Top 10 Export Palletization and Pallet Selection Tips

Attention to pallet selection and palletization practices for export can make all the difference in acheiving a superior experience for the customer when receiving your product. Here is a list of tips to consider when choosing the right pallet and palletizing your load for international shipment:

  1. Prepare your shipment for extreme conditions. Anticipate the range of challenges such as temperature and humidity extremes, in conjunction with forces of compression, vibration and shock your shipment will face en route to arriving in the best possible condition at the final destination.
  2. Consider the best stacking pattern for your shipment. A column stack pallet pattern almost always provides better compression strength where corners and edges are oriented over corners and edges below. Where boxes are very strong or products are very strong, an interlocking pallet pattern may provide the greatest load stability and strength.
  3. Do not pyramid stack your shipment. Level loads provide better strength and stability where double stacking of loads is required.
  4. Do not overhang the pallet. Aside from a loss of compression strength of up to one-third, exposed cases are at risk of abrasion, puncture and impact.
  5. Palletized shipments between the U.S. and Canada are still exempt from ISPM15 requirements for wood pallets, although this exemption may be terminated in the near future.
  6. While corrugated pallets are typically very light and a recommended solution for companies such as IKEA, they may not be the best choice for export pallet selection if pallets become wet or absorb moisture.
  7. Solid wood pallets often offer the best value proposition for export applications, but they must be ISPM15 stamped to ensure acceptance in the country of destination.
  8. Do not use wood pallets without a bottom deck (wood skids) as they are more difficult to double stack without product damage and are more likely to be damaged in transit.
  9. Find out what works best for your customer in terms of interface with material handling and end of use considerations. If shipping to Europe, for example, the best solution might be to ship on an EPAL pallet. Others such as IKEA are specifying the use of a paper pallet.
  10. Lightweight plastic pallets can offer a competitively priced solution while eliminating the issue of potential detention at international ports of entry. Be sure to work with pallet suppliers to ensure that the pallet meets the needs of the application. Heavy duty plastic pallets will meet performance requirements for a range of applications, but price point may be a consideration unless pallets can be reused by the customer or retrieved.

For more information, visit our Export Pallets page.


  1. Brayden Brade says:

    That’s good to know that ISPM15 requirements might be changing. That makes me wonder if we shouldn’t be adhering to them now in preparation for any imminent policy changes. Thanks for the notice.