A Shipper's Debate - Plastic Pallets vs. Wooden Pallets

Pallets are wondrous inventions. With just a few cross-laid wooden planks and a handful of nails, wooden pallets can be built that will hold thousands of pounds and allow workers and stockers to stack massive amounts of material and products for shipping. Wooden pallets are favored by freight shippers because they can be made quickly and inexpensively, they have a respectable longevity even despite all the abuse they're constantly taking, and they can be thoroughly shrink-wrapped to make the freight load even more secure before it is shipped. Traditional wooden pallets are perhaps the best well known options when it comes to shipping freight long distance. However, highly specialized plastic pallets have begun making a splash on the shipping scene, leading some operators and business owners to wonder which kind of pallet is ideal for their particular applications. Plastic pallets can be more expensive per pallet than wooden pallets, but they have a number of unique advantages over the traditional method.

What's So Special About Plastic Pallets?

Plastic pallets are extremely resistant and durable. In some ways, they're a lot stronger even than wooden pallets. Although wooden pallets can take a lot of abuse and keep on working, plastic pallets are better choices when it comes to international freight shipping. That's because international freight shipping incurs a number of specific challenges for the business owner or transport company. In many cases, wooden pallets that are being shipped over great distances must be heat treated to prevent them from cracking or splintering too easily as they move in and out of extreme temperature zones like the hot sun, to the super cold cargo holds of airplanes at altitude.

In many cases, temperature flux is not the only hazard that wooden pallets will face during international freight shipping. Wooden pallets also must be fumigated to make them undesirable for pests and to kill any that may have already begun to make their homes in the small spaces inside wooden pallets. Bugs and pests like termites and wood beetles that love to burrow into wood and consume it, thereby weakening the wooden pallets and compromising the integrity of their freight load, must be eradicated if the international shipping is to be successful. However, this process of fumigating wooden pallets costs time and money, which many businesses do not have in excess. Therefore, plastic pallets can be the ideal choice in such situations.

This is due to the fact that plastic pallets do not need to be heat treated, they are already well suited to withstanding major fluxes in temperature which they will encounter during international freight shipping. When plastic pallets move from one temperature extreme to another, their plastic simply expands or contracts as the case may be. Along the same lines, plastic pallets do not require any fumigation treatment, because no termite is going to go right for plastic pallets and try to make its home therein. Plastic pallets also feature respectable strength and can support grounded loads up to 30,000 pounds! Plastic pallets are also well known for their highly specialized roles. For example, you can order plastic pallets that have 4 recessed platforms each specially designed to hold 55 gallon drums securely in place during international freight shipping. These special plastic pallets also have special draining mesh installed on their top surfaces to handle any spills or runoff that might occur. It's hard to get wooden pallets to perform such specialized functions.