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Plastic pallets taking costs out of export supply chain

20 Feb 2015

Transport costs have increased considerably over the past few years, especially when it comes to air freight. This means that more goods are now being shipped by sea and road. Pallets are an important part of the shipment industry, providing benefits to the logistics sector and reducing costs within the export supply chain.

Why Use Plastic?

Data released by the International Air Transport Association shows that the volume of containerised cargo travelling by air fell to 1.7% from 3.1% between 2000 and 2013. This has forced exporters to look at alternative routes, which are generally by road or sea.

In the past, many companies preferred wooden pallets over the newer alternative of plastic. However, the numbers using plastic have started to increase significantly. Wood is still the major player, but its dominance is slowly being eroded.

With more goods being transported by road and sea, plastic pallets are seen as crucial. They are used for their strength, durability and cost-efficiency. Plastic pallets enable goods to be handled and stored easily and efficiently and without being damaged. They are available in a variety of forms, making them suitable for a number of different uses.

Plastic pallets are a more efficient method of storing goods, as they can be stacked to take up less space. This can be achieved without damaging the goods. If wooden pallets were stored in this way, the pallets themselves would likely be damaged, which would also impact on the goods being stored.


Weight is a key consideration for all companies, and it becomes even more important with the rising cost of fuel. Any additional weight will add to the cost, which will then be passed on to the consumer or absorbed by the company. Plastic pallets are considerably lighter than their wooden counterparts. However, this doesn’t affect the strength of the product.

No ISPM15 Requirements

When wooden pallets are used to transport goods on a global basis, they require heat or chemical treatment before they can be used. The ISPM 15 regulations have been designed to prevent the spread of pest infestations from one country to another. However, as pests cannot permeate the surface of the plastic, there are no such regulations for their use. This saves companies money on the administration costs.


Plastic pallets are not affected by the elements in the same way as wood is, including the damage that can be caused by rainwater. This can lead to wooden items being affected by mould, which can cause problems for the goods being transported, and it can impact on the strength of the pallet.


Plastic pallets are often used to transport food and pharmaceuticals, as they can be easily cleaned to a high standard. They are also not likely to break or suffer from splinters or protruding nails. These all reduce the costs of the supply chain by limiting the number of replacement pallets required.


Consistency is extremely important within the logistics industry. Plastic pallets are manufactured using injection-moulding technology, so all the items can be created to the same size and shape. This enables them to be efficiently stored and stacked, as they will fit easily together, reducing the amount of space that is required.

As goods are continually shipped around the world, it is likely that more of them will be transported on plastic pallets. They offer considerable benefits to the supply chain and are extremely cost-efficient.

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