Pallet networks: reducing transport costs

By Macauley Christopher
31 Oct, 2023

If you’re looking to improve operational performance and reduce transport costs, looking into pallet networks are where we suggest you begin.

As 2024 approaches, you may be looking to reduce costs – as many other businesses in the supply chain will be too. Just as the price of fuel and energy has risen, so too have distribution costs. These price hikes can be devastating for product-led organisations.

One way to reduce transport costs is to switch from courier services to pallet networks. A pallet network will give you the benefit of increased capacity and flexibility for your business.

Essentially, a pallet network is system that is usually created and used by a group of hauliers transporting goods.

Here’s more information on how they operate.

Pallet networks explained

By using pallet networks, companies are reducing transport costs by reducing the need for individual shipments and minimising their environmental impact.

Often made up of a group of independent hauliers, pallet networks are systems that allow logistics providers to work together to maintain a cost-effective and efficient distribution service. Generally, the systems are designed to improve the efficiency of freight transportation by combining loads from multiple customers.

In a pallet network, the goods are typically packed onto pallets, collected by a local haulier and transported to a central hub. At the hub, the pallets are sorted and redistributed to other hauliers for delivery to their final destination. This system allows for the most efficient picking and packing and distribution of goods.

There are several pallet networks operating around the world. For example, Palletforce is a UK-based pallet network with over 100 members that can fulfil express and international delivery needs.

How pallet networks work

Pallet networks are a way of sharing capacity between multiple companies. They do this by using shared pallets to move goods around, which are owned by the network and not the company using them.

The network operator owns the pallets, charges a fee for moving them, and pays its members based on how much they use their services.

a graphic of a stack of pallets and a dotted route with pin locations throughout

The benefits of using distribution companies in pallet networks

Choosing a third-party logistics provider (3PL) that is a member of a pallet network can help a business improve operational performance and reduce operational costs.

Partnering with a 3PL that operates in a pallet network can:

Reduce costs. With a pallet network, fewer trucks are needed on the road to move goods. This means less fuel consumption and less miles travelled. Pallet network systems are also able to consolidate their deliveries and pick-ups meaning their chosen routes are well-organised and effective.

Lower the amount of time wasted.

Using a pallet network instead of shipping individual packages directly from one location to another increases productivity and lowers environmental strain.

Increase efficiency.

Without increasing labour costs associated with picking up items at each location separately, pallet networks can get goods to their final destination quicker.

Present opportunities.

Smaller companies can gain increased reach making it easier for them to sell to a bigger pool of people.

Allow flexibility.

Pallet networks often offer a range of services, including next-day and economy delivery options to meet customers’ needs and budgets.

Improve service levels.

Customers associate deliveries with the company they bought their goods from. So, with increased efficiency from the use of a pallet network, companies can level up their customer service.

Shrink environmental impact.

By consolidating freight and reducing the number of individual shipments, pallet networks help companies reduce their environmental impact. This can be an important consideration for companies looking to minimise their carbon footprint and meet sustainability goals.

How to know if a distribution company is part of a pallet network

If a logistics provider is part of a pallet network, it should be easy to tell. This is because pallet networks offer fantastic perks so independent distributors will want to shout about their affiliation by advertising the fact on their website. Look out for logos, certifications, or mentions of the pallet network they are part of on the company’s home page or about page.

You can also check the websites of individual pallet networks. Most pallet networks have a website that lists their member companies. You can visit the website of the pallet network you are interested in and search for the distribution company in question.

Of course, asking the company directly is also an option. Ask if they are a member of a pallet network and they should be able to provide you with information about their membership and services.

Membership in a pallet network can be an indication of the company’s commitment to providing efficient and cost-effective distribution services. However, it is always a good idea to do your due diligence and research the company further to ensure they meet your specific needs.


If a business can reduce transport costs, this will have a big impact on those that are product-led. Deliveries play a big part in their customer service as well.

In summary, pallet networks are an important part of the logistics industry, providing an efficient and cost-effective way to transport goods over long distances. These collaborative systems offer an attractive range of benefits for companies in the supply chain.

Businesses can use pallet networks to lower costs as these systems use the correct types of transport and equipment to make distribution swift and efficient.