Export pallets are commercially made platforms that raise goods off the ground and provide a solid base to store and transport a variety of materials. Some items stored on pallets include food, industrial or automotive parts, construction supplies and cargo such as oil drums or equipment. Pallets can also be used by private consumers to keep furniture or household items off the floor, pack multiple boxes for storage, support large equipment or many other uses. A variety of online companies manufacture or sell export pallets, and some shipping companies offer used pallets for resale to consumers.
Pallets are usually made of either wood or plastic, and they provide a measure of safety against water damage, mold, bacterial growth, breakage or damage. Most of the pallets are durable enough to be used repeatedly, though some types can be used only once before disposal or recycling. Sometimes, minor breakage makes a pallet unsafe for commercial use or transport but does not damage it badly enough to warrant disposal. These are sometimes resold or given to private consumers.
Wood export pallets are often shaped like flattened boxes and are made of two rows of flat planks spaced roughly a hand's span apart. Three thicker divider bars separate the top and bottom planks and provide space where forklifts can insert the forks in order to lift and move the pallet. A wooden export pallet might require special paperwork to prove that it has undergone certain fumigation and heat treatments in compliance with the International Standard for Solid Wood Packing Material, which is also known as International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15).
Plastic pallets offer an alternative to wood pallets, because they require no special paperwork or export regulations. These export pallets typically are thick, plastic bases with feet and a textured surface or open webwork, which prevents items from sliding around while allowing air circulation. The varied designs also provide more possible methods of fastening cargo to the pallet or fastening the pallet itself to a surface for secure transport.
Many plastic export pallets are made of recycled materials; the pallets are also often recyclable and can be made into new pallets or other materials. The pallets are generally lighter than wood pallets and come in a variety of styles to match certain weight grades. This allows export companies to cut costs of domestic and international transportation, and it offers the freedom to choose specific pallets for specific requirements. These options lower the risk of overloading or breaking pallets.