1. Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston councillor Jo Sergeant cuts the ribbon on the new South West Hub (l-r: Dave Walmsley, Cllr Jo Sergeant, Cllr Donald Alexander)
Palletways, Europe’s number one palletised freight network, officially opened its fifth UK regional hub in Bristol this week (17 March) in a move which reaffirms its commitment to its regional hub model. It also reinforces the Group’s expansions plans, representing the sixth hub operation it has invested in across Europe and the UK in the last 12 months.
To start with, the South West Hub, based just off the M5 at Bristol’s major industrial zone in Avonmouth will process around 500 pallets every day. The facility represents a £200,000 investment.
Dave Walmsley, Palletways UK Managing Director, said: “Palletways firmly believes that the regional hub model for palletised freight represents the future for our industry. There are such clear advantages for members, customers and consumers that the model driven by a centralised distribution will be left behind by those businesses using the regional hub approach.
“Our experience with the regional hub model is that we can provide lower costs for customers through a more localised freight exchange. We can cut trunk distances, fuel use and costs for members. We can deliver improved customer service because we can create the opportunity to collect from customers later in the day. These benefits are on top of our innovative, award-winning approach to tracking and monitoring pallets through our archway scanning technology and digital hub.
“In recent months, we’ve moved record numbers of pallets around the UK and we even broke an industry record last Christmas. The fact that we are attracting new members and winning ever growing numbers of customers highlights just how successful our hub strategy is proving to be.”
Mike Harrison, Palletways UK Operations Director, added: “The investment in the new South West Hub is the next step in our hub investment programme in the UK as we can now serve every corner of the country more efficiently and effectively than before. Previously, the West of England, Devon and Cornwall and South Wales would’ve been served by our central hub in Lichfield – meaning a consignment moving from Devon to Cardiff would have had to travel via the Midlands before making it to South Wales. Now, both members and customers in the South West and South Wales will also benefit from competitive rates and better service created by our regional hub model.”
There will also be a benefit to the environment. The number of HGV miles saved by the new facility is estimated in the region of 163,000 miles – equivalent to around 100,000 litres of fuel and around 300 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. As well as five regional hubs, Palletways consists of over 100 member depots nationwide as part of the network’s daily movement of 40,000 pallets across the UK and Europe.
One of the Palletways Members who is already using the new hub is Simon Parry, Director for Frenni Transport who have bases in South and West Wales. Simon said: “A new regional hub is terrific news for our customers. It means that anyone wanting a pallet delivery can access Palletways UK and Europe networks quickly, with a more flexible service. A regional hub means that our customers who are focused on environmental impact can benefit from the reduced delivery mileage. The closeness of the new hub improves our service offering into all of the participating delivery areas, as local freight now arrives earlier to the involved members for sorting and early delivery.”
Information on archway scanning and the digital hub
Palletways’ archway scanning system is a unique and innovative method of photographing every pallet that passes through the network’s hubs. First installed in the Lichfield hub back in 2012, the system provides full visibility of vehicle and pallet movements – practically eliminating missing pallets, damage, theft and security issues, and the possibility of false claims for loss or damage of goods.
The Palletways Digital Information Hub is an industry-first which provides extensive operational and customer data in real time to improve processes, communication, traffic planning and vehicle utilization. It covers everything from: live vehicle status information, which enables constant checks to be made on the location and delivery of all consignments and the proactive management of consignments at risk of any delivery issues; to delivery profiling, visualised on a heat map to show where deliveries have currently been made and opportunities for customers to serve new markets nearby.