14.07.2022 - Magazine

Pallet transport: What is behind the transport of pallets?

The transport of goods in Europe has been in a constant state of flux since globalisation and digitalisation. Pallets are still used today as an aid for inexpensive transport. They form the foundation for the transport of goods.

Pallet transport – sending parcels and bulky goods

For more than 50 years it has been used as a means of transport in logistics: the Euro pallet. It forms the basis for the world’s largest exchange system ever established along the supply chain of companies and freight forwarders. It is no longer possible to imagine road transport without it, especially for sending bulky goods.

In the same way, several smaller parcels can be packed on pallets and sent by pallet shipping.

Fakten über die Europalette

Facts about the Euro pallet

The most widely used pallet is the EPAL Euro pallet, primarily in Europe, but also internationally. Around 450 to 500 million pallets are currently in use for pallet transport or in warehouses. For safe transport logistics as well as efficient warehouse logistics, it is important that each Euro pallet is robust and therefore reliable.

That is why every Euro pallet is made of wood and has a standardised size of 120 cm in length, 80 cm in height and 14.4 cm in height. Depending on the condition of the pallet or the wood, pallets are divided into different quality classes: starting with the highest level “New”, through classes “A” and “B” to the lowest class “C”. In addition, each standardised pallet must have 78 nails and nine blocks as joints. Depending on the moisture content of the wood, a pallet weighs approximately 23 – 25 kilograms and has a load capacity of up to 1,500 kilograms. The maximum load when stacking Euro pallets, for example when shipping pallets or in the warehouse, is 4,000 kilograms.

These uniform dimensions of the pallets not only enable safe pallet transport. The uniformity of the pallets is also fundamentally important for the international exchange system EPAL.

Logistikdienstleister sind Unternehmen, die in erster Linie logistische Dienstleistungen entlang der Supply Chain übernehmen.

EPAL exchange system: safeguarding value and inventory

When a delivery is made, the customer receives the pallets with the load and must hand over the same number of empty pallets to the carrier in return. This system is designed to ensure that there are always enough load carriers available. In addition, each pallet also represents its own value, which adjusts to the fluctuations of the global economy: While this used to be around €7 per pallet, today a Euro pallet costs around €18 per pallet on average.

So it is definitely relevant for pallet shipping to factor in the number of possible “pallet losses” or to avoid them as far as possible. Nevertheless, problems occur time and again when exchanging pallets: If no pallets are exchanged due to poor quality of the pallets or lack of space in the truck, so-called “pallet debts” arise that have to be compensated later. As a logistics company, Huettemann has its own department that takes care of the correct exchange and the follow-up of “pallet debts”.

1 PL: First Party Logistics Provider

Pallet shipping: freight forwarders and logistics service providers or parcel service providers

Pallet shipping is often cheaper with freight forwarders or logistics service providers than with a classic parcel service provider. The big advantage for customers is that they do not have to pay the bulky goods surcharge that DHL or UPS, for example, charge for transporting excessively heavy or long freight.

In addition, some of the pallet transport can be carried out with the company’s own trucks, thus offering customers an efficient solution at favourable prices. Huettemann also has its own fleet of 275 vehicles and takes care of shipping pallets from order to transport.

Pallet shipment of bulky goods and general cargo

The Euro pallet is the first choice for transporting bulky goods. With the right packaging, very heavy consignments can be reliably shipped on pallets. If the goods are evenly distributed, up to 4,000 kilograms can be stacked. With specially made, somewhat wider, wooden industrial pallets, the load capacity is even higher.

But not only bulky goods can be shipped on Euro pallets: Pallet transport is also ideal for a variety of small, stackable goods – such as goods in boxes and cartons. Overall, pallets can be shipped as part loads (LTL) or full loads (FTL) by truck, in containers by sea freight (LCL or LCL) or as air freight.

Europe-wide pallet transport – offers at favourable prices through network

As a logistics provider, having secure availability through its own fleet of vehicles is not Huettemann’s only advantage. There are also international distribution networks – i.e. delivery networks that form a partner landscape. These include the VTL network and the partner landscape of the CTL network.

They enable even more efficient transports through a collective hub system: pallet consignments are brought to the respective hubs in the region, routed to the various forwarders there in cross-docking and distributed in the right region. Huettemann’s own fleet primarily covers pallet transports in Germany, Benelux, Great Britain and Ireland.

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Great Britain not in the Europallet pool

In addition to the latest import regulations due to Brexit, the UK also has its own stance in the European pallet system: it is not integrated into the EPAL pallet exchange system, which means that pallet transports to the UK always involve a loss of pallets.

Therefore, “pallet losses” are already planned for in advance when transporting pallets to the UK.

Pallet transport with Huettemann

Whether for collection on site or as a consignment from one of our warehouses: as a lead logistics provider, we organise the transport of goods in the most efficient way and at the best possible price.

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