“Class 2” EPAL pallets present a danger to EPAL quality assurance.
The erosion of pallet quality in a common pool can lead to a downward spiral, as it has in the past for other common exchange pools such as CPC and the GMA pallet system. A successful pool must proactively address substandard pallets entering the system. As such, EPAL extends its international quality assurance beyond the manufacturing and restoration of EPAL pallets by its licensees. This includes countering the distribution of fraudulent pallets often referred to as “2nd class pallets”, as noted in a recent release from EPAL. Not only do these pallets exhibit substandard quality, but there’s a concerning likelihood of illicit wood being incorporated into their creation. Therefore, EPAL strongly encourages purchasing EPAL Euro pallets exclusively from EPAL-licensed vendors.
The introduction of “Class 2” EPAL pallets raises alarms
In recent times, EPAL Euro pallets, marked as ‘Class 2 EPAL pallets’, have been available at unusually low prices. These are primarily distributed through email by pallet merchants, sometimes with pictures depicting the inferior quality of these pallets. The pictures reveal significant quality faults such as incorrect nail placements and the utilization of defective wood, contrary to EPAL pallet production standards.
While other pallet systems have been known to provide “2nd” or “3rd” class pallets, EPAL has consistently guarded against the distribution of such inferior-quality pallets. Given this new trend, EPAL feels it crucial to clarify that new EPAL pallets must strictly adhere to EPAL Technical Regulations. This rules out the use of inferior-quality materials and misrepresentation of these pallets as ‘Class 2 EPAL pallets’. If a new EPAL Euro pallet is labeled as “2nd class” or “Class 2”, it’s counterfeit, as only pallets in compliance with EPAL Technical Regulations can bear the “EPAL in oval” brand mark.
In response to this, EPAL has alerted all licensees and customs offices about these counterfeit pallets, advising that such pallets must be destroyed. In cases of uncertainty regarding the legitimacy of the pallets, EPAL’s inspection company, Bureau Veritas, will conduct an assessment.
EPAL is committed to maintaining the internationally consistent quality of EPAL Euro pallets, which are essential for secure logistics processes and upholding the reputable EPAL brand. Therefore, EPAL Euro pallet users from industries, commerce, and logistics are urged to buy EPAL Euro pallets solely from EPAL licensees to avoid any issues regarding the quality and legality of the pallets.
Sourcing wood legally for EPAL Pallets
Some Euro pallets are presently being sold at such low prices that it seems improbable considering the costs of raw or sawn timber. This raises the suspicion that these inexpensive pallets, exhibiting quality defects, could be made using wood from illicit sources, which is significantly cheaper than legally sourced wood. This could be either unauthorized domestically harvested wood or wood imported in breach of sanctions against Russia and Belarus, often mislabeled as originating from Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan. Since EPAL has no licensees in these countries, such claims are false in the context of EPAL Euro pallets.
Consequently, EPAL collaborates closely with customs authorities to prevent the import of illegally made and counterfeit Euro pallets. Along with the guidelines of the technical regulations, EPAL Euro pallet licensees must also comply with all legal provisions, including the European Timber Regulation (EUTR). Thus, buying EPAL Euro pallets directly from an EPAL licensee assures users of the legality and sustainable forest management standards of their pallets.
The European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) is an international body that oversees the EPAL Euro pallet exchange pool. EPAL Euro pallets form the bedrock of industrial and retail supply chains across Europe. EPAL embodies quality, safety, and sustainability in logistics.
Currently, there are over 650 million EPAL Euro pallets and about 20 million million EPAL Box pallets in circulation making the EPAL Euro pallet exchange pool the biggest open pallet exchange pool in the world. More than 1,600 EPAL licensees produce and repair EPAL Euro pallets and other EPAL load carriers.