Being an export business in Australia means you'll likely use pallets at some stage in your operations. Meeting export requirements is different for every industry, but no matter what you work with, you should understand efficient shipping practices, international pallet sizes and the ISPM 15 customs regulations.
Export pallets sizes and dimensions
You need to make sure that whoever receives your shipment can handle it quickly and efficiently. Every organisation has its own setup in terms of what size fork lift it uses and the types of storage racking available. If you send your products on a pallet that conforms to their system, you stand a better chance of building a good relationship and seeing your goods dealt with as quickly as possible.
The standard pallet size in Australia is 1165 mm x 1165 mm, but not all countries use the same measurements.
The standard pallet size used for shipments in Australia is 1165 mm x 1165 mm, but not all countries use the same measurements. Most countries have particular pallet dimensions they tend to work with. However, there is nothing stopping your suppliers doing something contrary to the norm. As a result, one of the most important steps you can take in setting up an international supply chain is talking to the suppliers and partners you intend to use.
Typical export pallet dimensions include:
- 1000 mm x 1200 mm, frequently used in the US.
- 1100 mm x 1100 mm, popular in Asia.
- 1200 mm x 800 mm, common in Europe.
Export pallet sizes also vary according to the industry, with some sectors working almost exclusively in one particular dimension. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has created six main sizing categories that most business adhere to when using export pallets. Check this comprehensive table for a more thorough understanding of likely pallet sizes.
How to meet ISPM 15 regulations with Australian export pallets
Sizing isn't your only challenge in exporting. You also need to meet international customs regulations, and for that you need an understanding of ISPM 15. Developed in collaboration with multiple countries around the world, the ISPM 15 regulations are a set of standards designed to govern any international shipments involving wooden packaging.
The aim is to stop the global spread of pest through wooden shipping materials. Wood is an excellent place for pests to make a home unseen. As a result problem infestations can very easily be spread between countries and get out of control.
ISPM 15 regulations are a set of standards designed to govern any international shipments.
Whenever a shipment involving wooden packaging arrives at customs, officials will ask to see proof that the materials have been appropriately treated. What this means in practice is that the sender has had any wooden materials fumigated and has the certification mark to prove it. Theoretically this certification lasts indefinitely unless the packaging is altered. In practice, this certification only confirms that the materials are free the pests at the time of the check. It's wise to check what other signs of infestation the country you ship to looks for.
Problems with the correct paperwork can cause significant delays. You may have to pay for your pallets to be refumigated, and in the worst case scenario, your shipment could be returned to its port of origin. Companies using plastic export pallets avoid this concern altogether.
Other pallet considerations for international shipping
Remember your pallets need to work throughout the shipment cycle where you may work with a variety of partners, all of whom have different arrangements in place. As well as export pallet dimensions, you'll also have to consider weight and strength.
All pallets have a maximum load they can bear. This maximum weight is different when loaded pallets are kept stationary and on the ground, as opposed to being transported while loaded or stored in racking. If your partners will need to move your stock around their warehouse or store it at height, you'll need to find out how they do so and what type of racking arrangement they use to ensure your pallet choice doesn't hinder their operations.
Pallet weight meanwhile, is more likely to affect your own operations and you'll want to keep it in mind to minimise any weight-based shipping costs. The lighter the pallet, the better your fuel economy and in some cases, this means you save when using third-party transport providers. Plastic pallets are considerably lighter than their wooden counterparts and so may represent best value.
Of course, shipping providers might also calculate the cost according to the amount of space your shipment takes up. If that's the case, and especially if you're working in a closed-loop supply chain, consider what size of pallet would make best use of the space available both on the outgoing journey and when pallets are returned to you.
If you need some advice around what type of pallet supports your Australian export business – contact Eco Pallets today. Our team are experts in all things related to pallets and shipping, including customs regulations and typical dimensions.