Pallet Shipping 101: The Ultimate Guide

Pallet Shipping 101: The Ultimate Guide

Thinking of using pallets but not sure where to get them from? Well, look no further. 

PalletOnline has all the info you need, from where to find pallets to how to handle overseas shipping, we've got it all in this blog!

How do I get a shipping pallet?

Fortunately, pallets are really easy to get hold of. In fact, in 2017, there were 250 million pallets in circulation in the UK! That's a lot of pallets, but where can you find them all? 

wooden-pallets

The best place to find pallets are usually industrial estates, supermarkets or construction sites. Depending on where you go, you may be able to pick these up for very cheap, or even for free! 

If you're unlucky in your pallet search, don't worry. There are even websites that sell pallets, such as sites like Universal Pallets and even Gumtree. 

While rare, be careful not to pick up toxic pallets (yep, they exist...), such as ones coated with methyl bromide - a very toxic gas. While methyl bromide has been banned from pallet production since 2010, it's still worth checking that your pallets aren't labelled "MB".

If you've ever seen a blue pallet on your search, these are called CHEP pallets. Depending on which delivery service or network you use, you may or may not be able to ship CHEP pallets, so it's best to check. If you're using PalletOnline to ship your goods, you are more than welcome to send blue pallets through the network.

What are plastic pallets?

A fairly new addition, plastic pallets are quite self-explanatory. Instead of wood, they're molded out of plastic and are a lot lighter than their wooden counterpart. Because they're plastic, they are also resilient to pests and rot which makes them more robust in the long run.

plastic-pallets

Plastic pallets are also available in the same types as original, wooden pallets, such as two-way and four-way, double face and stringer pallets.

Be careful, though, as some pallet carriers and networks may refuse to ship plastic pallets. Amazon do not allow plastic pallets in their fulfilment centres.

Why should I ship with pallets?

You may think that, due to their large structure, pallets are an expensive way to ship your goods. However, this is not always the case. If you have a large number of goods to ship, pallets may be the way forward! 

In fact, pallets are quickly becoming the main way to ship freight in many industries, due to their convenience and ability to transport up to 2 tonnes of freight.

forklift-loading-truck

Pallets aren't just great for shipping goods either, as they can be upcycled and made into many different things, such as rustic signs or storage units.

How high can I pack a pallet?

When packing your pallets, it's really important to know the maximum size limits, otherwise, your pallet may risk getting rejected or may even incur extra costs. 

The maximum dimensions for your pallet may depend on the network or carrier you use. If you're using PalletOnline to ship your goods, our maximum height limits are: 

60cm for micro and quarter pallets. 1 meter for half pallets. 2.2 metres for full and oversized pallets

*If you're sending pallets to Amazon, please check the Amazon Size Guide. Weights and dimensions differ from our standard size guide.

What's the best way to stack a pallet?

It's extremely important that you stack your goods correctly, otherwise, they could get damaged. Make sure to inspect your pallet thoroughly beforehand, and ensure there are no signs of damage, such as cracks. 

You'll want to put the heaviest items at the bottom. This will provide a super-strong base and will prevent any lighter, more fragile items from being crushed.

It's also best to plan where you're going to put each item, as you don't want to get halfway through stacking and realise you need to re-stack everything again!

If you're stacking the same-sized boxes, it’s best to use a column-stacking method, or an interlock method if you're shipping boxes of different sizes. 

If your goods look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you've stacked them too high. 

pallet-boxes

How do I send a pallet overseas?

There are a few things you need to know before sending a pallet overseas:

  • Ensure your goods are not restricted - sending restricted goods is a sure-fire way of them getting rejected at the border. Each country will have different restrictions, so it's best to check before you send. A quick Google search should do the trick, i.e. "Restricted goods in Germany".
  • Make sure your pallets are loaded correctly - ensuring your goods are correctly loaded will reduce the risk of damage and potential delays during the shipping process.
  • Wrap your pallets liberally - there's no such thing as too much packing material in logistics. Properly securing your goods will greatly reduce the risk of your pallets becoming loose and falling off. Now that's what you'd call a logistical nightmare!
  • Make sure you have the correct documentation - when shipping internationally, you'll need certain documentation to get past customs. These include a commercial invoice and Incoterms.

There you have it! Hopefully, our blog has given you an insight on where to find your pallets, as well as some handy tips on safe pallet shipping. 

Why not use PalletOnline to ship your goods? Get a free and instant quote with one of the UK's most reliable pallet delivery service!