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Pallet pooling company CHEP increase share in fresh produce logistics sector

Pallet pooling specialist CHEP has increased its share of the fresh produce logistics sector. This has been achieved through both new contracts and increased business with leading UK suppliers of salads, fruit and vegetables including G’s Marketing, Nature’s Way, Staples Vegetables and Hammond’s.

G’s Marketing – which has farms in both the UK and Spain – has awarded CHEP a three-year contract extension worth a total of €2.4 million, which will see fresh produce from both countries stacked on CHEP pallets. Since an agreement signed by both companies last October, empty CHEP pallets have been returned on the weekly Stobart Rail service, as well as by road from the UK to Spain. By loading pallets on the train G’s have achieved a major reduction in carbon emissions.

Scott Linney, tray & pallet control manager at G’s Marketing said: "Moving CHEP pallets to Spain has proved a very smooth operation with minor problems on just two occasions. We are particularly pleased to have reduced carbon emissions significantly at no extra cost to the business. I have been delighted with the result and we may well increase the frequency from next October."

Nature’s Way is a leading provider of bagged salads to Morrisons, Tesco and leading food service providers such as McDonalds, Pret a Manger and the Gondola Group and prepared fruit to Morrisons and Pret. Although the business has been supplying Morrisons for some 11 years, its business with the Northern-based retailer has seen significant growth in the last 12 months as Morrisons itself sees very positive changes in revenue and customer footfall measures.

As part of a new €1.7 million contract, CHEP supplies pallets and RPCs for use on the Morrisons’ business and this year alone more than three million RPCs – including merchandising trays – have been used by Nature’s Way.

In servicing this contract, the CHEP pallet pool has to handle sudden surges in demand such as the promotional and bumble bee strategy, implemented earlier this year between NWF and Morrisons, which has successfully driven significant volume uplifts. Currently, CHEP is working with Nature’s Way on increasing sustainability in the supply chain by replacing cardboard containers with RPCs.

Another big CHEP customer is Staples Vegetables, a major supplier of brassicas to the multiples including Morrisons and Tesco which has been a customer for 13 years. Both pallets and more than two million RPCs are now used annually in this contract which is worth nearly €2.3 million.

A further leading root crop, allium and brassica supplier is Hammond’s Produce Ltd which uses up to 1,000 CHEP pallets and 10,000 RPCs a week depending on seasonal demand.

Hammond’s are also making increased use of CHEP’s products Portfolio+PLUS and Managed Recovery. The former is a web-based management tool which enables customers to trade with CHEP 24/7 and manage their accounts online, report transactions and order equipment as well as monitor and request collections. The system significantly reduces paperwork and also enables customers to see their pallet pool status in real time. Hammond’s director Jon Hammond describes the product as a "significant step forward and bringing increased benefits every month".

Managed Recovery is an enhancement to the pallet pooling exchange concept as it reduces total vehicle movements and therefore carbon footprint. As part of the service, CHEP collects used pallets in full truck loads and returns them to Hammond’s suppliers.

The suppliers or hauliers that are continuing to deliver into Hammond’s no longer have to wait to receive the same number of empty pallets in exchange. Instead, they notify CHEP of the delivery and the corresponding number of pallets is transferred off their account.

CHEP pallets are also being used in the Hammond Food Oil business to transport their Borderfields Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil to multiple retail customers.

Mike Pooley, managing director of CHEP UK & Ireland, commented: "These key contracts are further proof that we offer a competitive service whilst our RPCs are proving an excellent alternative to one-way packaging, specifically cardboard.

"They are durable yet light and also come in a display-ready option. The lower folding height also means improved efficiencies in transport and storage. Our customers can now spend less time worrying about the management of pallets and containers and more time concentrating on their core business."

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