How to Prepare Pallets for Transit to Avoid Damage
More than three billion pallets are in use around the world today. Usually measuring 1200x1000mm (standard UK pallet) or 1200x800mm (euro pallet), pallets are an efficient way to transport freight, with their square shape providing easy four-way access to forklifts, and their sturdiness allowing them to carry heavy loads. However, if the goods are not stacked or secured on the pallet correctly, there is a higher risk of damage during transit. This article discusses what you can do to prepare your freight properly to avoid loss and reduce the potential for damage.
Pallet quality and size
If using wooden pallets, it is important to ensure that they are stored in dry conditions and aren’t cracked or split. Damaged pallets often have a lower load capacity and can cause the goods on the pallet to topple. Stability is also affected by the pallet size. It is important to know which size of pallet is most suitable for your load to protect the freight from being damaged. If the goods are overhanging the pallet base, the pallet is likely to be unstable and there is a greater risk of the sides of your freight being caught against other pallets and damaged. Similarly, if the goods are too small for the pallet, there is a risk of the shrink-wrap breaking on the corners of the pallet
Shrink-wrap and strapping
Shrink-wrap should be applied consistently around the freight on the pallet. First, it should be tied to the base of the pallet, and then two or three layers applied around the bottom of the freight to help load stability. The shrink-wrap should then be continued upwards around the goods. Using shrink-wrap stabilises the load and shouldn’t be used to secure it to the pallet; instead use sturdy vertical strapping to keep the goods secured.
Corrugated cardboard sheets, corner boards and top protection
To protect the load during transit, it is important to safeguard the freight internally and externally. Internal strategies such as cardboard sheets interweaved between layers of goods, corrugated to increase surface area and strength, help to distribute weight throughout the pallet when objects are stacked on top of each other. Corner boards attached to the corners of the pallet help to increase vertical stacking strength, allowing more items to be securely loaded onto the pallet without additional strain, in addition to protecting the edges of the freight from knocks and bumps against other pallets. Finally, polythene sheets cover the top of the load, preventing moisture and dirt from permeating down into the pallet itself and weakening its structure.
It is important to note that no matter how many precautions you take, your freight will fail to be stable and secure if it is:
- Top heavy
- Inconsistently wrapped, or
- Handled negligently
Informative training should always be provided to Warehouse Operatives as well as LGV drivers so that the freight can be handled in a controlled and safe manner.
If you need a pallet service that specialises in freight distribution to The Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight, call Ferryspeed on 02392 627 000 or get a quote here.
With depots in St Helier, Jersey and St Sampson, Guernsey, Ferryspeed is your one-stop-shop for your Channel Island freight shipping and distribution needs. Whether you have an individual pallet or a part/full load, our speedy next-day delivery service can meet your needs. We also offer a comprehensive portfolio of UK, Isle of Wight and international freight distribution services from our Midlands and Portsmouth depots.