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How to Prepare Pallets for Shipping

When you need something shipped, you put it inside a box. The box helps to protect the item and identify where it's going. If you need to ship multiple or larger boxes, you rely on a pallet. 

Pallets make shipping easier for everyone involved. They're one of the strongest options for shipping heavy items without getting damaged. You can also easily recycle them when you're finished. 

Here's everything you need to know about pallet shipping and how to use them.

What Is a Pallet?

A pallet is a type of portable platform used in freight shipping. If you intend on sending multiple boxes to another location, you would want to stack them on a pallet. That pallet would then get shipped as a single item. 

You have multiple options when shipping pallets. Wood pallets are the most common type. You can also find plastic, metal, and corrugated cardboard pallets among other choices. 

Pallet Sizes

The standard size for shipping pallets is 40-by-48 inches. These are most often used for general industries or shipping grocery products. 

If you want the largest standard option, there's the 48-by-48-inch pallet. It's often used for transporting oil in 55-gallon drums.

One of the smaller pallet sizes is 36-by-36 inches. These are the kind you may have seen used when delivery trucks unload soda, water, and other beverages. 

Do some research before you order pallets to make sure they're the best size for your industry.

Pallet Weights

A standard pallet weighs anywhere between 35 to 40 pounds. However, they can hold a lot more weight than that. That same pallet can hold up to 4,600 lbs alone. 

It all depends on the material you're using. The dynamic load capacity of a plastic pallet is 5,000 lbs. Meanwhile, a wood stringer pallet can only hold up to 2,500 lbs. 

The weight of your load can affect your pallet shipping cost. Make sure to look up pallet shipping rates in advance. 

Difference Between Pallets, Skids, and Crates

It's important to know the difference between some of your shipping options, such as the pallet, skid, and crate.

The wooden skid is the precursor to the modern pallet. It only had a single top platform and no bottom deck. While lighter than a pallet, it lacks some of the stability and balance of a pallet. 

Crates are unlike both pallets and skids in that they're containers and not platforms. It's a good option if you have fragile items or sensitive equipment you want to be protected. They're stable but are bulkier and heavier than skids or pallets. 

Why Use Pallets

Pallet shipping is the backbone of the warehouse. They protect your products, hold a lot of weight, and make transporting your goods much easier. They're useful whether you're moving things around in your warehouse or loading them onto trucks. 

As for why you'd use pallets over other options, it's all about their shape and size. They're much easier to lift and stack with forklifts. They also don't take up much space on their own. 

Materials Needed

Loading up a pallet isn't as simple as placing all your boxes on top and sending it off. There are some materials you'll need to prepare the perfect pallet.

Usually, your items will get packed inside cardboard boxes. These boxes should be sturdy since you may end up stacking them on top of each other. 

Some kind of foam may get used as cushioning between cartons. You can also use flat cardboard between them. 

Duct tape seals the boxes. Plastic bands and some kind of plastic stretch wrap hold everything tightly on the pallet. 

Preparing the Pallets

If you intend on utilizing pallets for your shipping needs, you should learn how to load them up. Failure to prepare your pallets correctly can waste all of their benefits and result in damaged goods. 

Pack Individual Boxes

Before even getting to the pallets themselves, you need to make sure your boxes are packed well. Fill them up as much as you can and try to eliminate any air space. Don't be afraid to use a smaller box if needed or stuff them with packing materials. 

Stack the Boxes Safely

Stack boxes with heavier ones on the bottom and lighter ones on top. Distribute the weight evenly across the pallet or the whole thing may shift during transit. 

On a similar note, get the right size pallet for the job. Your box should not hang over the side of it, and you shouldn't have to stack your boxes too high. 

Use Cardboard Layers Between Boxes

Add an extra layer of cardboard between rows of boxes for added protection and cushioning. Not only does it help distribute weight evenly, but it also stabilizes your stack. You can place the flat cardboard on every few rows as well as on the very bottom. 

Plastic Wrap the Pallet

The reason you stretch wrap a pallet is to hold everything tight. If you're wondering how to wrap a pallet, you need to start with high-quality stretch wrap. It's recommended to use a 60-gauge wrap. 

Start from the bottom and work up. Wrap it at least three to five times.

If your business requires packing more than a couple pallets per day, you should consider a stretch wrap dispenser. The Nelson Stretch Wrap Dispenser NWD-1 is a great option since it has a patented brake system to ensure a tighter wrap, so there is less waste and makes it easier to wrap various-shaped pallets.

Nelson Stretch Wrap Dispenser     

Use Top Pads and Nylon Straps for Additional Protection

While plastic wrap holds your items tight, it doesn't always protect them from dust and debris. That's where bin liners and pallet covers come in. 

A bin liner goes over your boxes to protect them from dirt and moisture. They come pre-cut and are good for outside storage. 

Meanwhile, pallet covers are more durable. They protect your products from more environmental hazards, such as UV light and wind. You can also use plastic pallet covers to help organize your items. 

Strapping the pallets with nylon will help secure the products against unexpected events. You should use a minimum of 2 straps going under the pallet, to help with this process you should use a pallet threading tool like the StrapBandit.

StrapBandit

Label Your Pallets

Pallets need to be labeled just like any other type of package. It should include address information and telephone numbers for both the shipper and the consignee. 

There are also different pallet labeling systems to take into account. Larger manufacturers and shippers use automatic pallet labeling machines that can offer a higher print output and quality. 

Pallet Shipping Made Easy

If you handle a lot of goods coming in and out of your facility, utilizing pallet shipping can make a big difference. Everything you handle will be much better protected, easier to move, and loose pallets won't take up much space at all. All you need to do is make sure you're using them the right way.

Pack Secure has everything you need to get started with pallet shipping. We have bags, packaging materials, and so much more. Contact us to request a quote and learn more about our stock. 

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