Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Pallets: Industry introduces a new pallet pool

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
July 03, 2012

9BLOC, a new pallet pool run by members of the pallet industry, may soon be in the offing.

Created as a response to third party pallet pools operated by CHEP, PECO and iGPS, the pool from Pallet Logistics & Unit-Load Solutions will offer a block pallet designed to meet the Costco specification in a rent, lease or purchase model. That means that pallet users can choose from a variety of models, ranging from a per trip rental to outright ownership of their own managed pool.

The benefit to pallet producers, recyclers and distributors is an opportunity to retain current customers using stringer pallets who may be considering a shift to a block or leased pallet as a result of the Costco specification or the shortage of cores

The benefit to pallet users, according to John Swenby, a member of the 9BLOC, development team, is “the power of choice. Now, you can choose to rent, lease or purchase your own pallet inventory, based on your needs, from the 9BLOC participating pallet maker you select.”

According to Swenby, the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association had been discussing the idea of a national pallet pool for years. “Within the industry, we have been asking what can we do to compete with the big pallet pooling guys,” Swenby says. “If you look around the globe, Europe has EPAL and Canada has the CPC. We don’t have anything like this in the US.”

While the concept was initially just industry chatter, Swenby says a group of leaders began to investigate what it would take to put together a pool managed by pallet producers in October of 2010, about the time Costco announced its plans to convert to a block pallet. The reason: although CHEP and PECO offer block pallets in their pools, most US pallet manufacturers make stringer pallets, which would no longer be accepted by Costco. To stay in that game, would require an industry response. “I think there are other major retailers out there who are looking at the Costco model but have not switched to a block pallet because there wasn’t a pooling business model that worked for them,” Swenby says. “We decided to spend a few months to see what the industry is thinking.”

Out of those discussions came the formation of Pallet Logistics & Unit Load Solutions, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that will oversee the operation of the pool, about a year ago. A collaboration of companies that represent the entire product supply chain, the group will work together to provide a pool of high-quality wood block pallets that are manufactured and repaired to an industry-wide standard along with a software asset-tracking solution to manage the pool. An independent third party inspection service will conduct routine inspections of participating suppliers to assess quality standards.
“There are several thousand pallet manufacturers located around the US,” says Swenby. “If there are 500 of them with 100 trailers and 100 employees to manufacture, distribute and repair pallets, that’s a lot of scale. We can use our network to serve customers who are already working with us, but have a need to go to a block pallet.”

You can learn more about the 9BLOC standard and model  on the organization’s website. 

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Parent company's Logistics & Automation Division began servicing North American customers in 1962, 12 years before Murata machinery was established.

Pack Expo and Pharma Expo to draw 2,400 exhibitors in more than 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space.

Cloud-based manufacturing execution systems grant visibility into centralized or global manufacturing environments.

In-plant trailers represent a tried and true method of moving materials through plants safely and efficiently. While trailers look alike at first glance, there are some significant differences that greatly affect performance and cost. The wise purchaser will study the differences and select the system that makes the best sense for the specific application. This complimentary white paper addresses the most important design factors to consider when specifying in-plant trailers.

Very often companies debate needing a new WMS or just muddling through while constantly adding to the List. The List is that set of notes that operations people wish their WMS could do. Every operation has their unique items, things their business requires that their WMS system doesn't do, or does poorly. This white paper reviews how to extend a WMS to allow the List to become a thing of the past.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. Contact Bob Trebilcock.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA