The Complete Guide of Standard Pallet

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Pallets: Types, Sizes, Uses, and Stacking Techniques


A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Pallets

What exactly is a pallet?


Think of a pallet as a magic carpet that adds mobility to static goods. It’s a platform, a movable base, akin to a portable floor. When goods are stationary, they lack flexibility. But once placed on a pallet, voila! They instantly transform into mobile, flexible items, primed for movement any moment. This dynamic method of loading and unloading, where the pallet is a fundamental tool, is known in the industry as pallet work. It’s a clever way to keep your goods always ready for the move.

What is the function of the Standard pallet

What is the function of the Standard pallet?

Implementing pallet work does more than just boost loading and unloading efficiency. It’s a game-changer that reshapes warehouse structures, ship designs, loading facilities for railways, and other transport modes, and even refines management practices. It encourages packaging standardization and modularity, and influences not just loading and unloading, but also broader production activities.


As production equipment becomes increasingly automated and sophisticated, and as planning intensifies and management methods evolve, inter-process handling and supplying materials and semi-finished products to the production line gain importance. Here’s where the Standard Pallet shines. It’s an effective tool to enhance handling efficiency, streamline material flow, and play a massive role in cutting production costs and boosting productivity.


The golden rule of handling operations is striving for the least amount of work. In other words, minimize “secondary handling” and “temporary parking” during goods movement, thereby reducing handling frequency. Naturally, any operator would want to limit reloading operations to improve transport efficiency.


Yet, accidental reloading operations are common during transport. Consider railway operations, where the line transport is a one-time task, but the preceding and following operations might require 6 to 8 times reloading. If goods on a pallet need to be moved to another one each time, it would make the entire operation too cumbersome, negating the benefits of pallet transportation.


But, if the goods are loaded onto a pallet at the source and remain unchanged regardless of the complexity of the storage and transport process, the pallet can be transported directly to the destination. This fully leverages the Standard Pallet’s efficiency, be it in railway, automobile, or ship transportation, or in the combined direct transportation of various modes.


In essence, the direct transportation and use of Standard Pallets are crucial for modern logistics development. It’s not just a means to an end, but an integral part of the journey towards efficient material flow and handling.

How Popular Are Standard Pallets Around the World?

Ever wondered how often standard pallets are used around the globe? Check out these quick stats:

  • Down Under in Australia, they’re a big hit, with a whopping 95% usage rate.
  • Over in the United States, they’re also pretty popular, clocking in at a 55% usage rate.
  • Europe is not too far behind, with a solid 70% usage rate.
  • Japan and South Korea are catching up, with usage rates of 35% and 27%, respectively.


In the U.S. and Japan, the pallet industry is a big deal – it’s huge! Governments there have been pulling all the stops to promote standardization and ramp up the use of pallets, introducing all sorts of incentives and sweet deals.

But let’s not forget about China. There’s a lot of potential there, but we’ve still got a long way to go to boost the use of standardized pallets.

What are the different types of Standard Pallets?

  1. Flat Pallets
    Flat Pallets are the most common and versatile type, often synonymous with the term “pallet”. These can be further classified into:
    • Based on the table design: Single-sided, Single-use, Double-sided, and Airfoil.
    • According to forklift compatibility: One-way fork-in, Two-way fork-in, and Four-way fork-in.
    • Depending on the materials used: Wooden, Steel, Plastic, Composite, and Paper flat pallets 
  2. Post Pallets
  3. Box Pallets
  4. Wheel Pallets
  5. Special Professional Pallets
  6. Slip Sheets
  7. Flocking Pallets

in 2022, China’s pallet pool totaled more than 37.5 million pieces. This represents an increase of 3.5 million pieces compared with 2021, indicating a growth rate of 10.29%. The content mentions the use of both wooden and plastic pallets, with the occupancy rate of wooden pallets decreasing year by year, the occupancy rate of plastic pallets increasing year by year, and the total occupancy rate of wooden pallets and plastic pallets being above 90%.

The Pallet Scene: Wooden, ICPC, Plastic, and Slip Pallets

Alright, let’s dive into the world of pallets. You’ve got options aplenty, each with its own perks and quirks. Here’s the scoop on the popular choices:

Wooden pallet

Wooden Pallets


Wooden pallets are your old-school, reliable friends. They’re made from various kinds of wood, poplar and pine being favorites. They’re affordable and easy to find, but remember, they’re not big fans of moisture and insects, and they won’t stick around forever.

Wooden Pallets with IPPC Logo<br />

ICPC Wooden Pallets


Next up, we’ve got ICPC (International Commodity Pallet Confederation) wooden pallets. Think of them as the globe-trotting cousins of regular wooden pallets. They’re designed for international shipping, with specific sizes and designs for smooth sailing across borders. But, like their wooden brethren, they have their own battles with hygiene and durability.


Plastic Pallets

Plastic Pallets


Then there are the plastic pallets, the cool kids of the pallet world. They’re tough, they don’t have the hygiene issues of wooden pallets, and they love to be reused. Plus, they sidestep the pest treatments needed for international shipping. But, they’re pricier and repair isn’t their strong suit.

Slip Pallets


Lastly, meet the slip pallets. They’re the minimalist, space-saving kids on the block. They’re thin platforms without the typical block or stringer design. They’re light, compact, and great for one-way trips. But, they need special forklifts to get around.

So, there you have it! Wooden, ICPC, plastic, or slip, the pallet world is your oyster. Pick what suits your needs, and you’re good to go.

Understanding the Dimensions of a Standard Pallet

Understanding the Dimensions of a Standard Pallet

Let’s delve into the typical sizes of standard pallets used worldwide:

Various regions have set up pallet systems to streamline land transportation. For instance, the European Railway Union has established an extensive pallet operating system. Similarly, in the United States, the food industry runs a pallet pooling system, where the receiver must return an equal number of pallets to the carrier. Australia operates a pallet rental system that includes rental fees along with documentation, storage, and handling costs for pallets.


In international trade, a common pallet size is 1 meter by 1.2 meters (or 40 inches by 48 inches). These pallets are designed for four-way forklift access, which is crucial for efficient loading and unloading operations from all sides of a vehicle.

However, the dimensions of pallets can vary greatly among different countries. The largest pallet size typically used is 1.2 meters by 2.4 meters (or 48 inches by 96 inches).


Here are some standard pallet sizes by country:

  • United States Warehouse Standard: 1m x 1.2m (40″ x 48″)
  • U.S. Rail Standard: 1.143m x 1.372m (45″ x 54″)
  • Euro Pallet Standard: 0.8m x 1.2m (32″ x 48″)
  • UK Standard: 1m x 1.5m (40″ x 60″)
  • South Africa Standard: 1.15m x 1.6m (46″ x 64″)
  • Brazil Standard: 1.3m x 1.3m (52″ x 52″)
  • Australia Standard: 1.15m x 1.15m (46″ x 46″)

It’s vital to select the right pallet size that aligns with your operational needs and complies with the standards of the countries involved in your supply chain.


What is the ISO Pallets size and Dimensions

What is the ISO Pallets size and Dimensions?


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recommends several standard pallet sizes for different regions. These sizes are used for direct cargo transportation. Here’s the information in table format:

Standard Pallet Dimensions (inches) Standard Pallet Dimensions (m) Region Most Used
48.00 × 40.00 1.219 × 1.016 North America
39.37 × 47.24 1.000 × 1.200 Europe, Asia
44.88 × 44.88 1.140 × 1.140 Australia
42.00 × 42.00 1.067 × 1.067 North America, Europe, Asia
43.30 × 43.30 1.100 × 1.100 Asia
31.50 × 47.24 0.800 × 1.200 Europe (fits many doorways)

These ISO standard sizes ensure efficient global trade by providing consistency in transportation and storage.


What is the Standard Pallet size and Dimensions for Canada and the USA ? 


In the USA and CANADA , pallet sizes are varied and tailored to meet the needs of different industries. Here’s a concise breakdown of these standard sizes:

Pallet Dimensions (inches)

Width x Length

Pallet Dimensions (meters)

Width x Length

Industries Using

48 × 40

1.219 × 1.016

Grocery and many other uses

40 × 48

1.016 × 1.219

Military and Cement

48 × 42

1.219 × 1.067

Chemicals and Beverage

48 × 48

1.219 × 1.219


42 × 42

1.067 × 1.067

Telecommunications and Paint

48 × 45

1.219 × 1.143


48 × 36

1.219 × 0.914

Beverage, Shingles, and Packaged Paper

40 × 40

1.016 × 1.016


44 × 44

1.118 × 1.118

Drums and Chemicals

36 × 36

0.914 × 0.914


48 × 20

1.219 × 0.508


35 × 45.5

0.889 × 1.156

Military 1/2 ISO Container

What is the Standard Pallet size and Dimensions for Australia and New Zealand?


The standard pallet size used in Australia and New Zealand is slightly different from those used in North America. Here’s the information in table format:

Standard Pallet Dimensions (inches)

Width x Length

Pallet Dimensions (meters)

Width x Length

45.90 × 45.90

1.165 × 1.165

What is the Standard Pallet size and Dimensions for Europe Union?

In the European Union, there are several standard pallet sizes, typically referred to as “EURO Pallets”. They are categorized as EUR, EUR 1, EUR 2, EUR 3, and EUR 6. Here’s a table with those dimensions:

Standard Pallet Dimensions (inches)

Standard Pallet Dimensions (m)

EURO Pallet Type

31.50 × 47.24

0.800 × 1.200


47.24 × 39.37

1.200 × 1.000


39.37 × 47.24

1.000 × 1.200


31.50 × 23.62

0.800 × 0.600


These sizes are standardized across the European Union and are used across various industries for transportation and storage.

What are the characteristics of standard pallets?

Standard pallets are designed to meet the demands of the shipping and logistics industry. They are typically made of wood, plastic, or metal, and come in a variety of sizes and configurations.

Key characteristics of standard pallets:

  • Durability: Standard pallets are built to withstand the rigors of shipping and handling. They are typically made of strong and durable materials, such as hardwood or heavy-duty plastic.
  • Strength: Standard pallets are designed to support heavy loads. They are typically constructed with reinforced beams and supports to prevent sagging or breaking.
  • Reusability: Standard pallets are designed to be used multiple times. They can be easily repaired if damaged, and can be recycled at the end of their useful life.

Other characteristics of standard pallets:

  • Anti-static: Some standard pallets are treated with anti-static materials to prevent the buildup of static electricity. This is important for sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Conductive: Some standard pallets are made of conductive materials, such as metal. This allows them to safely discharge static electricity.
  • Insulation: Some standard pallets are made of insulating materials, such as plastic or rubber. This helps to protect goods from temperature changes.

Uses of standard pallets:

Standard pallets are used in a wide variety of applications, including:

  • Shipping and handling
  • Storage
  • Warehousing
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail

Benefits of using standard pallets:

  • Improved efficiency: Standard pallets allow for the efficient movement of goods. They can be easily loaded and unloaded using forklifts and other material handling equipment.
  • Reduced damage: Standard pallets help to protect goods from damage during shipping and handling. They provide a stable and secure platform for goods to rest on.
  • Cost savings: Standard pallets can help to save money on shipping costs. They are lightweight and easy to handle, which can reduce freight costs.

Selecting the Right Pallet Size and Dimensions: A Critical Guide

When it comes to choosing the correct pallet size and dimensions, there are key considerations to take into account. Pallets play a pivotal role in relation to storage shelves, transported goods, containers, transportation vehicles, unloading platforms, and handling facilities. Therefore, the decision on the size and dimensions of your pallet forms the foundation for determining the specifications of other logistical equipment.

For instance, the most frequently encountered dimensions for pallet beam rack widths are 2300mm and 2700mm. The former can accommodate two pallets sized 1200mm×1000mm, while the latter can hold three pallets of 1200mm×800mm. It’s crucial to highlight that for an efficient pallet sharing system to be established, uniformity in pallet specifications is key. Standardizing pallets is a prerequisite for consistent and smooth pallet operations.

When determining the right tray size, consider the following factors:

Align the Pallet Size with Transportation Vehicles and Equipment

The chosen pallet size should align with the dimensions of the transportation tools being used. This ensures optimal utilization of the transportation tool’s space, resulting in an increased loading rate and, subsequently, a decreased transportation cost. This is especially relevant when considering the internal dimensions of shipping containers and commercial transportation vehicles.

Consider the Packaging Specifications of the Pallet-Loaded Goods

Select the ideal pallet size based on the packaging specifications of the goods being transported. This enables you to maximize the surface area of the pallet and manage the height of the load’s center of gravity. A reasonable benchmark for pallet-loaded goods is utilizing 80% of the pallet’s surface area, with the load’s center of gravity height not exceeding two-thirds of the pallet width. This ensures stability and efficient use of pallet space.


Versatility in Pallet Size and Dimensions

It’s important to take into account the versatility of pallet size and dimensions. Whenever possible, adhere to international standard pallet specifications to ease the exchange and utilization of pallets across borders.

Consider the Usage Area of the Pallet Size and Dimensions

The destination of the pallet-loaded goods significantly influences the selection of the pallet size. Here are some common scenarios:

  • For goods shipping to Europe, opt for pallets with dimensions of 1200mm×1000mm (1210 pallets) or 1200mm×800mm (1208 pallets).
  • For shipments to Japan and South Korea, choose 1100mm×1100mm (1111 pallets).
  • Goods destined for Oceania should be loaded on pallets sized either 1140mm×1140mm or 1067mm×1067mm.
  • For goods going to the United States, 48-inch x 40-inch pallets are ideal, and 1210 pallets are commonly used for shipments from China to the U.S.

Of these, the 1200mm ×1000mm (1210) pallet dimensions are the most globally widespread, and also the most commonly used in China.

What is the Standard Pallet Load: A Simple Guide

Ever wondered what we mean when we talk about the standard pallet load? Let’s break it down into three easy-to-understand categories:

Static Load

Think of the static load as the heaviest weight a pallet can comfortably handle when it’s just sitting still on a flat and hard surface. Picture your goods spread out evenly across the pallet – that’s the static load.


Dynamic Load

Now, imagine the pallet is on the move, maybe it’s being bumped around by a forklift. The dynamic load is the most weight it can bear under those conditions. Again, this is assuming your goods are laid out evenly on the pallet.


Racked Load

The racked load is a bit different. This is the maximum weight the pallet can hold when it’s perched on a beam rack or a similar storage setup. As before, the goods need to be evenly distributed on the pallet.

When you’re picking a pallet, keep in mind what you’ll be using it for. If it’s going to sit on a shelf, focus on the shelf load. And remember, the way you arrange your goods on the pallet matters. If you pile everything in one spot, the pallet’s load capacity will decrease. It’s not just about the original rated load.

Also, don’t get too caught up in the difference between dynamic load and shelf load. In some cases, like with the European Pallet Standard (EPAL), they’re considered the same thing.

How to stack standard pallets

How to stack standard pallets?


Stacking pallets might seem like a simple task, but believe me, there’s more to it than meets the eye! It’s an art, a science, and a game of Tetris all rolled into one. By partnering with Super International Shipping, we’re here to make it a breeze. Let me walk you through the process:


The Sturdy Squares: Rigid Rectangular Goods

Rectangular goods like wooden, paper, and metal containers are pretty straightforward. Think of building a wall, brick by brick, in a single-layer or with staggered layers. Once your masterpiece is complete, wrap it up snug with stretch or shrink film packaging. It’s like sending your goods off with a warm, protective hug.


The Paper Trail: Paper or Fibrous Goods

Stacking paper or fibrous goods is a bit like making a sandwich. Start with a solid layer of cargo, add your goods, and repeat until you’ve built a delicious multi-layer stack. Don’t forget the straps – they’re the toothpicks holding your sandwich together.

Roll With It: Cylindrical Cargo

For cylindrical cargo, such as sealed metal containers, imagine you’re stacking logs for a campfire. You can make a single layer or stack them up, log cabin-style. Don’t forget the wooden cargo cover. It’s like a roof for your little log cabin.

Keep It Dry: Moisture-Sensitive Goods

For items that fear the damp, like paper products and textiles, you need a bit of strategy. Stack them like you would rigid rectangular goods, but add corner supports, cover partitions, and other reinforcements. It’s like building a fortress against moisture and water.

Handle With Care: Fragile Goods

Fragile goods need a bit of TLC. Stack them one way or in multiple layers, and add a wooden supporting partition structure. Think of it as a safety harness for your breakables.

Stand Tall: Metal Bottle Cylindrical Containers

For these, you’ll want to stand them upright in a proud, single-layer vertical stack. It’s like a choir, all standing in a row. Add a cargo frame and slat reinforcement structure for extra stability – consider it the choir’s backstage crew.

Bag It Up: Bag Goods

Bag goods? We got this. Stack them in a multi-layer staggered compaction and stacking arrangement. It’s like a game of Jenga, where every piece matters.


Remember, these are general tips. The best method will depend on your goods and the resources available at your warehouse.

As your leading freight forwarder in China, Super International Shipping offers comprehensive warehousing and storage solutions in China and Hong Kong. We’re here to ensure your pallet stacking and packing is done right, keeping your goods safe and your logistics efficient. Let’s contact us today about how we can support your business with our expertise.


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