Successful First Step: Common European Pallet Pool Agreement Reached Between EPAL and UIC

EPAL and UIC agreement


EPAL, the European Pallet Association, is concluding a successful 2014 with another positive announcement. The railways association UIC and EPAL have now formally signed a letter of acceptance about common mutual exchangeability in the European Pallet Pool. Simultaneously EPAL presented to the UIC that it would provide overall organization of the world’s largest open pallet pool, including external quality control audits by an independent certification organization. Now, it’s up to the UIC to decide about this offer, according to EPAL.

“The ball now lies in the UIC’s court,” says Martin Leibrandt, CEO of EPAL with respect to the offer. EPAL notes that the new agreement between EPAL and the UIC marks an important initial action, but the significant challenges reside on the other side of the negotiating table: global growth requires well functioning structures. For this reason, EPAL has made the offer to the UIC of taking on the overall organisation of the world’s largest open pallet pool, including external quality control audits by Bureau Veritas, an independent certification organisation.

EPAL palletsMutual exchangeability had previously been verbally agreed upon by EPAL and UIC in December, 2013.

After the UIC has ceased its cooperation with EPAL – as a result of the change in audit company – at the end of the year 2012, the relationship fractured. While the EPAL always declared itself in favour of continuing with common exchangeability, the UIC denied this exchangeability, says EPAL.

Since January 2013, EPAL hast contracted the independent auditor Bureau Veritas for standardized quality assurance, which perfoms unannounced checks on EPAL licence holders. Since August 2013, EPAL has administrated the Euro pallet open exchange pool, independently of the rail companies. At the same time EPAL licence holders have been producing one-brand pallets, which are marked with the EPAL logo on all four corner blocks (Photo). These EPAL Euro Pallets can be exchanged with all Euro Pallets existing now and in the future carrying either the EPAL or the EUR logo, or both. Previously, EPAL pallets also carried the UIC brand.

EPAL has been very active in 2014, with initiatives including the launch of its EPAL  academy, a radio magazine show, an EPAL app, the launch of a new half pallet, and further development of RFID-enabled pallets.  It also announced the production of 63.5 million new EPAL pallets in the first 12 months following the August 2013 reorganization.