Below, based on page views, we present our roundup of top news pallet stories from 2022, from December 1, 2021, to November 30, 2022. We have not included news articles from December 2022, as they may still have some runway. We’ll include them in next year’s report, although the launch this week of the low-profile ORBIS Odyssey Pallet, the Scott Group acquisition by BSW Group, and the CHEP China and Loscam merger both look to be very strong contenders for next year’s report. That being said, here is our list of top pallet stories.
Top Pallet Stories of 2022
1 Navigating Pallet Price Trends in 2022
In first place by a country mile was an article on pallet pricing trends, Navigating Pallet Price Trends in 2022. The article submitted by First Alliance Logistics Management, a leading U.S, non-asset-based pallet provider. With unprecedented price swings in pallet pricing underway in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that many people were trying to better understand and navigate the surprisingly volatile pallet market. While demand is currently subsiding as availability improves, many pallet buyers are still dealing price uncertainty, even as conditions improve. A knowledgeable provider such as FALM can help wood pallet buyers successfully navigate the softening market.
2 Brambles announces decision not to participate in the potential transition to plastic pallets in Costco’s US supply chain
Would a CHEP offering of plastic pallets for Costco in the U.S. result in other retailers saying, “Us too,” and signal the beginning of a broader shift to plastic in the North American CPG landscape, even given a lack of production capacity to back up anything close to such a transformation, at least in the short term? So much drama! Brambles said they would have an announcement in June, and as industry insiders waited in anticipation, it finally arrived at the very end of the month. Would a different decision have been made if powerful shareholder groups were not sharpening their knives and the ROCI goalposts moved? Hard to say. Here’s what Brambles CEO Graham Chipchase had to say:
“As the market leader, we have leveraged our scale and expertise to exhaust every operational and commercial lever to find a viable solution for Costco’s supply chain in the current environment. The trial results confirmed the efficiencies in Costco’s supply chain and sound operational foundations of a digitally enabled plastic pallet pool. However, in the current economic and market conditions, a conversion to plastic pallets was deemed commercially prohibitive by Costco’s suppliers and, without adequate cost recovery, dilutive to Brambles’ ROCI.”
3 Pallet Company Merger and Acquisition Tracker
The merger and acquisition trend rocking the U.S. pallet industry continued in 2022, and was our #3 news story. There have also been noteworthy mergers and acquisitions internationally. We mentioned Loscam China and Scott Group above. Rotom was also active, and of course, the Cabka merger was a headline of particular note. In the U.S., Kamps acquisition of Realm Companies and PLA’s absorption of Propak caught our eye, among many transactions. 48forty Solutions was particularly active, with at least 10 impressive acquisitions during the focus period.
4 German pallet industry warns of nail shortage
At #4 is one I didn’t expect to be on the list, but it speaks to our increasingly global audience. Pallets made in Germany are almost exclusively produced in (highly) automated production lines, a report from Germany warned in April. “The nails used require steel qualities that were previously available almost exclusively from Russia and which can therefore not be ordered from elsewhere so quickly – especially since there is little or no capacity available for short-term overseas deliveries, for example from the Far East, the article stated.
Since the German production machines cannot be converted to other nails, millions of pallets could soon be missing here, the report warned. “If nails are missing, the affected companies are threatened with 100 percent short-time work overnight,” commented HPE Managing Director Marcus Kirschner. “The larger the resulting shotfalls, the more serious the effects on the movement of goods.”
5 EPAL: War in Ukraine impacts the European pallet market
EPAL stands with the people of Ukraine, a March 2022 report from EPAL stated. “They have our sympathy, our concern, and our solidarity. EPAL is receiving regular updates from its licensees in Ukraine on the need for aid and will actively support the people of Ukraine.” The war in Ukraine and EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus will have a significant impact on the European pallet market. EPAL supports the EU sanctions with the hope that they will contribute to bringing a rapid end to the war, the violence, and the displacement of people.” As it turned out, EPAL was to have a record year for new pallet production.
Here are stories #6 to 10, touching on alternative material pallets, the cost of pallet theft, the acquisition of RM2, and California legislation aimed at helping pallet companies and small distribution centers. What pallet news stories will stand out in 2023?