It’s that time of year again when we list the top pallet news stories of the year based on pageviews at Reusable Packaging News. They reflect diverse interests regarding the pallet market, financial and corporate news, tracking technology, materials science, and design innovation. There are some holdover themes to our top pallet news stories from 2022, such as market trends and M&A activity.
Please note that this list does not include older news articles that still generate substantial interest, such as the Brambles decision not to pursue plastic pallet pooling at Costco, although Costco continues to investigate options, or going way back in time, IKEA’s 2011 decision to convert from wood pallets to corrugated pallets. Without further fanfare, let’s pull back the curtains on our top 2023 pallet-focused stories.
The Top Pallet News Stories
Once again, FALM’s look at pallet pricing trends was the most-read article for 2023, following in the footsteps of Navigating Pallet Price Trends for 2022 as last year’s leading pallet news article. With wood pallets being a high-volume, price-sensitive market, there is always a lot of interest in prices, particularly given the roller coaster ride of recent years.
If pallet prices were at the forefront, closely following was interest in pallet company financial and corporate news, particularly in the realm of mergers and acquisitions. Has activity slowed down? Surprisingly, this assumption doesn’t seem to hold water, at least according to the announcements we aggregated over the course of 2023.
I was taking time off in the rustic French Polynesian island of Taha’a last March when RM2 CEO Kevin Mazula called on WhatsApp to fill me in on RM2’s proposed new funding round that would allow it to buy more units that were in demand for its composite pallet rental pool. The deal was announced in July.
In November, Brambles announced the appointment of Xavier Garijo to the newly created role of CEO, CHEP Americas. He steps into the position effective January 2024, combining the leadership of the CHEP businesses in the North America and Latin America regions.
EPAL has launched a traceable pallet that will significantly improve the traceability and efficiency of users’ supply chains. The EPAL QR Code initiative potentially marks the largest unique identification initiative for pallets to date, depending upon uptake by pallet buyers. Remember that Japan Pallet Rental, for example, has 10 million RFID-tagged units, and iGPS has several million. The EPAL QR code is optional rather than mandatory. It features a scannable code linked to a unique serial number, helping to boost supply chain visibility, improve efficiency, and optimize stock management.
Back in March, UFP Packaging announced in a widely read story that its PalletOne business unit has completed an expansion into UFP operations nationwide, making PalletOne the first wholly owned coast-to-coast pallet supplier in the United States.PalletOne automated manufacturing lines were immediately available in more than 70 UFP Packaging facilities, with an opportunity to add 20 more locations, giving the company unmatched scope in new pallet production across the country.
A series of three articles on a Cabka-hosted event made the Pallet Top 10 list, boosted in part, no doubt, by the catchy title of the article above.
Also making the cut was an article from FALM, urging wood pallet producers to consider capital investment even as the pallet market was falling flat in early 2023.
In the run-up to the PACK EXPO Las Vegas event, no surprise, there was considerable interest in the ORBIS pre-show announcement.
Rounding out the Top 10, CHEP Brazil announced the launch of a pallet tracking system in its pooling network. The pilot project aims to track the location and movements of cargo carriers and transported products using IoT (intelligence of things) devices to minimize the loss of pallets and reduce unnecessary costs. A similar post closely followed involving pallet tracking: CHEP’s Innovative Algorithm Boosts Annual Pallet Retrievals in Europe by 500,000 Units. The story about CHEP’s new Q+ quarter pallet (made from 100% post-consumer resin) also closely followed.