Award-winning logistics company Pallet-Track has proved the ‘northern powerhouse’ is alive and well, as it delivers the significant milestone of recording its one millionth pallet through its regional hub in Greater Manchester in less than three years of operation.
Despite challenging trading conditions caused by coronavirus, Pallet-Track’s £10 million, wholly-owned Northern Hub at Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, which created 20 new jobs when it opened in August 2017, achieved the significant record during the UK’s lockdown.
The millionth pallet was significant because it carried a consignment of household cleaning products to help in the fight to beat the COVID-19 virus.
It was delivered into the hub by Warrington-based Revolution Transport, before making the final journey south with PGS Global Logistics, from Birmingham.
The 70,000 sq ft hub, designed to build greater pallet capacity from Stoke-on-Trent upwards through Scotland and including Ireland, as part of the network’s ‘local to local’ delivery strategy, was developed because of its close proximity to the UK’s motorway network.
It began life by handling pallet numbers in the low hundreds, but within a year it rapidly exceeded its financial targets and today boasts a new nightly throughput average of 1,562 pallets.
The development, which from day one engaged more than 30 of Pallet-Track’s 90-plus members, achieves greater efficiencies by reducing long hauls and empty running, the wasted mileage created when trucks arrive back at their original destination without a return payload.
This reduces fuel costs and the environmental impact of the operation, as well as cutting congestion on the UK’s roads caused by longer hauls – all at a time when there is increased pressure to improve air quality around UK cities.
“Coronavirus may have disrupted life across the globe, but the logistics sector has kept the wheels turning throughout the crisis by ensuring delivery of vital palletised goods – from fresh food and pharmacy to components and construction equipment – across the UK,” said Pallet-Track founder and managing director, Nigel Parkes.
“One million pallets is no mean feat, especially as it was achieved in record time. This was our first standalone hub development in the north of England and it has really helped secure our future in this important region by allowing us to manage volumes and flow in a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way.”
The Northern Hub is part of a wider regional hub strategy to take pressure away from Pallet-Track’s central 276,000 sq. ft hub in Wolverhampton. There are also successful Pallet-Track hubs operating in the south and Scotland.
At the time of the opening, the move was welcomed by Councillor David Molyneux, who is now leader of Wigan Council.
“Inward investment is always welcome in Wigan borough and we were delighted that Pallet-Track selected our region for its new northern hub,” he said.
“The jobs created were a welcome boost to our economy through our Wigan Works programme which is encouraging businesses like Pallet-Track to see the opportunities available for their services here in the borough. It’s also great to see the company was thinking long term; not only for greater employment opportunities, but also in terms of reducing the environmental impact of its operations and the sustainability of the hub and spoke model serving the north of the UK.”