Using Euro Pallets for Shipping
04 Apr 2018
Two sets of standards apply to pallets that are going to be used in Europe. First of all, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) sets out the standard sizes that can be used for pallets. Then the European Pallet Association (EPAL) lays down a set of standards that govern how a pallet is built. Together these two standards ensure that when shipping Euro pallets the logistics industry can deal with predictable sizes and load goods on to pallets knowing that they won’t disintegrate during transit.
ISO Size Standards
The Euro pallet used most widely in both in the UK and in Europe is 800mm by 1200mm by 120mm. There are a couple of larger sizes that are recognised by the ISO, but this is the basic pallet to all intents and purposes. It’s so widely used that estimates put the number in circulation today at around 500 million.
EPAL Construction Standards
These standards ensure that pallets are free of mould and robust and that shipping Euro pallets is a safe process for loading operators and others.
- The wood used must be dry and free of mould, mildew, insects or other contaminants. There’s an approved list of the woods that can be used.
- The pallet must be made of eleven boards and nine blocks This ensures a robust and uniform construction.
- The nails used must be of the correct material and 78 should be used. They need to be positioned in a standardised pattern, and there must be no protruding nails.
- The pallet should weight roughly 25kg and be capable of carrying 1,500kg safely.
- The EPAL logo should be displayed on the right of one of the end boards. This shows that the pallet has been inspected and conforms to the standard.
- The EUR trademark should be displayed on the left of the same board.
- The information about the manufacturer, including the country where the pallet was made, the date of manufacture, how the board was treated and in some cases, the authorising railway company, have to be displayed in the middle. These are burned into the wood.
Any business or individual making Euro pallets has to ensure that they follow these standards.
There are also circumstances that mean the pallet must undergo mandatory repairs, and these include splits, exposed nails, breaks or missing pieces. Dirty and damp pallets are also unacceptable and must be cleaned and dried. Again, there are rules about to how the repairs must be carried out, and anyone shipping Euro pallets has to comply with the EPAL standards when they are repairing pallets for reuse. These rules may seem restrictive, but they enable the logistics industry to move goods around safely and efficiently across Europe.