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British Pallet Industry Increases Turnover to £279m

29 Mar 2015

As the economic recovery is starting to have an impact on industry in general, figures released recently have also shown that the British pallet market is enjoying prosperous times.

From Strength to Strength

According to the British Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON), the UK pallet industry achieved growth of 2.3% and reached a £279 million turnover during the 2013 financial year. As the industry shows encouraging signs of going from strength to strength, demand for new pallets swelled to 31.4 million, despite the ever-persistent threat of competition from plastic alternatives.

New and Repaired Pallets

Whilst the market for new pallets grew by 4.5% to 31.4 million, growth was also attributed to the demand for repaired pallets. Income from orders for repairs to pallets topped £73 million, showing a rise of 7.8%. The number of pallets produced and repaired by British companies in 2013 also grew to 66.2 million units – an increase of 1%. Of these, 34.8 million relate to repaired pallets and the remaining 31.4 million to new units.

UK Demand for Pallets

These positive statistics show that companies have confidence in the economy again and are ordering new British pallets and investing in refurbished units. This is great news for the UK economy and the pallet industry, as the timber pallets sector has been plagued by increasing costs, lower demand and minimal increases in product prices over the past few years. Experts now suggest, however, that due to the upturn there will be around one billion pallet units in existence in the UK by 2017.

The UK pallet industry is also attracting increasing interest from a wide range of companies operating in the express parcels and logistics sectors, which is further set to fuel the increase in demand for pallets.

Additionally, there has also been a rise in the use of UK-sourced timber in the production of the pallets. UK-produced softwood increased its share to 74%, which marked a rise of 1% compared to the previous year.

Global Growth

It is not just the UK that is seeing a boom in the pallet industry. Global trends show that other countries are also experiencing positive growth. In the USA, for instance, the market for pallets is likely to rise 2.4% each year for the next few years to total 2.6 billion by 2017. Globally, sales of pallets are expected to rise by 5% yearly until 2017, with the mature markets of Western Europe and North America standing to gain in particular.

China is also making strides and is expected to be one of the biggest players in the Asia-Pacific market. Experts believe that around one fifth of demand for pallets will stem from China by 2017.

Although demand is set to rise for pallets, industry experts also believe that the number of pallets being discarded will decrease as pallet management improves. Plastic pallets are also likely to continue to grow in popularity, although wooden pallets are still likely to satisfy 90% of demand globally.

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