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Current Wooden Pallet Industry

06 Aug 2018

Without pallets, most fulfilment facilities, warehouses and factories would not be able to receive, dispatch or move products and raw materials around. Pallets can be designed to suit the needs of a particular industry and have greatly improved the efficiency and safety of freight transport. They are a crucial part of the supply chain, but this does not necessarily mean that they will always be.

To stay relevant and integral to the industry of tomorrow, pallets will need to evolve and continue to fulfil the needs of the customers that use them. Modern Material Handling magazine has carried out a survey to provide data for its annual report on the pallet manufacturing industry. Added to this is further research by Persistence Market Research called “Pallets Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 – 2016 and Forecast 2017 – 2025”. Together they give a complete picture of the health and predicted future of the Current Wooden Pallet Industry.

wooden pallet industry

Growth Projections for Pallet Manufacturing

The main message from the Persistence Market Research report is that the pallet manufacturing industry is predicted to enjoy significant growth right up to 2025. The global pallet market grew at a CAGR of 4.7 per cent between 2012 and 2016, and current growth projections up to 2025 stand at 5.4 per cent.

The reason behind this is a predicted growth in demand for safe and secure transportation as the global supply chain continues to expand. In terms of pallet construction, plastic products are predicted to be the fastest growing sector of the industry.

What Does a Customer Look for in a Pallet?

The Modern Material Handling survey shows that the majority of customers questioned were using wooden pallets, but around half were using plastic and 18 per cent were using wood composite. The least popular were metal pallets.

When buying pallets, there is no doubt that price is the biggest concern because nearly 60 percent of respondents highlighted this as a concern. They are also looking for pallets that are strong (56 per cent), durable (50 per cent) and reusable (44 per cent).

Customer Pallet-Buying Habits

The MMH survey reveals that customers prefer used or core pallets rather than new ones despite the fact that many of them (53 per cent) had experienced quality or availability issues when trying to buy new pallets.

In the Current Wooden Pallet Industry, around half use only stringer pallets, and a much smaller proportion (17 per cent) use block pallets. A significant number of customers (33 per cent) use both. There has been a gradual decline in block-pallet use over the last three years. The most popular pallet size is the 48″ by 40″ followed by the 48″ by 48″. There has been a steady rise in sales of smaller pallets.

The Future for the Pallet Industry

The future for the Current Wooden Pallet Industry is looking positive. The Modern Material Handling magazine survey, together with the Persistence Market Research report, indicates that there is likely to be a big increase in demand for plastic pallets in particular.

Another notable trend is an increase in customer demand for stringer-type pallets. This is accompanied by growth in sales of pallets made from special materials, including those that have been treated to make them pest-free.

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