A comprehensive guide to shipping pallets from Bedfordshire


In Bedfordshire, both businesses and individuals rely heavily on pallet shipping for their logistics needs. This is important for moving items around locally as well as across the country.

Knowing how to use pallets properly is essential for making sure things are transported efficiently and without spending too much money.

Types of Pallets and Their Uses

Understanding the different types of pallets and their sizes is essential for efficient and cost-effective shipping. Pallets come in various materials, each suited to different needs:

Wooden Pallets

The most common type in Bedfordshire and the wider UK is the wooden pallet. It’s favoured for its durability and cost-effectiveness. For pallet shipping in the UK, the standard size is 1200mm x 1000mm, often referred to as the “UK pallet.” In comparison, the Euro pallet, widely used throughout Europe, measures 1200mm x 800mm.

These sizes are integral to optimising space in transportation and ensuring compatibility with handling equipment.

Plastic Pallets

More expensive than their wooden counterparts, plastic pallets offer benefits in terms of cleanliness, making them ideal for the food and pharmaceutical industries. They are often lighter than wooden pallets and come in various sizes, including both UK and Euro standard dimensions.

Their reusability and ease of cleaning make them a sustainable choice for industries with strict hygiene standards.

Metal Pallets

Used for heavy or high-value goods due to their incredible strength and durability, metal pallets are less common but crucial in certain sectors. While standard sizes are available, metal pallets are often custom-made to suit specific requirements, especially when used for heavy machinery or in the automotive industry.

Each material type has its advantages, depending on the industry and specific shipping needs. Wooden pallets are versatile and widely accepted, while plastic pallets offer longevity and hygiene benefits. Metal pallets, although less common, provide unmatched strength for
heavy loads.

Regulations and Standards for Pallet Shipping

Navigating the regulations and standards for pallet shipping is crucial for any business to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal complications. In the UK and across the EU, there are specific guidelines that govern the use and specifications of shipping pallets.

SPM 15 Compliance for Wooden Pallets

One of the most important international standards is ISPM 15 (International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15).

This regulation is essential for wooden pallets used in international shipping. It mandates that wooden pallets must be heat-treated or fumigated with methyl bromide to prevent the spread of pests and plant diseases across international borders.

Businesses must ensure their wooden pallets bear the ISPM 15 mark to avoid customs delays and potential rejection of goods.

EU Pallet Standards

In addition to ISPM 15, pallets used within the EU must adhere to specific standards, primarily concerning dimensions and load capacities. The Euro pallet, for example, must meet the European Pallet Association (EPAL) standards, ensuring uniformity and compatibility with handling equipment throughout Europe.

Health and Safety Regulations

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, along with regulations like the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, have
implications for pallet shipping. These regulations mandate that businesses must ensure the safety of workers handling pallets, necessitating regular inspections and maintenance of pallets to prevent workplace injuries.

Compliance with these regulations and standards is not just a legal obligation but also a best practice that enhances efficiency and safety.

It’s advisable for businesses to stay updated with any changes in these regulations, especially in the context of evolving UK-EU relations
and environmental policies.

Environmental Considerations and Sustainability

In today’s world, the environmental impact of business operations is under constant scrutiny.

Choosing the right pallet goes beyond cost and durability; it’s also about sustainability. Wooden pallets, when sourced responsibly, can be an eco-friendly option. Additionally, Bedfordshire businesses are encouraged to participate in pallet recycling programs, further reducing the environmental footprint of their shipping practices.

An increasingly popular environmentally friendly practice in pallet shipping is groupage, also known as pallet consolidation. This method involves combining multiple smaller shipments from different companies onto one truck or container. Groupage maximises the efficiency of
transportation, significantly reducing carbon emissions by avoiding partially filled vehicles on the road. It’s not only cost-effective for businesses but also aligns with the growing need for sustainable logistics solutions.

Cost Management, Pallet Maintenance, and Emerging Innovations in Pallet Shipping

Cost Considerations and Budgeting Tips

Managing costs is a critical aspect of shipping logistics. Investing in higher-quality pallets might seem expensive initially, but it results in long-term savings by reducing damage to goods and extending pallet lifespans.

Businesses should consider bulk purchases for better pricing and explore leasing options for short-term needs. Additionally, regular maintenance and proper storage of pallets can prolong their lifespan, offering further cost benefits.

Best Practices in Pallet Management

Effective pallet management is key to safe and efficient shipping. This involves regular inspections for damage, adhering to weight
limits, and using proper loading techniques. Keeping pallets in a dry and clean environment is crucial to minimise damage and extend usability.

Furthermore, training staff in proper pallet handling techniques is essential to prevent workplace injuries and ensure the safety of products during transportation.

Emerging Trends and Innovations

The pallet industry is evolving with technological advancements. Innovations like smart pallets equipped with RFID tags and IoT
devices are gaining traction. These technologies provide real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments, enhancing transparency and efficiency in logistics.

Such advancements are particularly beneficial for Bedfordshire businesses in terms of improved inventory management and optimisation of the supply chain.


Understanding and effectively managing pallet shipping is crucial for any business engaged in logistics. With the right knowledge and resources, Bedfordshire companies can optimise their shipping practices, contributing to both economic success and environmental sustainability.

by John Smith
A paid partnership with Barrington Frieght