Management InSites

To Palletize or Not to Palletize?

When it comes time to ship inventory to the United States, many foreign companies are unaware of the standards surrounding palletizing their shipments.

While it is possible to ship a container oversees without pallets, it might not be the most cost-effective solution, especially when using an established warehouse or 3PL. Such entities have strict requirements regarding how they can accept shipments, and it is advisable to be aware of these limitations prior to organizing an expensive freight to the States. Choosing not to palletize (in order to fit more product into a container, for example) could result in higher unloading and re-stacking fees once the shipment arrives at the 3PL.

GMA pallets (or Grocery Manufacturers Association pallets, as they’re called), comprise a large percentage of pallets manufactured in the U.S. The base of these pallets is 48” x 40” (and 6” high.) The next most common pallet size is 42”x 42”. The preferred wood for GMA pallets is generally mixed hardwood or pine, but depends on the ultimate use for the pallet itself. (If a pallet is intended to be part of a store display, for example, it must be a Premium Grade A pallet.) The specifications for the various pallet designations can be found on the PSI website.

One other consideration regarding the composition of the wood for pallets is whether or not they have been properly treated. To prevent the spread of insects and disease, the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15) addresses how the wood should be treated prior to shipment.

When loading items onto pallets, it is customary to stack them no more than 48” high. This allows for double stacking, which is something that many warehouses insist on doing. (As always, stack heavier items on the bottom, and lighter items on the top.)

While you can safely stack your pallet to 60 inches, it would be important to check the regulations of your particular warehouse before doing so. Sending a pallet that is improperly stacked might incur penalty fees at worst, and increased labor charges at best, from the warehouse. Whether your warehouse permits a 60 inches stack or not, it is important to never stack pallets higher than 60 inches, for safety as well as for the integrity of the products on the pallet. Having the stack shorter than 60 inches also ensures that the forklift operator can safely and properly move your pallets around the warehouse.

The final step before shipping pallets is to shrink-wrap them tightly, with multiple layers of wrap. This allows for the entire pallet (and its contents) to be moved as one.

If your company absolutely must ship a larger pallet, or if some of the dimensions are not standard for the U.S., it is imperative to contact your 3PL prior to sending. This will avoid unnecessary charges and will give them the opportunity to provide special arrangements for the acceptance of your shipment.

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How can we help you?
Contact us or submit a business inquiry online.
Read more
  • Breaking Into the U.S. Water Sector: The Vast U.S.A.

    When considering entry into the U.S. market, it is imperative to remember how vast the U.S. is. While the water in most areas of another country with a small geographic footprint might be similar to one another, that is not the case here.

    July 26, 2021
  • The Changing World of 3PLs

    Third-party warehouses (3PLs) have historically provided companies with an invaluable service: the ability to store inventory and ship it out to customers around the globe. These warehouses are experts at packaging products to maximize order fulfillment.

    July 1, 2021
  • International Shipping and Incoterms

    When dealing with shipping internationally, especially from abroad to the U.S., setting the terms of the transaction from the moment the customer requests a quote is incredibly important. To avoid problems, unwanted costs, and even potential legal issues, there should be no room for confusion or ambiguity in the contract you set up with your customer.

    March 8, 2021
  • Shipping with HS and HTS Codes

    If your organization intends to ship or receive items to or from overseas, it is important to understand an integral part of the international shipping process: the Harmonized System (HS) and Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), which were developed by the World Customs Organization.

    February 8, 2021
How can we help you?
Contact us or submit a business inquiry online.

To Palletize or Not to Palletize?

In our previous post on the topic, we covered some important things to remember when setting up your company in the U.S. market. Beyond operations, sales, and marketing, a manager would be remiss not to focus on how cultural differences might impact the success of a subsidiary.

The U.S. is not homogenous

Unlike several other countries, the U.S. is vast – and not just in its size. Americans tend to break up the country into its East and West coasts, and the Midwest. But there are even more segments, like the South, Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, Florida, and Texas – all of which differ greatly from each other. There are several big cities, countless medium-sized markets, and even more rural or suburban areas. Interacting with people living in big cities will differ greatly from interacting with people in smaller towns. While it would be unwise to generalize, it is best to understand the culture of the part of the U.S. in which you are doing business before having expectations.

Patience is not always a strength among Americans

When in negotiations or conducting business, Americans tend to want to just get the deal done. While many other cultures take their time, get to know everyone involved, and move along at a comfortable pace, those in the U.S. do not always see a need to drag things out. Get ready for what looks like impatience, when in reality it is just a desire to be efficient and effective.

Don’t plan on in-person meetings 

At least not all the time. The tendency for Europeans and Asians to conduct most business in person is not the same in the U.S. Phone calls, emails, and now even video conference calls are the norm. Businesspeople like to work efficiently, and don’t gather in person unless it is necessary. First meetings, larger negotiations, and important topics are generally discussed in-person. Otherwise, don’t be offended or surprised if many of your interactions are taking place remotely.

Open-minded over traditions

A positive aspect of Americans in general is their ability to have an open mind. Many other cultures rely heavily on traditions, and act in certain ways because history dictates that they should. That is not the case in the U.S. Americans tend to welcome new ideas and concepts perhaps more freely than their foreign counterparts.

That being said, Europeans tend to rely on strongly forged bonds in which trust is paramount. Loyalty is key. Americans tend to be looser and more pragmatic when it comes to doing business. They don’t necessarily need to have known someone for years to begin working with them. At the end of the day, it’s about getting the deal done.