Recently, when a new customer commenced storing with us, we went through our normal customer service spiel about all stock needs to be stored on CHEP/Loscam pallets, as that ensures the pallets are suitable to our racks, and ensure reliability and product integrity in cold storage. It also allows ease of movements of the pallets out of our cold stores as they have easy to use transfer abilities. The customer was fine with this, and we then went to pick up pallets, only to find that the pallets they were using were oversized pallets. The customer had no idea about pallets, and why LOSCAM and CHEP, or rather the dimensions of those pallets are so important. So here is a quick run through of reasons why those two brands dominate the pallet world.
CHEP/LOSCAM are huge multinational entities. Trading throughout the world, they specialise in making products/produce easily moveable. However a CHEP pallet in Australia, is not the same as a CHEP pallet in the US.
A standard pallet in Australia is 1.17m x 1.17m. Often they will simply be called 1.2 x 1.2. As this was a standardised pallet size with the logistics sector in Australia (Not just refrigerated logistics), a large part of the Australian supply chain (and cold chain) is based around those pallet sizes. This means that cold stores, trucks, forklifts are all designed for a 1.2 x 1.2m pallet.
What does it matter? Well, if you have 8 oversized pallets to be picked up, you wont fit it on an 8 pallet truck. More realistically you will need at least 16 pallet spaces, doubling the cost of the transport to you. And then when those pallet are move in to storage you will either need oversized racks, or be charged a re-stacking fee to place the stock on a CHEP/Loscam pallet.
Apart from CHEP and Loscam 1.2m x 1.2m pallets, there are also “plain” standard pallets. These pallets fit the same dimensions of a CHEP/Loscam pallet, but are not transferable. They are usually a once-off (single use) purchase by the client to ship the product on, or they are owned by a client, and the pallets will always be returned to that client prior to be sent out of their controlled logistics network.
With the single use pallets, they are typically poor quality, made to simply get the pallet from point A to B with minimal expenditure on the pallet. This becomes an issue for prolonged cold storage and refrigerated transport as increased movements will reduce the integrity of the pallet. If these pallets collapse in racking, it can be costly, and dangerous. This is why most Cold Storage providers require pallets in storage it be on either a CHEP/Loscam pallet.
When it comes to a client having their own premium quality plain pallets, arrangements can be made between the storer and the cold store to see if a solution can be made. Complexities arrive in this method if the pallet is despatched out of the clients logistics network as they will lose the pallet. Those problems are usually the problem of the client that opted, and was approved to store on non standard pallets.
It’s easy for the team here at APF Cold Storage and Logistics to forget how pallets can seem complex to those outside the industry. If you are looking at putting your stock in to storage, the best thing to do, is ensure you have your goods on CHEP/Loscam pallets. And if you don’t have access to these pallets, move cold stores an provide them to you (at a cost).
I should note that CHEP/Loscam have their own issues around delayed days, and a range of other complexities, but for the most part, you always get a solid, dependable pallet.