Cargo is palletised to save loading, unloading and handling time. There are also several other advantages associated with palletising, for example, a reduction in labour (due to the use of mechanical handling tools), a lower risk of damaging the cargo and more efficient or optimised storage within the warehouse. In short, the costs and risks associated with logistics operations are reduced.
Types of pallet
There are many different types of pallet on the market:
- According to the manufacturing material used: wood, plastic, chipboard, metal and cardboard. Depending on the export destination and in accordance with International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15), wooden pallets should be heat-treated to reduce the risk of introducing pests. Signatory countries to the agreement have the right to deny entry to cargo on untreated crates at their borders. The choice of material used depends on the industry and the cargo’s characteristics. For example, cardboard pallets are often used in the agricultural industry and metal pallets are often used for tall and heavy cargoes such as those from the aerospace industry. Nevertheless, wooden pallets are the most common, accounting for 90% of the market.
- According to the measurements of the bottom of the pallet: there are many different sizes of pallet, including 80 cm × 120 cm, 80 cm × 60 cm, 100 cm × 120 cm, 110 cm × 110 cm, 115 cm × 115 cm, and 110 cm × 130 cm. Pallets can also be made to measure. However, the most common pallets are the Eur-pallet, Euro-pallet or EPAL pallet, which measure 80 cm x 120 cm, and the American pallet or ISO pallet, which measure 100 cm x 120 cm.
- According to the weight it is designed to carry: the pallet may require a different width or number of planks.
- Pallets may also be new, recovered, or single use (a sunk cost).
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