The pallet is a flat structure used for transporting freight. Wooden pallets are simply platforms of a standard pallet size that are the most common type of packaging in freight shipping. There are different types of pallets, but they are mostly made of either wood or plastic. The freight is usually secured or tied to the pallet and then stacked into the trailer.
Pallets are mostly used to attach and secure already packaged freight. This way, the carrier can load a full trailer and avoid moving or damaging any cargo on the truck. Pallets are preferred for most shipments, so if you are not planning to use them, make sure to discuss packaging requirements with the shipping company or a carrier.
The standard pallet size is typically considered to be 48" x 40". These pallets are often referred to as GMA (The Grocery Manufacturers Association) pallets, as they are most commonly used for the consumer packaged goods industry. Nearly one-third of pallets produced in the U.S. each year are GMA pallets. Here are the three most popular standard pallet dimensions:
The weight of an average 48” x 40” wooden pallet will range somewhere between 33 lbs and 48 lbs. Most often, the average pallet will weigh nearly 30 lbs, but this number can reach up to 70 lbs, depending on many factors like the material, moisture level, etc.
There are many different types of pallets in terms of size, materials, and construction. Speaking of material, pallets are most often made of wood and plastic but can also be made of pressed wood, metal, etc. Wooden pallets can be constructed in many different ways, but there are two main types of pallets: stringer pallets and block pallets.
Stringer pallets are named this way because they have 3 long pieces of wood (called ‘stringers’) to support two sides of wooden boards. Stringer pallets can be picked up by a forklift in two different ways, so these pallets are usually considered to be 2-way pallets.
In a similar way, the pieces of wood in block pallets are supported by blocks of wood. They are usually used for heavier shipments. Unlike stringer pallets, block pallets can be loaded from any of their four sides. They are commonly known as 4-way pallets.
It’s better to put the heaviest items on the bottom, and the lightest ones on the top. Put layers of cardboard or thick paper between every second or third pack. This will help reduce pressure on the bottom package and will help ensure it is not damaged in transit. If you use boxes, cartons, or bags, make sure you properly seal them. Protect the corners and stack the boxes evenly as possible. Don't leave empty space between the cartons to avoid shifts on the pallet. Padding your packages is an absolute necessity for secure transportation.
Some carriers will refuse to transport loose boxes with no internal protection, so make sure to stuff cartons with soft material, especially when items are fragile. Label each pack with instructions for handling, like “fragile,” “do not turn upside down,” etc.
This will help carriers to move their freight carefully. Don’t forget to use strapping or metal taping to make packages hold together. Wrap your packages and wrap around the pallet to strengthen the protection.