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What are Pallets and Palletizing in Shipping?

This article was originally posted by Mohit in http://www.marineinsight.com..  

Pallets are plane (flat) structures utilised in cargo container ships for supporting goods or containers. Cargo consignments are piled atop these structures, the process being referred to as palletizing.


Palletizing is regarded to be a sure-safe way of dispatching marine cargo consignments, just as palletized cargo ships are held in high regard in the shipping sector across the world. The process helps in easy handling and storage of goods on ships.

The cargo placed on pallet is secured with straps and wraps in order to stabilize and prevent any unwanted movement.

Shipping Pallets

There are various aspects to shipping pallets. Since they form an important cog in the maritime industry, several norms and measures have been established by the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation). Through such norms, it has been sought to bring the entirety of the freight operations which palletize their cargo consignments under a wider and common spectrum.

The normative standardisation for pallets has been regulated in their sizing. Pallet sizes matter hugely while loading on palletized cargo ships as depending on the nature of the cargo, the optimal sized pallet is utilised to support the cargo consignments.

–          The most commonly utilised pallet size is 48 inches by 40 inches (breadth by length)

–          Pallet structures of this size are very commonly utilised in ships in the Northern American shipping zone

–          European and Australian shipping sectors have their own specifically regulated pallet sizes

plastic pallet–          The most commonly used pallets in Europe are ones that measure 40 inches by 47 inches approx. (breadth by length)

–          In Australia, the sizes of the pallets used measure 42 inches by 42 inches (breadth by length)

Alongside the sizing of the pallet structures, the material used to build the structures also becomes important. Utilisation of inferior materials could result in detrimental shipping, which would affect the trustworthiness of the shipper and the consignor, thereby affecting his credibility.

–          The most ordinarily used component for shipping pallets is wood. There however are various regulations that need to be addressed before a wooden pallet is approved for utilisation

–          Though qualitatively, the wood needs to be of a softer variance, it’s imperviousness to attract contagion is equally mandatory

–          Thus wooden pallet structures are disinfected and coated with necessary varnishes to prevent contagion

–          Apart from wood, steel, paper, and even plastic are used as viable structures for cargo consignments’ palletizing

Palletizing Methodologieswooden pallet

While trying to palletize, the following aspects are noted:

–          The piling of the consignments on the pallet board needs to be spread even. This makes it easy while lading and unloading the consignments

–          Pallet cargo ships also need to be tagged so as to enable easy identification and marking

–          After the palletizing process is complete, it’s also necessary to enfold the whole palletized consignment with an appropriate wrapping material.

As compared to non-palletized dispatching of cargo consignments, pallet shipping is definitely costly. However their cost-effectiveness by effectively minimising the potential risks and damages to the consignments makes the pallet cargo ships a must-have in the shipping cargo dispatching domain. The use of pallets greatly depends on the type of cargo that is to be transported.

References :

International Shipping USA, UPS, Fedex, Ocean Freight USA

Image Credits: goelforests,babble,nelsoncompany

Read more: http://www.marineinsight.com/misc/marine-safety/what-are-pallets-and-palletizing-in-shipping/#ixzz26YflbNwY


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiarhttps://www.shippingandfreightresource.com
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. If palletize shipments i.e. cargo packed on pallets, container floorboard will be ok if there are gouge, splinters, non transferable oil stain.
    Unfortunately, a lot of shippers still request for “mint” condition floorboards !


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