EPAL essential for the Europe-wide availability of goods and essential services

COVID-19 related updates

The production and repair of EPAL pallets and Box pallets is essential for the Europe-wide availability of goods and essential services

Düsseldorf, 30th March 2020 – The European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) endorses the statements made by the European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB), demanding that the production and repair of wooden packaging rank amongst the essential industries and be deemed part of the supply chain for vital sectors and critical services in the coronavirus crisis.

Without load carriers, including the over 600 million EPAL pallets and 20 million Box pallets, there would be considerable supply bottlenecks in the food sector as well as in the chemical and medical industries. In these supply chains, wooden pallets and wooden packaging are of vital importance for the smooth and uninterrupted transport of goods.

The wooden packaging industry has already been classed ‘essential’ in Italy, the United Kingdom and in Belgium. A similar decision is expected in France and in the Netherlands. In Germany, the federal system has so far prevented a single, nationwide solution. EPAL is therefore supporting the German Association for Wooden Packaging, Pallets and Export Packing (Bundesverband Holzpackmittel, Paletten, Exportverpackung – HPE e.V.), which is pushing for a speedy, standard solution.

Furthermore, as an international association, EPAL is backing the calls of its members in the national associations of all European countries – producers and repairers of EPAL load carriers – to recognise their status of ‘essential companies’ in the crisis and beyond, and in this way safeguard the essential flow of goods.

Christian Kühnhold, EPAL CEO, “Euro pallets’ two billion rotations annually speak for themselves. Only with the corresponding goods from industry – but also the availability of load carriers – is the current supply of foodstuffs achievable.  All those working with pallets are doing everything possible to also guarantee the significantly greater demand in particular areas.”

Pallet Industry Designated as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce during COVID-19

The U.S. federal government provides guidance to state and local governments to recognize the role of pallets

Alexandria, Va. (March 23, 2020) – Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) late last week designated manufacturers and distributors of packaging materials, including the pallet industry, as essential workforce critical infrastructure.

As the largest organization of wood packaging professionals in the world, the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) recognizes the importance of this federal guidance as state and local governments seek to keep needed goods moving while working to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As state and local officials work to designate essential business operations in their districts, NWPCA urges government agencies to follow the DHS guidance.

“The continued development, use and reuse of pallets provides a critical piece of our supply chain,” said Brent McClendon, President and CEO, NWPCA. “The system for getting important goods where they need to be is rapidly evolving and being pushed harder than ever. Making sure pallets remain a part of that system now will help deliver food, medicines, sanitizers and other essentials that are required to successfully manage a quarantine.”

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, nearly 2 billion pallets were in use across the U.S. during any given day. The total number of pallets in circulation each day is likely higher now. More than 93% of all goods are shipped using pallets. The increase in demand for food, essential medicines, sanitizers and other critical items that are shipped on pallets is a clear demonstration of how essential the pallet industry is at this time.

NWPCA will continue to champion the industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond as our country keeps essential goods moving to consumers at a pace that meets demand. For more information on the guidance from DHS and CISA, click here.

critical infrastructure COVID

Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce

Critical workers include: “Manufacturers and distributors (to include service centers and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations.”


Corrugated Box Industry Keeps Supply Chain Moving Amid COVID-19 Challenges

Mar 19, 2020 – The manufacturers of corrugated cardboard boxes are working to keep transport packaging flowing to makers of essential products including packaging for food and other consumer products, medical and pharmaceutical products, tissue and hygiene products and more amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Corrugated cardboard packaging is the backbone of the American supply chain,” said Fibre Box Association President and CEO Dennis Colley. “As COVID-19 changes our daily lives, we want to assure consumers that the box industry is continuing to operate and to deliver needed packaging to our customers who supply grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices and hospitals with food and medical supplies to keep us all healthy and safe.”

Disruption in the availability of these goods would cause significant hardships to consumers across the country who depend on steady and stable supplies. Corrugated cardboard manufacturers are dedicated to continuing to operate box plants under the guidelines of Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure products continue to flow to market.

Fibre Box Association joins American Forest & Paper Association in encouraging Federal, State and local governments to recognize the corrugated packaging industry as “essential” when drafting “Shelter in Place” orders. We ask for clear exclusion of our manufacturing operations to limit disruptions to the supply chain.

“We are grateful for the dedication and commitment of all people working in the corrugated packaging industry,” said Colley.

Statement on COVID-19 supply chain continuity from FEFPEB

March 18, 2020 – COVID-19 is the largest challenge faced by society and public health for many years. It is threatening businesses across the world, as the result of unavoidable measures taken to limit the movement of people and spreading the virus further. This situation is likely to intensify in the coming weeks.

President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen made it clear this week that we need coordinated measures to protect the health of European citizens, but also to ensure that essential goods – especially food and medicines – and services are able to flow freely.

As the crisis continues, the EC stipulates that EU Member States should give priority to freight traffic, ensure safe working conditions for transport workers and that no additional certification should be needed for goods legally circulating within the EU single market.

The European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers (Fédération Européenee des Fabricants de Palettes and Emballages en Bois – FEFPEB) is calling on governments across Europe to help ensure wooden packaging and pallets remain freely available throughout this crisis, to ensure that fast moving consumer goods (fmcg) and pharmaceutical supply chains are able to operate in a smooth and timely manner.

The government of each country has its own set of regulations for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis; our members and related business are adhering to these. However, we stress that they must support manufacturers of wooden pallets and packaging, and reconditioned pallet companies; pallet pools; sawmillers; and the logistics industry in general.

The EC has issued a set of guidelines on protecting health and keeping goods moving. These are available on its website at https://ec.europa.eu/. We urge all our members and operators in the supply chain to read these. FEFPEB will continue to communicate with its members and the EC to ensure that supply chains are kept moving in order that essential goods continue to be available.

For more information, please contact: info@fefpeb.eu

The European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers (Fédération Européenee des Fabricants de Palettes and Emballages en Bois – FEFPEB) represents European national timber packaging associations, including the pallet, lightweight packaging and industrial packaging sectors. It was established in 1946. The major European pallet pools (including EPAL, CHEP, LPR, IPP Logipal and PRS) are also part of FEFPEB. 

TIMCON urges support for pallets in critical supply chains

Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) urges support as wood pallets will play a critical role in serving Fast Moving Consumer Good (FMCG) supply chains in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 17, 2020 – The COVID-19 crisis is causing a slowdown in many businesses around the UK, due to people self-isolating to protect themselves and others from illness. Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) expects further Government measures in the near future to control the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, TIMCON notes that there has been a surge in sales of FMCG goods and supermarkets and other retailers have run short of many crucial items as people stock up. The group stress that the government needs to be aware of the critical importance of a continuous supply of wooden pallets and packaging to ensure FMCG supply chains keep pace with essential consumer demand.

TIMCON encourages the Government must support pallet and packaging manufacturers, pallet pools, reconditioned pallet businesses, and the logistics industry; and also ensure that UK sawmilling operations are able to continue providing timber to wood pallet and packaging operations.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we will be working with the industry and with the Government to ensure these businesses can carry on operating to ensure continuity of supply of these essential products,” TIMCON states.

New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces

COVID 19 surfaces

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.NIAID-RML

The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. The study information was widely shared during the past two weeks after the researchers placed the contents on a preprint server to quickly share their data with colleagues. Read more.

“Those who are willing to clean regularly need have no fear of contamination”

March 17, 2020 – While COVID-19 is a historic catastrophe, notes Walter Ahn, managing director of Wasto-Pac LLC, it is an opportunity to redefine existing business processes. He recommends cleaning pallets and plastic containers more often and more intensively. “If you are willing to clean regularly, you need not be afraid of internal contamination,” he states. The company runs two washing lines at its location in Erfstadt, Germany – one for containers and one for pallets. It also has an international network of partner companies. Read more at Fresh Plaza.