30 April 2021
In Q1 of 2021 and to the present day, the distribution market has experienced several notable disruptions being: -
- BREXIT and issues arriving with Customs formalities.
- COVID and the shortage of LGV drivers as workers were either shielding, off with COVID or furloughed.
- Domestic trading, where traders switched to UK / UK trading post BREXIT and International trade deals.
- Easing of lockdown, where the distribution market has seen a very significant spike in road transport demand with the reopening of the high street and the hospitality sectors as they not only restock for their forthcoming trading but dispose of redundant stock.
At the end of 2020, the industry trade bodies such as the RHA and FTA predicted an acute shortage of drivers and vehicles for the period ahead as some companies elected to close down as the BREXIT deal unfolded and some financially had to cease trading. With entry to the market being costly on very low margins, there are very few entries to the distribution market and as a consequence driver and vehicle availability has become even more restricted.
Simarco has and will continue to invest in its long term future but we have also witnessed very severe demands over the last month and now through April with little sign of this abating in May. We have added resource at each of our depots to underpin our service commitment.
The pallet network sector has equally suffered with some networks worse than others. Each pallet network relies solely upon the strength and success of its members and partners, who individually face varying degrees of market forces in these unprecedented times. More than one pallet network has been forced to suspend bookings for some specific postcodes as their appointed member is completely overwhelmed with very significant additional volumes and they can no longer serve without a pause and stop gap. Thankfully Simarco’s pallet network, PalletForce, has been able to provide nationwide support to its members that has helped support service levels throughout these difficult times and the period ahead. However it has become necessary for PalletForce to implement some service changes to support its operation, its members and you our customer.
The current situation has been driven by the changing commercial environment and consumer culture. It has been exacerbated by challenges within our industry including driver and vehicle resource shortages, however Palletforce is in a much stronger position than its competitors thanks to their historic investment plan and the strength of their membership they have across their entire network. At their new super hub, they have significantly increased their workforce and equipment resource to ensure volumes are handled within their performance targets.
To maintain the support to its members and help some specific areas with the extreme peaks, PalletForce has announce a few operational and service amendments that individually and collectively will provide the support required at this time. These changes are shown on the next page.
Temporary suspension of timed and booked-in services
Timed, AM/PM, or “before” allocated services are suspended during the restricted period for postcodes: -
TR, PL, TQ, EX, DG, TD, KA, ML, EH, G, PA, FK, KY, DD, PH, IV, AB, HS, KW, ZE
The member must have the option to deliver anytime between 1000 – 1700hrs.
The traditional 48hr economy service window for all freight other than next day is extended by one day to up to 72hrs for all postcodes. PalletForce reverses the right to deliver its economy freight on day 2 or day 3 at its own discretion at its member’s level. Customers may not specify the day.
Booked in economy service
Where a specific day is mandatory, the consignment must be booked in for the 3rd day or greater, e.g. a consignment manifested on Monday can only be requested for delivery on Thursday.
Timed, AM/PM, or “before” allocated services are suspended during the restricted period for all postcodes. The member must have the option to deliver anytime between 1000 – 1700hrs.
Collections (out of area collections)
The midday cut off for a same day collection has been suspended.
Out of area collections must be requested by close of business the working day prior to collection.
This excludes our local collections form your premises.
To assist the most efficient planning whilst driver availability and volumes are lower and reducing the number of times depots have to deliver into locations, delivery depots may consolidate deliveries without permission if they use the earliest delivery time.
The aforementioned support package will be reviewed weekly with changes communicated.
Thank you for your support and understanding.
Gary Thurlow, Head of UK Transport.