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General information about shipping pallets

What is a pallet?

A pallet is a flat structure made of wood, plastic, or metal that is used to support and transport goods. It is typically used in conjunction with a forklift, pallet jack, or other mechanical handling equipment to move goods around a warehouse, distribution center, or other storage facility. Pallets are typically standardized in size and shape to allow for efficient handling and storage. They are also often used to stack and secure goods for shipping or storage in a trailer or container.

What are the most common type of pallets and what are they made of?

There are several types of pallets that are commonly used, including wooden, plastic, and metal pallets.

Wooden pallets are the most common type of pallets and are widely used in a variety of industries. They are typically made from hardwoods, such as oak or maple, or softwoods, such as pine or spruce. Wooden pallets can be either new or used, and they can be either solid or with open slats.

Plastic pallets are another common type of pallets. They are made from recycled plastic and are designed to be lightweight and durable. Plastic pallets are often used in food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries because they are easy to clean and do not harbor bacteria or pests.

Metal pallets are made from steel or aluminum and are used in heavy-duty applications where high load-bearing capacity and durability are required. They are typically more expensive than wooden or plastic pallets, but they can last longer and are often used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and military.

There are also hybrid pallets that are made from a combination of materials, such as wood and plastic, or metal and plastic. These pallets are designed to combine the benefits of different materials and are often used in specialized applications.

What are the benefits of wooden pallets?

Wooden pallets have several benefits:

They are sturdy and durable

Wooden pallets are made of solid wood, which makes them strong and able to withstand heavy loads. They can be used for a long time with proper maintenance.

They are cost-effective

Wooden pallets are generally less expensive than other types of pallets, such as plastic or metal.

They are versatile

Wooden pallets can be used for a wide variety of applications, including storage, transportation, and material handling.

They are environmentally friendly

Wooden pallets can be recycled or repurposed after their useful life is over, making them a more sustainable option than disposable plastic pallets.

They are easy to repair

If a wooden pallet becomes damaged, it can often be repaired or recycled, whereas plastic or metal pallets may need to be replaced.

Overall, wooden pallets are a reliable and cost-effective choice for many businesses.

What are the benefits of plastic pallets?

Plastic pallets have several benefits over their wooden counterparts:


Plastic pallets are more durable than wooden pallets and can withstand harsh handling and harsh environments. They are also resistant to moisture, pests, and other contaminants, which makes them ideal for use in food and pharmaceutical industries.


Plastic pallets are typically lighter than wooden pallets, which makes them easier to handle and reduces shipping costs.


Plastic pallets are easier to clean and sanitize than wooden pallets, which makes them ideal for use in industries that require high levels of hygiene, such as the food and pharmaceutical industries.


Plastic pallets are made from recycled materials, which makes them more environmentally friendly than wooden pallets. They can also be recycled at the end of their lifespan, further reducing their environmental impact.


Plastic pallets have a longer lifespan than wooden pallets, which means they may be more cost-effective in the long run. They also do not require the same level of maintenance as wooden pallets, which can further reduce costs.


Plastic pallets can be customized to meet specific needs, such as specific weight capacities or dimensions. This is not possible with wooden pallets.

What is the average weight of pallets?

A standard wooden pallet with dimensions of 120×80 (cm) usually weighs about 15 to 20 kg. A pressed wood pallet measuring 120×80 (cm) with a load capacity of 350 kg weighs about 9 kg. A heavy-duty plastic pallet of 120×80 (cm) weighs about 10 kg. There are alternatives, for example, cardboard and styrofoam, which weigh much less. However, the problem with these pallets is that they can usually be used only once.

What is a heat-treated pallet?

A heat-treated pallet is a type of wooden pallet that has been subjected to a process of heating in order to meet certain international regulations for the transportation of goods. The purpose of heat treating wooden pallets is to kill any insects or pests that may be present in the wood, such as beetles or termites, which could potentially infest and damage cargo during shipping.

Heat treatment involves exposing the wooden pallets to a high temperature for a specified period of time in order to kill any pests that may be present in the wood. The temperature and duration of the heat treatment process depends on the type of wood and the size of the pallets being treated. After heat treatment, the pallets are stamped with a mark or symbol indicating that they have been properly treated and are safe for use in international shipping.

Heat-treated pallets are used in many different industries and are particularly important in the export of goods to countries with strict regulations on the import of wood products to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.

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The most common pallet dimensions


(W × L) millimetres

(W × L) inches

Most used in

1016 × 1219

40.00 × 48.00

North America

1000 × 1200

39.37 × 47.24

Europe, Asia

1165 × 1165

45.9 × 45.9


1067 × 1067

42.00 × 42.00

North America, Europe, Asia

1100 × 1100

43.30 × 43.30


800 × 1200

31.50 × 47.24


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15 tips about shipping pallets

Choose sturdy, high-quality pallets

Using pallets that are in good condition and made of sturdy materials will help ensure that your shipments are safe and secure during transportation. Avoid using damaged or broken pallets, as these can be unstable and increase the risk of accidents or damage to your shipments.

Use pallet collars or other restraints

Pallet collars, straps, and bands can help prevent items from falling off of the pallet during shipping. These restraints can keep your items securely in place and reduce the risk of damage or loss.

Distribute and secure items evenly on the pallet

Ensuring that the items on your pallet are evenly distributed and secured can help prevent shifting or tipping during transportation. This will help keep your pallet stable and balanced, reducing the risk of accidents or damage.

Use protective materials to cover and secure items

Stretch wrap, bubble wrap, foam sheets, and other protective materials can help protect your items from impact, moisture, and other environmental hazards during shipping.

Use proper labeling and identification

Clear and legible labels that include the recipient’s name, address, and contact information, as well as any necessary shipping instructions or handling requirements, will help ensure that your shipments are properly routed and delivered to the correct destination.

Use appropriate packaging materials

Choose packaging materials that are appropriate for the size, weight, and fragility of your items to ensure that they are properly protected during transportation. This can include sturdy boxes or containers, cushioning materials, and protective wrap or film.

Use a pallet jack or forklift to load and unload

These tools can help reduce the risk of injury or accidents when handling heavy or awkward loads, and can make the process of moving pallets around your warehouse or shipping facility much easier.

Use proper lifting techniques

To avoid injury when handling pallets, use your legs to lift, rather than your back, and keep your load close to your body to maintain proper balance.

Use sturdy shipping containers or boxes

Choose containers that are appropriate for the size and weight of your items, and consider using containers with reinforced corners or walls for added protection.

Consider using a specialized shipping company

Companies that specialize in handling palletized shipments often have experience with handling large, heavy loads and can provide specialized equipment and services to ensure that your shipments are delivered safely and efficiently.

Use proper storage techniques

Keeping your pallets in a dry, well-ventilated area, and stacking them in a stable and secure manner can help prevent accidents or damage.

Choose the correct pallet size

Using pallets that are the appropriate size for your shipments will help ensure that they are stable and secure during transportation. Pallets that are too small or too large can be unstable and increase the risk of accidents or damage.

Use proper loading techniques

Distribute the weight of your items evenly across the pallet, and secure them firmly in place to prevent shifting or tipping. This will help ensure that your pallets are balanced and stable during shipping.

Use pallet-friendly equipment

Automating the handling of pallets with tools such as pallet conveyors can help streamline your shipping process and reduce the risk of accidents or damage.

Properly dispose of pallets

Recycling or reusing pallets that are still in good condition, and properly disposing of damaged or broken pallets, can help minimize waste and promote environmental sustainability.

10 most common mistakes when shipping pallets

Using insufficient or damaged packaging materials

It is important to use sturdy and sufficient packaging materials to ensure that the goods on the pallet are protected during shipping. Using damaged or insufficient materials can lead to damage or loss of the goods during transit.

Not securing the goods properly

It is crucial to secure the goods on the pallet properly to prevent them from shifting or falling during shipping. This can be done using straps, shrink wrap, or other suitable materials.

Using the wrong size pallet

It is important to use the right size pallet for the goods being shipped. Using a pallet that is too small can cause the goods to fall off or become damaged, while using a pallet that is too large can make the goods unstable and prone to shifting.

Not using a pallet jack or forklift to move the pallet

Pallets can be heavy and awkward to move, and attempting to do so manually can lead to injury or damage to the goods. It is important to use the proper equipment, such as a pallet jack or forklift, to move pallets safely.

Not properly labeling the pallet

Proper labeling is important for ensuring that the goods on the pallet reach their intended destination. Be sure to include all necessary information, such as the recipient’s name and address, the contents of the pallet, and any special handling instructions.

Not following proper stacking guidelines

It is important to follow proper stacking guidelines to ensure the stability and safety of the goods on the pallet. This includes placing the heaviest items at the bottom of the stack and ensuring that the load is evenly distributed.

Not using pallet collars or other protective measures

Pallet collars or other protective measures, such as wooden corner protectors, can help to prevent damage to the goods on the pallet during shipping.

Not properly securing the pallet to the shipping vehicle

It is important to properly secure the pallet to the shipping vehicle to prevent it from shifting or falling during transit. This can be done using straps, ropes, or other suitable materials.

Not properly inspecting the pallet before shipping

It is important to thoroughly inspect the pallet and the goods on it before shipping to ensure that everything is in good condition and properly secured.

Not choosing the right shipping service

It is important to choose the right shipping service for the goods being shipped. This includes considering factors such as delivery time, cost, and the handling requirements of the goods.

10 tips for properly stacking and securing items on a shipping pallet

Choose the Right Pallet Size

Make sure that the pallet is able to support the weight and size of your load without breaking or becoming unstable.

Place Heavy Items on Bottom

Start by placing the heaviest items on the bottom of the stack to ensure that the pallet remains stable and balanced.

Avoid Overloading

Make sure that the items on the pallet are evenly distributed and that the load is not too high.

Use Pallet Jack or Forklift

If possible, use a pallet jack or forklift to move the pallet to prevent accidents and injuries while handling the load.

Secure with Straps or Wrap

Use straps, shrink wrap, or stretch wrap to secure the items on the pallet and keep them in place during transport.

Position Items Stably

Place the items in a stable and secure position on the pallet, such as boxes that are not prone to tipping over.

Fill Gaps with Dunnage

Use wooden dunnage, foam sheets, or other materials to fill in any gaps between the items on the pallet to keep the load stable.

Use Corner Boards or Edge Protectors

Reinforce the edges of the pallet and protect the items from damage with corner boards or edge protectors.

Label Pallet and Load

Use labels or markings to indicate the top and bottom of the pallet, as well as any other important information such as the contents of the load or the destination.

Inspect Before Shipping

Check the pallet and load before shipping to make sure that everything is properly secured and ready for transport.

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