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Do Euro Pallets Stack Up for You?


Things You Should Know If You’re Importing From or Exporting to Europe.
By Greg Facer, General Manager Marketing, Crown Equipment, Asia Pacific  


Whilst many things such as personal electronics, motor vehicles and even financial reporting are becoming more standardised around the world, there are some things that have shown few, if any, signs of international standardisation. Chief among these for the logistics and material handling industries is arguably the humble pallet, where specifications vary by country or region.

There are up to 500 million Euro (or EUR) pallets in service globally, making this pallet specification the most numerous of all pallets in the world today. Their use in Australia has increased steadily over the last decade and is set to grow even further. This means that if you are looking to increase your ties to Europe, then there are a number of things you will need to keep in mind when planning to import products.

Euro pallets are smaller and stronger than the traditional pallets we commonly find in Australia, having dimensions of 1200x800x144mm. They were introduced into Europe in 1961 as a means of making the loading of rail freight wagons faster. In fact, once introduced, wagons could be loaded in 10 percent of the time previously required. With benefits such as this, there was virtually no resistance from industry when they became the regulation pallet throughout Europe.

It was in 1968 that Crown Equipment, one of the world’s largest material handling companies, established a presence in Europe, manufacturing lift trucks to specifications that matched those of the Euro pallet. This greatly assisted European companies in being able to fulfil their material handling operations, gaining greater efficiencies and therefore profitability.

For the rest of the world, however, with the cost of labour and materials relatively low in the 1960s, there was little incentive for companies to embrace the Euro pallet, even if they were trading with Europe.

In more recent times, as commerce has become more global in nature, countries outside of Europe have been faced with a choice at best or a dilemma at worst. Should they continue with their own country’s standard pallet, switch to Euro pallets or employ a combination of both? And this is the challenge for many manufacturing and logistics companies in Australia today.

Major European companies now either operating in or supplying to the retail, grocery and hardware industries in Australia today are seriously looking for partners here who have the ability to move products seamlessly from port of entry to distribution centres and then on to the final retail location without the need to move the product from Euro pallets to Australian pallets. It is all about simplicity, speed and efficiency.

For retail environments, many companies are moving to D, or display, pallets. Unlike the standard Euro pallet that is constructed from timber and nails, D pallets are made of recyclable plastic and are moulded as a single unit.

With a smaller footprint, D pallets are ideal for retail merchandising and can provide a seamless usage across the entire supply chain. D pallets also meet DIN 10503 and EHEDG specifications for both the consumer goods and fresh food industries.

Crown Equipment is working with many such Australian companies, by supplying the Crown German-made trucks needed to easily handle large shipments coming on Euro pallets or D pallets. The range of lift trucks compatible for these pallets include powered pallet trucks and rider pallet trucks used for low level order picking. These trucks also easily handle standard Australian pallets without modification, offering complete flexibility across all operational requirements.

Taking on contracts that involve Euro pallets doesn’t mean that companies have to install new racking systems, as three Euro pallets easily fit into existing rack position that traditionally take two standard Australian pallets.

Local companies that have embraced Euro pallets have gained significant contract wins, placing them in a position to further grow their customer base.

Crown Equipment believes it is in a unique position to assist Australian companies looking at the commercial benefits of Euro pallets through its in-depth knowledge of European material handling requirements and its range of lift trucks specifically designed and manufactured to efficiently move the increasingly popular Euro pallets.

Source: ORCA Affairs GmbH; Crown Gabelstapler GmbH & Co. KG