Logistics expertise 18.02.2024

A guide to efficient shipping with pallets

New Content Item (1)

Pallet shipping can be a more affordable way of transporting your goods. We discuss the solutions to the most important questions such as when pallet shipping is right for your business, how to ship by pallet, and the benefits and challenges of shipping by pallet.

If you’d like to know more about our freight exchange which includes shipping with pallets, find out more here


What is a pallet?

A pallet is used for transporting stackable goods. It is a flat load-bearing structures made from wood, plastic, or stainless steel. The most known pallet is the Euro-pallet. Pallet shipping is when you use pallets to transport goods from one location to another.

What can I send on a pallet?

You can use a pallet to stack multiple items together or to keep one item secure. You can stack lots of items on a pallet if they are all going to the same location. It is advisable not to send fragile or high-value goods as they may not be insured for damage, only loss. Dangerous items such as fire extinguishers and batteries are generally not accepted on pallet shipping and items such as personal effects, perishable goods, and white goods. Anything that could leak is not advisable to ship using pallets because if one item leaks it could affect the whole pallet of goods.

But many industries can use pallet shipping including the automotive industry, canned goods, paper goods, pharmaceuticals, amongst plenty of others.

How can I prepare my pallet for transit? 

The steps to palletize for shipping include:

·         Stacking your palletised goods correctly and avoiding overhang.

·         Make sure each item is securely packed even though you will be wrapping the whole pallet.

·         Wrap the pallet with shrink wrap or a similar alternative and label.


How much is a shipping pallet?

A pallet itself, as of September 2023, costs between £4 and £9 or €4.68 to €10.52. To ship by pallet is more expensive initially but when shipping multiple packages, it can save on packaging costs and will usually be cheaper than sending them all separately. Specialist equipment is needed to ship pallets which is one of the reasons for the expensive initial cost. The cost of shipping by pallet will depend on how much you are shipping and the distance.


What size pallet will I need?

There are different shipping pallet sizes, but most countries use palletisation standards which makes things easier. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) set out shipping pallet standard sizes which is UIC 435/2. The two numbers indicate the shipping pallet height. The first number refers to the stringer length and the second refers to the deckboard length. The most common pallet, Euro pallets are 80 x 120cm, but the standard UK pallet is 120 x 100cm. The typical weight of a pallet is between 15 to 20kg and can hold around 1,000kg in weight.


How do I choose the right pallet for my shipment?

There are many factors you should consider when choosing the right pallet for your shipment. Below we have highlighted some for you.

Type of pallet

There are plenty of options of pallets to choose from including Euro pallets, block pallets, mini pallets, GMA pallets, drum pallets, and custom. What type of pallet you choose will depend on your goods and where you are shipping them.

Quality of material

There is a range of materials to choose from including the common wood pallets but there is also plastic or aluminium. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages such as wood pallets can absorb moisture which can make them heavier. If you want to transport heavy goods, then you will need a better-quality material that can support them.

Pallet size

Not all European countries have the same standard size of pallet, so you need to ensure wherever you are shipping to is able to handle your pallets.

New versus used pallets

You can purchase either new or used pallets. Used pallets will cost less but they may be of lower quality.


What are the requirements for pallets for shipping?

When using pallets for shipping pallets to Europe and the UK and vice versa, you must ensure they meet international standards. These include following the ISPM15 international standards. This means they are required to be debarked and then heat treated or fumigated and stamped with a mark of compliance.


How does pallet shipping work?

Pallet shipping works by a vehicle with empty pallets arriving at a loading location and exchanging the empty pallets for goods packed pallets. The vehicle then delivers goods to another location and receives more empty pallets.


How to ship pallets easily with TIMOCOM

Of the millions of goods being transported by road, 30% of all runs where empty runs. So, if you need to find shippers with pallets, there is plenty of opportunity to do so. At TIMOCOM, our freight exchange helps you to find space for your goods. Our simple interface helps you search our extensive network of over 50,000 potential international business partners who have all been vetted. This gives you peace of mind, your goods are in safe hands.

Find out more about our freight exchange to make your business more efficient or sign up for a trial at TIMOCOM.


What are the benefits of shipping pallets?

It can depend on your type of business, but international shipping pallets can have several advantages. The standardised size means that most countries will be able to accommodate the pallets saving time and effort. When transporting multiple goods, pallets make it easier to transport and handle them and make them easier to track. The pallets protect goods from damage and keeps them secure, reducing the likelihood of losing money due to damaged, lost, or stolen goods. Using pallets is also sustainable as they are reusable.


Challenges of palletisation

Before choosing to ship pallets, it is important to consider the challenges you may face. The process of pallet shipping requires the exchange of pallets. If a driver arrives at a location and doesn’t have empty pallets to exchange, then they will have to deliver these at a later time. The driver may not have pallets to exchange because of not receiving any at the unloading point and so there needs to be organisation to avoid this. Time management can be an issue as there is usually little time to exchange goods and pallets need to be lifted with specialist equipment which prolongs the time.

Quality control can be another issue. If a driver receives defective pallets, it needs to be recorded in a form called a pallet collection note.

Pallet exchange is not typical in all European countries, so you need to check this before arranging a pallet shipper to transport your goods.


Tram Trinh Thanh

Marketing Manager Northern Europe

Become an industry insider

Regularly receive interesting articles, valuable expert information and exclusive user reports!

Newsletter subscription

Pop-up image - Logistic
Stay up to date with industry news and logistics insights!

Sign up for our mailing list and never miss the latest updates.

To the top