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RRtrans Robert Piskorowski - international transport and forwarding
  • Writer's pictureZuzanna Piskorowska

Palette – the base of safe truck transport

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

International pallet transport

When we think of road transport, what we primarily see is a truck loaded with pallets. In this article, we answer the question of what pallets are, why we use them and where the idea of using pallets in road transport came from.

Palette History

It is human nature to strive to make life and work easier. This also applies to transport and loading. And so, more than a hundred years ago, the Pennsylvania Railways' first electrically powered truck was born in America.

That had little in common with today's forklifts. It transported goods on platforms. But it proved that a machine with a small electric motor can make work a lot easier, and that's how people came up with the idea of a forklift.

It wasn't long before experiments began with lifting systems and panels that made it possible to move the load from place to place. However, the real breakthrough was forced by World War II and the needs of the army. The massive use of wooden platforms to transport food and weapons began.

Immediately after the war, numerous inventions were patented that improved transport and loading. Among other things, a pallet with fork access and the first "hand pallet truck".

International pallet transport

Modern pallets in road transport

By definition, a pallet is an elevated platform for transporting and storing goods, and pallet transport simply means the transport of goods placed on a pallet.

Modern pallets differ in size, material and number of entries.

Based on the manufacturing material, we distinguish 3 basic types:

  • Wooden pallets

  • Plastic pallets

  • Metal pallets

Wooden pallets

Wood is the most popular material for making pallets. Wooden pallets are widely used in truck road transport. These pallets can come in different sizes. The structure of a wooden pallet looks different in different countries of the world. The most popular pallet standards include: EPAL open pallets - Euro pallets, closed pallets, stringer pallets and carrier pallets

Open EPAL pallet - Euro pallet

International pallet transport
EPAL pallet - Wikipedia source

Euro pallet is an open pallet with four entrances. It is widely used in international transport in Europe (outside the UK). To mark a pallet with the EPAL mark, it must comply with European standard EN 13698-1 and UIC code 435.

The most popular dimensions of euro pallets are:

  • EUR6 - 800 × 600 mm (half pallet)

  • EUR1 - 800 × 1200 mm (standard pallet)

  • EUR2 - 1200 × 1000 mm (industrial pallet)

  • 3 EUR - 1000 x 1200mm

How do you recognize a Euro pallet? Euro pallets have several distinctive markings that make them easier to identify:

  • EPAL" logo in the left corner

  • Manufacturer's company code on center foot of pallet

  • the "EUR" logo in the right corner

International pallet transport
Euro Pallet Specification - Wikipedia source

LPR and CHEP closed palette

International pallet transport
CHEP Palette - Wikimedia source

LPR and CHEP pallets are closed pallets in four directions. They are mainly used for transport in Great Britain. They consist of blocks connected with boards on all four sides and in the middle. These palettes are usually blue or red and labeled LPR or CHEP. Due to their characteristic construction, they can only be operated by certain lifting vehicles.

String Palette

International pallet transport
Stringer Palette - Wikipedia source

Stringer pallets are four-way pallets closed at the bottom. They are mainly used in North America, Africa and Asia. These pallets have a slot for forks and lateral reinforcement of the structure.

Carrier Pallet

International pallet transport
Pallet Carrier - Source

Carrier pallets are dual-entry pallets, so handling them requires a special type of low-profile forklift. Like Stringer pallets, these are mainly used in North America, Asia and Africa.

Plastic pallets

Pallets in truck transport
Plastic pallet - Source Wikimedia

Plastic pallets have a similar structure to wooden pallets. Due to the price and durability, they are not widely used in transportation, but they are widely used in the food industry to store food. Due to the easy cleaning, they meet high hygiene standards.

Metal pallets

The most expensive and durable pallets are metal pallets. They are suitable for transporting heavy loads and are therefore mainly used in the automotive and metal industries. The dimensions of metal pallets usually correspond to the dimensions of wooden pallets.

Advantages of pallet transport

With pallets you can safely transport both small and large loads. They make it easier to group smaller items. The loading area of the vehicle can be fully utilized by using pallets. The capacity of a standard truck trailer is 34 pallets.

All this makes pallets versatile in international trucking.

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