period, Palletways UK moved some 841,000 pallets to consumers which was an industry record. Compared to the same point at the start of October, the number of pallets moved by the network is up some 5% in 2017. Despite Brexit, European pallet movements continue an upwards trajectory by 15% year-on-year as Palletways expansion in new continental markets, such as Poland, rolls out. The figures are a reliable indicator of the festive period ahead.
Walmsley added: “The surge in food and drink palletised freight means we are once again moving more pallets than the same period last year. As consumer spending flatlines at around a 0.2% increase per month during 2017, the logistics industry would usually be one of the first to feel the pinch.
“But our business accelerates ahead as the economy starts to stall. Across the eight UK pallet networks, 1 in 4 pallets are now moved by Palletways which is testament to our levels of customer service excellence. For example, we’ve picked-up new customers in response to this year’s innovations in technology, such as our industry-first ETA 2-hour delivery windows and online pallet delivery for infrequent or domestic shippers.”
During the festive season, the 23-year-old palletised freight network expects to process about 780 trailers every single day with around 1,500 vehicles criss-crossing the country daily. The industry-leading archway scanning system will record and monitor the pallets as they move through the network. Around 112,000 pictures will be captured every single day to ensure pallets are being processed and delivered efficiently and on time.
Mike Harrison, Palletways UK Operations Director, said: “Despite the prospect of enormous pallet volumes being moved through our hubs, we’re ready more than ever to meet the challenge. The preparation for Christmas with our hardworking members is all year round and part of wider business planning.
“For example, as peak time demands have grown, so has Palletways UK. We’ve increased our hub capacity steadily over the past three years to build a well-oiled machine capable of delivering pallets in record numbers. Whatever the demands, we’ve planned the resources to match and exceed customer expectations.”
The festive season figures will play a crucial part in deciding whether Palletways exceeds its biggest year yet in 2016 when over 5.4 million pallets were delivered.