Pallet sizes are a confusing term for anyone new to this form of transit. While the pallets themselves are standardised within the UK, our pallets do differ in size to those of other countries. If you’re planning on sending items internationally, not only do you need to check regulations on raw wood to make sure your pallet is suitable for international use, but you need to be sure that the size of the pallet itself is compatible with the equipment in operation in the destination country. Thankfully, there’s usually little problem with the physical size of pallets between countries, but as it can cause space issues it’s always worth checking before purchasing.
On top of the physical size of the pallet is the choice of size that determines the cost you pay. Pallet sizes are measured vertically, and sizes differ to allow smaller items to be sent cheaper than larger and heavier ones, just like a parcel. Your item(s) must fit on the pallet with no overhang, and must be properly secured to the pallet or the pallet carrier can refuse to transport resulting in a fee for you and no collection for your pallet.
Height is the general method for determining the pallet size you’ll need, and there are three to choose from in the UK. The quarter pallet is 1.2m by 1m, the standard width and length of the pallet itself, and up to 0.8m in height. It’s also suitable for items weighing up to a maximum of 250kg. The width (1.2m) and the length (1m) won’t change between pallet sizes as they are the standard pallet dimensions for the UK.
The half pallet goes up to 1.1m tall and a maximum weight of 500kg, the cost of this size is higher than the quarter pallet but less than the full pallet. Should your item only be half a metre high, but weigh 350kg, you would need to purchase a half pallet due to the weight. Alternatively, if your item(s) weighed 1000kg you would require a full pallet. The full pallet is suitable for items up to 2.2m high or weighing a maximum of 1200kg and is the most expensive standard pallet size available.
Larger and heavier pallets can be sent, but these are only available through special arrangement with a pallet carrier and would carry additional costs, possibly for that of extra pallets due to size and/or weight. In contrast, for example, pan-European pallets have slightly different sizes for the quarter and half pallets. While the pallet width and length stays the same, a quarter pallet is up to 0.6m high, and the half 1m tall, making them slightly smaller than the UK standard.
And pallets vary in size between European countries too, something to be aware of should your business or transit requirements involve you moving a pallet from, for example, Germany where there are five different pallet sizes vertically speaking, and three pallet base sizes to choose from! Always speak with your carrier if you’re in any way unsure, and confirm requirements before purchasing and packing your pallet for international transit.
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