Traditionally the haulage industry has had a poor image in terms of environmental impact. For many it conjures up images of heavy trucks clogging up already congested roads and particularly large semi-articulated vehicles sharing the roads in built up areas with cyclists, pedestrians and cars. There was a need for a “Green Network”.
The Pallet Network is mindful of this image, while also mindful of the fact that everything in every retail outlet, restaurant and office had to be transported by truck at some stage. Keeping retail prices down entails the shipping of high volumes at the same time, and yet high volume shipping has a poor track record in terms of the environment.
The Pallet Network model directly addresses these issues. Smaller trucks are used in built up areas to effect collections and deliveries. These small trucks can easily access city streets and interact sympathetically with other users in built up areas. In Dublin, these smaller trucks shuttle cargo to the Pallet Network Hub, which is in Blanchardstown. In other counties, these smaller trucks convey local cargo to their depots in 21 locations. Freight is collected in the depot during the day. At the end of the day, the freight is loaded onto large 40-foot trucks, some of them with double-deck trailers. A double-deck trailer, while it can fit through the Port Tunnel, can negate the necessity of a second truck. These large ‘Trunking’ vehicles will bring (or ‘Trunk’) all freight to the Pallet Network hub in Blanchardstown where it is unloaded, sorted into delivery areas, and the trunking vehicles are then re-loaded with deliveries for their area for the following day. The return journey is also made at night, with freight unloaded at depot into smaller vehicles for delivery.
In this way, business in cities and towns is carried on by smaller vehicles which are more sympathetic to the local environment and other road users. In the network, the articulated trunking vehicles move at night between the hub and the depots on less congested roads using less diesel. All vehicles operating in the network are well loaded in both directions and there is minimum empty running. This reduces fossil fuel consumption and the number of vehicles on the roads. The network truck utilisation figure of 80% compares to the conventional transport distribution figure of 50%.