European Pallet Sizes Explanation – Freight and your Business Logistics

Author: John Shawyer is Director of Associated Pallets

Choosing the correct size and type of pallet is important for several reasons. These include optimising available storage space, keeping transport costs down and ensuring efficient handling of goods during transport. There are many sizes available but the country or region of the world is most likely to dictate the most appropriate size. Standard pallet sizes in the UK are not set out by British regulations, but the most widely used size is 1200 x 1000mm, with nine blocks and a full-perimeter base. This has been used in the UK for many years, although thickness, fasteners and wood species have changed over time. It originated in the 1960s as a metric conversion of the 48 inch x 40 inch size commonly used in North America. There are international standards governing pallet sizes for intercontinental materials handling, which sanction six different sets of dimensions. These tend to be used in different areas of the world as follows:

  • 1219mm x 1016mm – North America
  • 1000mm x 1200mm – Europe, Asia
  • 1165mm × 1165mm – Australia
  • 1067mm × 1067mm – North America, Europe, Asia
  • 1100mm × 1100mm – Asia
  • 800mm × 1200mm – Europe

Although there are no legally binding standard pallet sizes in the UK, there are regulations governing pallet sizes in other regions. The Euro pallet size is used across Europe in many sectors. Manufacturers of these pallets must be approved by EPAL, the European Pallet Association, which governs all the technical specification. The reason for this strict standardisation is due to the europool pallet swap scheme. However, because the EURO pallet is not a perfect fit for the ISO standard shipping container, containers of marginally wider dimensions are often selected. There are actually four sizes of EURO pallet:

  • EUR 1 – 800mm × 1200mm
  • EUR 2 – 1200mm × 1000mm
  • EUR 3 – 1000mm × 1200mm
  • EUR 6 – 800mm × 600mm

There is also an Australian Standard Pallet, which is a square pallet 1140mm x 1140mm. It was originally made of hardwood and designed to fit the Australian Railway RACE containers. Due to the rising costs of hardwood it is now made of timber which is appropriate for the ISPM 15 wood packaging material regulations. It also happens to fit standard sized ISO shipping containers, leaving less wasted space than many other sizes. This also means less dunnage is required around the sides of the pallets, between the container walls and the pallets.

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