Pallet Survey: The pulse on pallets

From wood to plastic to pallet pools, our readers tell us what’s important in pallets.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
November 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

We suspect that non-wooden pallets are being used in niche applications, such as captive pallets in a manufacturing operation, to ship back and forth to regular suppliers or customers or as a result of a customer requirement.

The 48 x 40-inch pallet is the most commonly used size, cited by 81% of readers. No surprise there either. What did catch our attention was that nearly 10% of respondents say they are shipping on a 24 x 20-inch half pallet. That is a relatively new size developed for the beverage industry, but it may also have applications for end-of-aisle displays.

Our readers’ pallets are circling the globe: nearly 57% of readers say they are shipping to both domestic and international customers; 39% of readers are only shipping domestically; and 4% are only shipping internationally.

The leading recipient is Canada (74%), followed by Mexico/South America/Caribbean (66%), China/Asia (57%), Western Europe (48%) and Eastern Europe (36%).

International business does require a different pallet strategy for most shippers, with only 21% reporting that they don’t do anything differently for international and domestic deliveries. Readers reported that 48% treat their pallets; 20% use alternative materials other than wood that don’t require treatment; 16% use wood pallets from their own pool; and 3% use a pallet pool for international shipments.

Watch the number of treated pallets in the future, especially if Canada and the United States finally agree on a proposal to treat pallets traveling between the countries in the future. That will lead to more readers treating their pallets or shipping on alternative materials.

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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.


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