Supply chain snarls and port delays have created global shortages of everything from shipping containers to truck chassis. One group is now taking steps to ease the flow of one more critical ingredient in cross-border trade: usable pallets.
In an effort to “enhance the exchange of used pallets,” the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) in November updated its “EPAL Quality Classification and Terms of Exchange.” The revised document, which the Düsseldorf, Germany-based pallet-pool operator developed in collaboration with retailers, truckers, pallet service providers, and pallet repairers, was designed to expedite the pallet buying and exchange process by providing answers to some common questions, including: Under what conditions can an EPAL Euro pallet no longer be exchanged? Is the quality of a Euro pallet reduced by wood splintering or residual labels? How do you know if a pallet is suitable for a high-bay racking system? and What is the optimum quality for automated processes?
Originally drafted for the German market in 2011, the EPAL Quality Classification has since been adopted by other national committees, making it an increasingly important reference for parties engaged in cross-border trade, Roman Malicki, president of EPAL Polska and member of the EPAL board, said in a release.
“Cross-border supply chains and the increase in digital pallet management mean the conditions for the use and exchange of EPAL Euro pallets need to be the same in every country and easily understood by all users,” Malicki said. “The new edition of the ‘Quality Classification and Terms of Exchange’ approved by all EPAL national committees improves pallet exchange throughout Europe.”