Shipping pallets – what are they? Why do we need to know much about them? Well, you must have come across at least one person complaining about their shipment being damaged or part of it lost in transit or shipments not being accepted at all for shipping because its packaging was incorrect or improper. Whatever maybe the reason – a damaged or delayed shipment would ultimately hurt your business. Thus, understanding about standard freight packaging holds importance, and so does the understanding of pallets.
If you are already in the business that involves frequent freight shipping, you probably have the knowledge about different products, their packaging best practices, and are probably using pallets for your shipments. However, there a few shippers who still don’t use pallets and, then there are those who are venturing into international shipping or into shipping new products altogether. Whatever be the reason, our guide on pallets will definitely add to your knowledge.
Introduction and Types of Shipping Pallets
Technically speaking, pallet is a flat-surfaced structure usually made of wood, metal, plastic or a composite used for enhancing the safety and security of the goods for shipping. Pallets have a raised structure, with a short height that enable the shippers to conveniently place the goods on top, called as deck, while the raised bottom part facilitates easy handling and moving of the goods, even with the material handling equipments. Of all the materials, wooden pallets are quite common and are widely used in freight shipping.
There are various types of pallets readily available, opting for the best type of pallet for shipment largely depends on the type of goods, origin and destination locations and the mode of transport used. Broadly, there are two types of pallets – Stringer pallets and Block pallets.
Commonly known as two-way pallets, Stringer pallets have three long pieces of wood that support the two ends and the middle of the upper and the lower deck of a pallet. These are called two-way pallets because the material handling equipment can pick these pallets from two sides only.
Block pallets, on the other hand, has block on every side and the middle of each edge of the upper and lower deck of the pallets. These can be handled from all four sides, and thus are also known as four-way pallets. Block pallets provide more support and are thus generally used for heavy shipments.
Additionally, there are other types of pallets as well, like single wing pallets, double wing pallets, double face pallets, solid deck pallets, flush pallets, reversible and non-reversible pallets – each of these pallets have special attributes and are used for different kinds of shipments.
Shipping Pallets – Size
Most of the countries require shippers to use pallets for shipping if their cargo weighs more than 70kg and has dimensions larger than 2.4 m x 1.2 m x 1.5 m. But, you can choose to ship with pallets even if your cargo is below the defined weight or dimensions.
Companies around the world use different sizes of pallets. 3 most common sizes of pallets are:
- 48″ X 40″
- 42″ X 42″
- 48″ X 48″
Most standard pallets weigh around 30 lbs, but some can be heavier and can weigh up to 70 lbs. Their weight depends on their material, moisture level and load bearing capacity. While pallets can be customized without too much of work, the above sizes are easily and readily available for shipping.
Why Should You Use Shipping Pallets?
Pallets can affect freight shipping a great deal and can help you optimize your freight shipping. Here are some of the top reasons companies around the world prefer shipping with pallets, even though they add to the cost.
- Pallets help protect goods from any damage or loss by keeping them secure, when they go through multiple handling points – loading and unloading.
- Pallets enable faster loading and unloading of goods – enabling faster deliveries
- Constant shape of the pallets enable them to be stacked well, thus enhancing the storage efficiency in warehouses or in transport
- With pallets, you can combine different goods and pack on the pallet – saving you space, and the hassle to track multiple boxes or pallets.
- As for a shipping company, unlike heavy cartons, workers can use forklifts or handling equipments to easily move and place pallets.
Pallets are easily available. If you know how to pack the pallets on your own, that’s great – all you will need is for the pallet to be picked up for delivery. But, if you are not well versed of shipping with pallets, a freight forwarder like ProConnect Integrated Logistics can help you get pallets and pack your shipment onto the pallet. If you are looking for more information on basic freight forwarding, read our previous blog – Freight Shipping for Dummies.