Pallets are very simple things, but they are utterly essential to the operations of many warehouses and manufacturing businesses. When pallets are shipped from pallet manufacturing companies, they are usually protected using stretch wrapping. This protects the pallets with a sheet of plastic, like a very thick layer of cling film, which is effective at restricting the movement of the pallets while in transit, while also protecting them from cosmetic damage.
Shipping Pallets With UPS
USP consider many palletized items to be freight shipments and treats them accordingly. It is therefore worth knowing what the UPS specifications are. Even if your business doesn’t use UPS primarily, many businesses, particularly those with a transcontinental reach, will use UPS at some point in their supply chain, and they are still the most likely business you would turn to in an emergency.
The average wooden pallet weighs between 33 and 48lbs, so it is easily conceivable that a shipment would exceed UPS weight limits when shipping pallets alone.
Defining a ‘Pallet’
UPS defines a pallet as a “portable rigid [platform] used to consolidate shipments and allow for ease of freight movement.” They note that quality pallets can be made from a variety of materials, as pallet manufacturing companies often produce plastic and wood pallets. Though not nearly enough, a growing number of pallet manufacturing companies, like ourselves at Pallets LLC, are turning away from the plastic pallet because of environmental concerns. Our GreenBlock pallets are made with the environment in mind and, we think, outshine our competitors.
Choosing the Right Pallet for Transit
Pallets must be large enough to hold their cargo, and there should be no overhang. If you are shipping pallets themselves, you should separate out the different sizes instead of stacking the smaller pallets on top of the larger ones. This makes packaging the pallets with stretch wrapping much easier.
Pallets also need to be able to support the weight of their cargo for the entirety of the journey. Make sure that you check the specifications of the pallets that you use and find out what their maximum weight load is. UPS will tell you the weight of your cargo before you ship it as they will usually weigh it for you if needed.
You should never use a pallet that is visibly damaged. This includes pallets with missing or broken planks, protruding or missing nail heads, or anything that suggests the pallet has a weak spot. You should also choose a pallet that is suitable for pickup with a four-way forklift truck, such as the GreenBlock pallet.
Securing and Loading a Pallet
If possible, you should stack the pieces that you need to ship. Usually, the easiest way of doing this is to put the items into boxes that match the dimensions of the pallet, making them easier to stretch wrap. These boxes can then be stacked on top of one another and secured into place. Most shipping containers, regardless of size or material, are designed to be stacked on top of one another.
After you stack any shipping containers, you need to make sure that the stacks are secure and able to stand on their own prior to being secured. This is important as they can otherwise represent a serious safety hazard when they are unsecured at their destination.
Any containers that you use should be securely closed so that they and their cargo are as safe and secure as possible. Cardboard boxes should always go on top, otherwise they risk collapsing and compromising the structure of the stack.
If a pallet is carrying a fragile or valuable load, or something like glass that is liable to slip, some kind of anti-slip material should be used. This can be an anti-slip mat or even a piece of cardboard. This will ensure that the cargo is able to stand freely when unsecured.
Anti-slip sheets aren’t just useful for cargo that is likely to slip. They are also effective at countering the effect that rain can have on the stability of the cargo. Wooden pallets are less likely to slip as a result of rain, but plastic pallets, depending on their design, are often prone to slipping in rainy conditions.
If you are shipping a stack of pallets, most businesses favor packaging them in cardboard boxes. Cardboard is ideal because the box can be dismantled at the other end to expose the stack of pallets beneath. You can also buy pallet-optimized cartons that are specifically designed to facilitate the shipping of pallets. These, along with boxes that are designed for stacking, are the most essential tools for shipping with pallets.
Preparing Pallets for Dispatch
Most businesses will use just one type of pallet or a small range of sizes. It is also common for pallets to be shipped between a business’s premises to be used elsewhere and save money. The standard way of securing pallets for dispatch is to use stretch wrapping. Stretch wrapping is a reliable and cost effective method for securing pallets for transit and is favored by large businesses.
You will be pleased to hear that you can even buy environmentally-friendly stretch wrapping material to use in place of the usual thick plastic. Needless to say, we recommend using an eco-friendly product to stretch wrap GreenBlock pallets for transit.
As well as ensuring that the pallets are all aligned throughout the duration of their transit, stretch wrapping will also protect your pallets from cosmetic damage during transit. Remember, you should never use weak or damaged pallets.
However, if you need to transport damaged pallets, it is even more important that you make sure that they are able to stand securely in a stack. A pallet that can’t be stacked should usually be destroyed and discarded. Even if a pallet repair looks simple, you should never take the risk of shipping heavy goods on an insecure surface.
In addition to stretch wrapping, businesses may also decide to use corner protectors. These are simple pieces, usually made of thick cardboard, that are designed to protect the corner of the pallets from one another, as well as protecting any exposed corners of a pallet from surrounding cargo. There are a variety of other transit devices available to either protect cargo or monitor it throughout its journey. This includes devices that are designed to indicate if cargo has been exposed to certain conditions.
Keeping your pallets safe during transit is something that needs to begin at the warehouse level. You need to communicate to your workers the importance of ensuring that any pallets that they transport are kept safe and secure and will remain so throughout their journey. From a health and safety perspective, it is equally important that your warehouse workers understand the importance of ensuring that all the loads that they ship are safe and secure for the duration of their journey.
If in doubt, consider how pallet manufacturing companies ship their pallets to you. Make sure that everyone who handles pallets and cargo understands their obligations under health and safety law, as set by OSHA. As well as the company policies that are in place to ensure a safe working environment.