A shipment of new counterfeit EUR pallets moving from Ukraine to Bulgaria was identified by customs officials. Quick action by ÖBB Rail Cargo Group (RCG) as the trademark rights holder of the EUR in the Oval trademark prevented the import of the counterfeit Euro pallets into the EU.
The enforcement of consistent pallet quality is integral to the ongoing success of any exchange pool, and a recent example of such enforcement was posted by ÖBB Rail Cargo Group (RCG). We also touch on enforcement action by EPAL later in this article. First, we report on the EUR news.
The Customs office in Ruse, Bulgaria, informed RCG, as the owner of the EUR in oval trademark, that they had discovered counterfeit EUR pallets. They were found in a truck containing Europallets coming from Ukraine, heading to Bulgaria. The pictures sent by Customs to RCG clearly showed that these were counterfeit Europallets and, therefore, had to be destroyed. The importer of Europallets was immediately made aware of the counterfeit goods and was given a deadline to respond to Customs, but this passed without a response.
Counterfeit EUR Pallets Destroyed
Due to excellent cooperation with the customs authorities in Bulgaria and thanks to a dedicated RCG employee, the Europallets stored in the customs storage area were taken to their final destination and immediately destroyed. Thomas Metlich, Public & Cargo Affairs Manager and Chairman of the “Questions about palletization” UIC work group at ÖBB-Holding AG, said the following: “In the event of a trademark violation, our aim is to react as quickly and efficiently as possible so that the quality of the open exchange pool of Europallets is constantly maintained. We take our trademark rights extremely seriously and act on behalf of EUR license holders as well as the user of the EUR in oval trademark.”
EPAL Flags Illegal Timber Usage in Ukraine
Earlier in September, Ukrainian News reported that the European Pallet Association (EPAL) announced its decision to severely punish any violators of the ban on the use of illegally cut wood. This means that even the first violation should now result in the license revocation.
The article quoted from a letter sent to EPAL licensees in Ukraine, attributed to EPAL Managing Director Bernd Dorre:
“…unfortunately, we have repeatedly received third-party information that illegally cut wood is used for the production of EPAL Euro pallets in Ukraine…On the one hand, the suspicion is based on the discrepancy between the prices of EPAL pallets on offer and the prices for wood at official auctions in Ukraine. On the other hand, it is based on the gap between the purchase volume of officially and legally cut wood and the total sales volume of timber and wood products, which was pointed out to us in a specific case.”
Most likely, according to the report, he was referring to a journalistic investigation into the manufacture of EPAL Euro pallets from illegally sourced wood at “Agropromtechcentr” ICPE factory owned by Pavlo Semeniuk who serves on the Kovel City Council. Here is one translated quote from the referenced article:
“In particular, from May 2022 to March 2023, the four above-mentioned Ukrainian enterprises exported pallets and boards abroad in the total volume of lumber of 141,140 cubic meters. About 352,000 cubic meters of wood are needed to produce such a volume of lumber. During the specified period, the volume of wood officially purchased by these enterprises amounted to only 85,835 cubic meters. That is, there is a suspicion that illegal wood in these interconnected enterprises for the specified period was four times more than legally purchased.”