When you want to send goods per pallet, you may notice that there are dozens of different types and sizes. The best known kind is the wooden Euro pallet from EPAL, size: 120 x 80 centimeter. EPAL is the organization that ensures pallet quality. This helps the organization that carries the pallets to be sure that the goods that are being transported do not face unexpected surprises.
Common pallet sizes
In addition to the 120 x 80 centimeter size, there is another size that is used frequently: 120 x 100 centimeter. In popular speech, the two different formats are referred to as Euro and Block pallet, Euro pallets being the the ones of 120 x 80 centimeters and Block pallets being the ones of 120 x 100 centimeters. Most smaller pallets are derived from these two formats:
120 x 80 cm: Regular, standard Euro pallet
60 x 80 cm: Half Euro pallet
60 x 40 cm: Display pallet
120 x 100 cm: Regular, standard block pallet
60 x 100 cm: Half pallet, also called half block pallet
60 x 50 cm: HST mini-pallet
The overview shows that there are no official fixed sizes, but what can be said with certainty is that the measurements as described above, are the ones that are used often.
When sending goods per pallet, you can choose from the sizes as described above. Packages weighing less than 30 kilos are usually grouped under parcels. Parcels heavier than 30 kilos always need to be transported on a pallet. Depending on the size and weight of the goods, they are assigned to a specific tray size. Of course it is cheaper to ship goods on a small tray than to ship them on a large one: a large one takes two to four times more floor area than for instance the mini-pallet.
Multiple use pallets versus single use
In addition to the different sizes, there is also a difference between pallets for multiple use (reusable) and the ones for single use (disposable). The advantage of reusable ones is that they are more robust than trays that are intended for single use. The EPAL Euro pallet is an example of a tray that is intended for multiple use. This tray can carry three to four times as much weight than a similar one for single use. However, pallets that are designed for single use are cheaper than the sustainable variant. Half pallets, display pallets and mini-pallets are always designed for single use. HST Groep sells single use pallets of the Euro format (120 x 80 cm), half pallets (100 x 60 cm) and mini-pallets (50 x 60 cm).
Multiple use pallets sometimes have some kind of deposit on them. For example, the Euro pallet has an administrative value of approximately ten euros. This usually means that if one party brings a package on a specific kind of tray, the retriever gives him a same one in return. For example, a customer of HST can specify in his order that he will give a similar empty pallet to the driver who will deliver goods that are displayed on a full one. Therefore, the customer does not pay pallet costs.
Although wooden pallets are by far the most popular kind, sometimes other materials are preferred. There are for example plastic, cardboard, wood fiber, styrofoam and metal pallets.
Since wooden pallet often weight 25 kilos, plastic ones are a lot lighter. In addition, plastic trays are often preferred when it comes to transporting or storing liquids or nutrients. Plastic pallets are more weather resistant, so they also last longer. However, plastic is less environmentally friendly and are more expensive than wood.
Like wooden, cardboard pallets are eco-friendly: if the pallet is broken, it can be disposed of as paper waste. In addition, cardboard is very lightweight, causing it to be very popular in airfreight. However, cardboard is not as strong as wood.
Wood fiber pallets
Pallets that are made from wood fiber are lighter than wooden ones. The advantage of wood fiber is that it is allowed to ship products into countries where wooden trays are forbidden. In addition to this, fiber woods can be stacked more easily since they are nested and therefore take up less space than stacked wooden traus. The major disadvantage of wood fiber is that the material can be used only once: in contrast to wooden pallets, broken fiber wood pallets cannot be repaired, making them highly unprofitable.
Just like cardboard, polystyrene pallets are because of their (lack of) weight often preferred in airfreight. Styrofoam is often used for the transportation of cooling and freezing equipment, since polystyrene is shock-absorbing. Nowadays, styrofoam trays are produced in such a way that they are recyclable, so they are more environmentally friendly than they used to be.
Metal pallets, IBC’s and cages
Metal pallets are made from steel, aluminum or a combination of these materials. Thanks to their robustness, metal has a high bearing capacity and are is durable. The disadvantage of steel is that it is very heavy, which makes it relatively expensive to transport. Aluminum is often comparable in weight to wood and is sometimes even lighter than wood.
IBC stands for “Intermediate Bulk Container”. This is a metal pallet with high upright edges and is basically a large metal box. These boxes have a long service life and can be used to store small things, as well as fluids. In addition to this, they also lend themselves well to be stacked.
Pallet cages, also called gitterboxes, are metal wire mesh containers. The difference between a cage and an IBC is that an IBC is completely closed, while the cage is wholly or partially wired, so the content of the box pallet is visible.
If you are looking for a logistics service provider who can take care of your pallet shipping, HST Groep is the partner you are looking for. HST has been a pallet shipper for over 25 years. Especially sending pallets to Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden is within our field of expertise, but HST can also help you with sending pallets to other European countries. Request a free and non-binding offer to find out what HST can do for you.