EPAL Holds Pallet Symposium in Czech Republic – Wishes for 10 to 15 Million Pallet Annual Production

EPAL_Europalette_1-1 The Czech economy profits from high quality Euro pallets. This is the upshot of the first pallet symposium in the Czech Republic, which was opened on the 20th of November 2013 by Robert Holliger, president of the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL). EPAL invited Czech logistics experts, pallet production and repair companies and users from trade and industry to the industry meeting in Prague, in order to further discuss the significance and the future development of the largest open pallet exchange pool in the world.

A  group of experts highlighted a range of topics across the field of EPAL Euro pallets from the perspective of manufacturers, repair organizations and users. In addition to the quality features of EPAL Euro pallets, the speakers discussed the functionality of the open pallet exchange pool, presented the quality assurance work of the independent audit company Bureau Veritas, conferred on legal questions and debated the expectations of the users of EPAL Euro pallets.

High quality Euro pallets are able to bear 1,500 kilograms

The approx. 60 participants were particularly interested in the quality features of EPAL Euro pallets. In their lecture, Alexander Becker and Jens Lübbersmeyer – EPAL technical assistants – clarified the prescribed criteria applicable to manufacturing and repair processes. According to the requirements, EPAL Euro pallets must fulfill UIC Codices 435-2 and 435-4 as well as DIN standard EN 13698-1, which stipulate not only the type of wood and processing, but also precise nail positioning specifications. “This guarantees that the pallets can be reliably loaded with a weight of up to 1,500 kilograms” explained Alexander Becker. EPAL Euro pallets can be identified by the EPAL logo, which is uniformly applied to all four corner blocks.

Independent controls safeguard quality

For the users it is essential that they are able to exchange the standardized cargo carriers, which simplify and accelerate the transportation of goods, with each other. A prerequisite for this is a binding quality standard for EPAL pallets, applicable to both production and repair processes. During his lecture, Joachim Bürhop – project representative of Bureau Veritas Germany Holding GmbH – described how the independent audit company carries out unannounced controls of the license holders on behalf of EPAL, and in doing so ensures consistent quality.EPAL1-gab

Significant pallet manufacturing and repair organisations are based in the Czech Republic

Martin Leibrandt, CEO of EPAL, underlined the extensive importance of the Czech market: “Significant pallet manufacturing and repair organizations are based in the Czech Republic. Great potential exists here. We wish to achieve greater market penetration, acquire more licence holders and develop a comprehensive network of manufacturing and repair organizations.” Following the termination of cooperation between the UIC and EPAL on the 31st July 2013 EPAL has pursued its own strategy, and has now also acquired license holders in those countries in which it was not previously active in agreement with the railway companies operating there. In the Czech Republic seven companies have already concluded EPAL license agreements. EPAL is striving to increase this number. The EPAL license holders in the Czech Republic include six members of the Asociace výrobců a opravců palet z.s. (AVOP), which presently encompasses 55 production and repair organizations. “We wish to develop a production volume in the Czech Republic of ten to 15 million EPAL pallets and are open to discussions with interested companies”, declared CEO Martin Leibrandt.

Substandard pallets pose a risk to goods and personnel

Alex Kotsiwos, managing director of SSD SAFE-Services Deutschland GmbH, reported at the symposium of successful strategies and measures implemented against pallet theft and the pallet black market. Inferior pallets, which do not fulfill the quality requirements, constitute a risk to the seamless transportation of goods and the safety of personnel. The participants of the first pallet symposium in Prague were in full agreement that users and the economy profit from an open pallet exchange pool with standardized, quality-assured EPAL Euro pallets.

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