Adaptable Palletways bounces back from Covid

16 Interview with Gregorio Hernando, managing director Palletways Iberia

Q. How has the network dealt with Covid-19 and what are your plans for the next 6-12 months?

A. The pandemic has impacted our network and in March we experienced a drop in volumes compared to the same month in the previous year, aſter the Spanish government announced national lockdown measures. We have however recovered quickly. June was the first month since the start of lockdown where we recorded similar levels of growth to the previous year. In July and August, we achieved approximately 10% over our volumes compared to the same period last year. Operating centres have installed

protective screens to guarantee social distancing and all employees and drivers have been provided with masks and hydrogels both in

thrive during these unprecedented times. Our scale and knowledge of the Iberian market has helped us to cope with the pandemic in ways that our competitors can’t and we kept our services running throughout, something our competitors weren’t able to do. We’ve subsequently seen our market share grow during the pandemic. There is of course a lot of uncertainty around what the future holds but I’m confident we have the expertise and measures in place to respond to any challenges.

Q. How would you assess the current freight and logistics market in Iberia?

A. The logistics market in Iberia remains extremely competitive, with two other pallet networks delivering in the Peninsula. We are

the consignment via our ‘Track and Trace’ service. We were the first palletised freight network in Spain to offer an ETA service and currently more than 50% of our shipments provide this service. We’re working hard to increase that figure. We still haven’t yet felt the long-

term economic impacts of the pandemic, but I’m a strong believer that even in difficult


many opportunities arise. With our sector-leading technology and significant member coverage across the Peninsula, we’re planning for growth in the next six months, which we’ll do by working collaboratively with the 73 member businesses that make up our network.

Q. What further developments do you have planned?

A. We move more than a million pallets a year and July was the first month in network’s history in which we moved more than 100,000. This was especially impressive given how soon it was aſter the pandemic hit. If everything goes as planned, we also hope to move more than 100,000 pallets as we start to focus on Christmas volumes. We continue to focus on our

the office and warehouses. We’re also pleased to have obtained a certificate from IMQ, a leading body that audits and inspects workplaces to ensure they’re safe and meet the highest standards of excellence, particularly as we’re the only Palletways network to secure such an accreditation. As part of the global Imperial business, we place the highest importance on staff safety and service excellence as a major player in the logistics market. I’m proud of how the network has adapted and continued to

however the oldest network and will celebrate our 15th anniversary next year. We have seen a significant

increase in the home delivery market in the past few years and this is a growth area we are currently focusing on. Our industry-first Estimated Time of Arrival service provides customers with accurate and efficient delivery times for their palletised freight. Customers are sent a two-hour delivery slot, by SMS or email, and they can monitor the progress of

international services which are growing more rapidly than our domestic market. Again, this service sets us apart from our competitors. We have 80 members of staff working across three hubs and two-owned depots which account for more than 20% of total volumes. The UK is the second largest export market for Palletways Iberia, followed closely by France, which is our main destination market due to geographical factors.

Q. What new technology or services are being offered by the network?

A. The Palletways business is built on innovation and this includes the recent launch of Palletwaysonline, the new digital platform that allows small businesses and end consumers to order and manage online shipments. Palletwaysonline provides a

solution for goods that require palletised transport such as household appliances, consumer electronics, DIY and food and beverage products. The platform includes a host of features that enhance the customer experience such as providing quick price quotations and secure payment systems including credit card, prepaid credit or PayPal. The platform also allows for the shipment of goods throughout the 24 European countries served by the Palletways Group. The customer, whether a consumer or a small company, can also access a dedicated customer care service via a live chat function and can trace their journey route in real- time. We have seen a big uptake of the

platform in Iberia since it launched 18 months ago with four times the amount of volume coming via the platform compared to this time last year. This technology means we’re in a strong position to offer flexible e-commerce solutions to our customers. The Palletways Group also offers

access to The Portal, a Cloud-based system which allows members to manage their entire operation on one platform. We are the only palletised company in Iberia to offer this service which puts us ahead of our competitors. The system gives greater flexibility to our customers, providing real-time updates to drivers on delivery changes and traffic conditions. PODs, invoices and reports are hosted by the Portal, which saves time for members, improves efficiency and ultimately saves on cost. Palletways has just this

month launched the industry’s first palletised freight product specifically for home deliveries. The new Pallets to Consumers (P2C) service for corporate customers aims to improve the efficiency of product deliveries and offer much-needed flexibility for the end consumer. It enables retailers to integrate their systems and website with Palletways’ platforms to offer their customers a seamless service and also incorporates a set of delivery options to include a choice of Premium AM or economy.

Issue 7 2020 - Freight Business Journal


Train from Spain to speed Tesco deliveries

DB Cargo’s Transfesa Logistics arm has launched a new rail service to move fruit and veg from Spain to the UK for Tesco. In a first stage, it will move 15

loads a week from Valencia’s Almussafes terminal to Barking, East London. Transfesa has also asked to be allowed to increase the weight of the cargo that can be carried on high-speed line between the Channel Tunnel and Barking. Wagons will pass through Transfesa’s axle changing facility

at Cerbère to allow the train to travel from Spain’s 1668mm gauge tracks to the ‘standard’ gauge used in France, the UK and most of the rest of Europe. Transfesa says that the

operation will be reviewed regularly and volume may expand depending on customer requirements. The 20.00 departure time in Spain allows produce to be collected on the day of departure and ensure that it arrives in top condition.

Finnlines still delivering the goods

Shipping operator Finnlines has continued to deliver its full Biscay service throughout the Covid pandemic, although, like many others it has faced challenges along the way. “We are very proud of the

fact the throughout we have maintained our service level despite the understandable reduction in volumes on our vessel. This is something that we committed to from the start as we know how vital a regular service is to customers,” explained sales manager, Finnlines UK, Richard Turner.

Finnlines is investing almost

€500 million in building five new vessels which will have greener, state of the art technology. By early 2022, three of these will be deployed on the route to Spain to enhance economy of scale and offer a sustainable way of transport with the lowest carbon footprint impact. Turner explains: “As part of the

Grimaldi group, we have invested in new technology, from our early adoption of scrubber systems on our vessels to help reduce our carbon emissions to new build vessels with hybrid technology.” He adds: “During the pandemic

we want to do everything we can to keep our customers safe, while ensuring their cargo is carried on time. We have our sailing to Spain from the UK, via Tilbury with links available from Hull and Teesport, but also we have the call to Zeebrugge before Bilbao allowing customers in the Benelux area to make use of our fast and efficient service.” Currently Finnlines is departing

from Zeebrugge on Saturday, calling into Tilbury on Sunday for arrival in Bilbao on Tuesdays and then departs for arrival back in Zeebrugge on Thursday, before calling to Antwerp on Friday. There, Spanish customers can link up with both the Grimaldi vessels and ACL vessels on the same berth, giving them access to the entire network across Europe, Africa and North and South America. Turner adds: “Our own vessel

leaves Bilbao and even takes you all the way to St. Petersburg giving you so many options to get your cargo in and out of Spain, efficiently, quickly and all coordinated by one single booking, and on board some of the cleanest most environmentally friendly transportation available.”

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