What are pallets?
During the early 20th century, pallets were known as wooden boxes, crates often used to protect, store and transport goods. The forerunner of the modern wooden pallet was a simple pallet consisting of long joists fastened to a top surface. It first appeared in American factories along with low-lift trucks.
In the 21st century, pallets are no longer simply a means of moving materials in the factory. A pallet is a flat structure used to hold cargo when it is lifted by a truck or winch or other conveying devices. Pallets have the basic structure of a load unit that allows for efficient movement and storage. This industrial product is widely used in logistics and freight.
Pallets are not only made from metal such as iron and steel but also made from wood, plastic, paper, etc. In addition, pallets are not only diverse in design, size, and color, but also have to be guaranteed to be durable, withstand large loads, convenient for moving, lifting, suitable for environments in high temperature or low humidity.
Sorting pallets by material
Currently, pallets on the market are usually made of 4 main types of materials, including:
Paper pallets: made from many layers of paper pressed together with glue with very light characteristics, usually weighing less than 200kg/pallet, without mold, so it is suitable for all types of goods, but moisture resistance is quite good. short. This line of pallets is easy to clear because there is no need to fumigate and treat termites, so the price is often higher than other types of pallets.
Plastic pallets: made of hard plastic that can withstand the impact of sun and rain, high durability, so it is suitable for goods that need to be stored or transported outdoors such as stone, brick, iron, steel, etc. However the production cost is quite high, so they do not produce in small quantities, so small-scale enterprises often have to buy retail. Due to the increasingly developed technology, the production of plastic pallets is increasingly simplified and more cost-effective, so in the future, it is possible to completely replace wooden pallets to become the most popular type of shelf.
Wooden pallet: this is the most popular type of shelf on the market because of its low cost, easy production, relative durability, suitable for light and medium load goods, commonly used for export goods.
Iron pallet: this is the least common type because it is only suitable for heavy goods requiring high durability. The production cost is also not cheap and it is more difficult to reuse than other types of pallets
Besides, there are many ways to classify pallets according to different criteria, which are mentioned in the table below:
|Criteria||Types of pallets|
|Design||2-way lifting pallet (1 side – 2 sides)|
4-way lifting pallet (1 side)
Foot lock pallet
|Performance||Old pallet (used many times)|
Pallet for forklifts, etc
|Weight||Light weight (300kg – 500kg)|
Medium load (500kg -1000kg)
Heavy load (>1000kg)
|Size||1000mm x 1000mm x 135mm|
1100mm x 1100mm x 140mm
1100mm x 1100mm x 120mm
1200mm x 900mm x 135mm
1200mm x 1000mm x 150mm
1219mm x 1000mm x 140mm
Two extremely important roles of pallets
Pallets allow oversized items, heavy items, and stacks of lighter items to be moved easily using a forklift or pallet jack. This can help one person do the work of three to four people in a shorter time.
Unloading a palletized container can take 4-8 hours to unload while if the goods are palletized, the unloading will take about 30 minutes and only need one person. Thanks to pallets, your warehouse team only needs less time to move goods, the labor time is shortened, the business will spend less money on labor costs. Therefore, businesses not only save a large amount of time but also save a lot of money to pay for employees.
Pallets save space
Pallets can be easily stacked or stored in pallet racks until needed. Many retail locations will ship the pallet back if required so the pallet can be used multiple times. On the other hand, many places also use pallets to display items.
Pallets also help save space in the warehouse. When stacking pallets of goods on top of each other, with only a very small storage area, businesses can store a large number of goods, helping to make optimal use of warehouse space. Of course, space-saving pallets can also help businesses save a lot of shipping costs because stacking goods will make shipping more efficient and faster.
Pallets of 2021
When the economy reopens and people’s demand for goods increases rapidly, it will push pallets into scarcity. In addition, the demand for inventory in stores and large companies is also increasing, putting pressure on equipment to support warehouse management such as pallets.
Besides, in the context of high demand, the pallet manufacturing industry also has a headache because of the production cost story, when the global price of pallet materials is trading at sky-high prices. Currently, the cost of producing wooden pallets has increased by more than 400% compared to before the pandemic, because the raw material for pallet production is sawn timber, a cheap raw material that is now in short supply and becoming more expensive. more expensive than ever.
On the other hand, due to the recent booming housing demand, pallet manufacturers are also competing for this raw material with the housing construction industry. Meanwhile, sawmills have made efforts to increase production capacity but the shortage of sawn timber still shows no sign of improvement.
These factors have pushed pallet prices to record highs. And as packaging and shipping costs rise, consumers will likely suffer the most in this crisis, as the container crisis did before.
The impacts of the assessed pallet crisis can be as severe as the container crisis. Practically any industry that transports a product, a component, a raw material, need to use pallets. Therefore, the shortage of pallets will impact, even disrupt the supply chain of not only one but many industries globally.