Pallets: The Definitive Guide

Date: 2018-10-30

When it comes to finding the right pallets to export goods it’s important to understand the variety of sizes, styles, and materials for all types of pallets available. In this blog, we cover the different types of pallets, advantages and disadvantages of these types of pallets, and how we can strive towards a more sustainable approach to exporting goods using pallets.

  • Standard & Custom Pallets – The standard Australian pallet size is 1165mm x 1165mm. While these are generally a suitable fit for the Australian railways’ RACE container, they are not always suitable for the standard 20ft and 40ft ISO shipping containers that are used to export goods internationally.
  • Export Pallets – Strictly used for exporting goods internationally, export pallets come in a range of sizes that have been treated to comply with ISPM 15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures) standards. The typical export pallet size is a fixed 1100mm x 1100mm, however it’s important to be mindful that there are a variety of maximum sizes and weights of pallets for certain countries.
  • Euro Pallets – The preferred type of pallet for a business exporting goods overseas to Europe. The pallets are traded between supplier and customer that is negotiated between both parties. The Euro pallet is an industry-standard pallet measuring 800 x 1200 x 144mm.
  • Lightweight Pallets – Designed to reduce weight & costs, these domestic pallets are up to 60% lighter than your standard pallets, have a maximum weight of 500kg and can be made to the standard dimensions of 1165mm x 1165mm or to dimensions of your specification.
  • Medium Duty Pallets – With a standard Australian size of 1165mm x 1165mm and a maximum weight of 1500kg, these pallets are a cost effective alternative to heavy duty pallets and are great for lighter loads, or for single use only.
  • Heavy Duty Pallets – These pallets have a standard Australian size of 1165mm x 1165mm and a maximum weight of 2000kg. Heavy duty pallets are strictly designed for use when you have a heavy payload, are incredibly strong, long lasting and suitable for repeated use.
  • Plastic Pallets – An excellent alternative to wooden pallets. Lightweight, durable and hygienic, these pallets are quite expensive compared to timber.
  • Crane Pallets – Developed and designed by certified engineers, these pallets ensure for a maximum static load of 5000 kg and a dynamic load of 2500 kg.

For additional info, please view the CMTP range of pallets.

Timber vs Plastic Pallets

There’s often a great debate over plastic vs timber pallets, specifically which remains the most cost effective and environmentally friendly. When you think of a shipping pallet, 9 times out of 10 you think of wood. Pallets have been traditionally manufactured from timber for decades, however as we move toward a more connected world, plastic pallets are becoming more prevalent as companies are shipping more often and in much higher volumes. Both plastic and timber pallets have a variety of advantages and disadvantages, we’ll take a look at these below:

Timber Pallets

Advantages of timber pallets:

  • Cost effective
  • Environmentally friendly & recyclable due to natural materials
  • Easy to maintain and repair
  • Can hold more weight than plastic

Disadvantages of timber pallets:

  • Less durable than plastic, can splinter & break easily
  • Absorbs moisture easily, always have to be stored in a cool, dry place
  • Need to be heat-treated before shipment
  • Difficult to maintain cleanliness

Plastic Pallets

Advantages of plastic pallets:

  • Long lasting & durable, which proves to be very cost-effective for long-term
  • Weighs less than timber pallets, which reduces shipping costs
  • Weather resistant & easy to maintain cleanliness
  • Recyclable (however not as environmentally friendly as timber)

Disadvantages of plastic pallets:

  • Up-front costs are up to 3x higher than timber pallets
  • Difficult to repair, generally have to be replaced if broken
  • Smooth surface can be difficult, causing goods to shift and slide easily
  • Can’t hold as much weight as timber pallets

While both timber and plastic pallets are both viable options for shipping goods, it’s important to consider the factors above and decide which option works best for you, especially if you plan to ship goods long-term. If your products are heavy, timber pallets will be the best choice and they are much better at holding large loads, however if you have had problems in the past with shipping timber pallets internationally, the peace of mind to go for plastic may just be worth the extra costs.

Find out more about CMTP’s comprehensive range of timber pallets and plastic pallets.

An environmental approach to pallets

If you prefer a more environmentally friendly approach, look no further than cardboard pallets. These pallets are the ideal environmentally and economically friendly solution to fulfil your businesses needs for shipping your goods both locally and abroad.

Cardboard pallets are far lighter than timber or plastic, with each pallet weighing less than 10kg. This is one key advantage for transporting lightweight goods as it is easier to handle and shipping costs are reduced.

Designed to suit a variety of industry-specific applications, corrugated cardboard pallets can also be easily manufactured to suit your specific freight requirements, with custom sizes and designs to reduce wastage, transportation and storage space. This saves a significant expenditure in shipping costs.

At CMTP, we have a range of lightweight and heavy duty cardboard pallets to suit your requirements, handling loads from 100kg right up to 600kg.

If you’re looking to make the change to a more environmentally friendly and economical pallet solution, get in touch with the CMTP team today to discuss your freight requirements.