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Palletisation 101: Packing And Labelling for Safe Delivery

Quality palletisation can make or break operations in the logistics and shipping industry. Making the transportation of goods more efficient, proper palletisation is a sure way to enhance the entire shipping process and make for an overall safer experience.


When pallets are used to secure goods for shipping, there is a much lower chance of the package reaching its destination with any damage or defects. However, this can only happen when proper packing and labelling practices are followed.

If goods are packed carelessly or to a low standard, businesses can incur additional costs due to damaged goods and delays. Read on to learn how to improve your pallet delivery strategy and keep your goods safe.

What Size Pallet Do I Need?

Standard UK pallets usually have a base size of 120x100 cm, a common and widely accepted size There is also the Euro pallet, which measures 120x80 cm. When choosing your pallet, you need to consider which will be most suitable for the type of goods you are shipping.

Click here to learn more about the differences between standard pallets and Euro pallets.

Building a Stable Pallet

The most important thing to remember in pallet packing is to ensure a stable base and foundation. Things can easily go wrong if a pallet doesn't have a sturdy base. Failure to use a quality pallet that is fit for shipping runs the risk of compromising the safety of everyone working with the pallet and puts your goods at risk.

Choosing the Right Pallet

Start by assessing the type of goods being shipped. Are they big and heavy, or is it a consignment of multiple smaller items?

Make sure you know the weight and dimensions of your shipment so you know whether to use a standard pallet or a slimmer Euro pallet. If you have a range of different types of goods, then the most appropriate pallet packing method may be one that can handle a range of different equipment.

There are also different varieties of pallets regarding construction. The most common types are stringer pallets and block pallets.

Stringer pallets

A stringer pallet is made from three parallel support boards that run between the top and bottom layers of the pallet to provide stability. They are usually made from wood, but you can also get them in plastic and metal.

Providing a sturdy foundation, they are designed for either 2-way or 4-way entry by a forklift or pallet jack. These types of pallets balance durability, cost, and weight which makes them a popular choice for packing and transporting goods.

Block pallets

A block pallet is a pallet that is constructed with blocks of wood, plastic, or metal positioned between the top and bottom of the pallet to strengthen it. Placed at key points, the structure allows for forklifts and pallet jacks to lift the pallet from all four sides.

These pallets are very robust and can be easily repaired and reused if damaged.

Stack Boxes Methodically

Before you begin stacking your pallet, prepare the boxes beforehand. For example, make sure boxes are properly sealed and ready to be shipped. Avoid ‘bulging' boxes so they sit square and neatly together. Using boxes of similar sizes and strength will also ensure they are stacked neatly and effectively. As always, start with the heavier and larger boxes at the bottom to create a solid base and methodically work up to no higher than the recommended height.

Click here to learn more about shipping large and heavy items.

Securing the Load

Remember the importance of evenly distributing goods across the whole surface of the pallet to make sure it's balanced and stays stable. Avoid stacking heavy boxes on top of lighter ones and periodically check the stack's stability. If you notice leaning or any gaps, adjust your consignment before any toppling happens.

It's important to use stretch (or pallet) wrap to secure the boxes to the pallet. Wrap it several times to get as tight as possible. You can also use banding or strapping roll to add a layer of security, especially for heavier loads.

If you want to reinforce the overall structure and prevent damage, consider using corner protectors for your boxes, which can prevent damage to the edges of boxes and strengthen the overall structure.

More sustainable choices can also be utilised, such as pallet bands and recyclable alternatives.

The Benefits of Palletisation

Palletisation, the process of placing goods on a pallet for transport and storage, offers plenty of benefits across various stages of the supply chain. Here are some key advantages:

Efficiency in Handling and Transportation

Faster loading and unloading

Using the correct pallet size means goods can be moved faster. This is because forklifts can easily pick up and transport entire pallets of products at once.

Reduced labour costs

When pallets can be unloaded by machine, it takes the pressure off any manual handling. This leads to reduced labour costs and less time to load and unload.

Better use of space

Goods that are transported on pallets can be stacked, resulting in a better use of vertical space in warehouses. This means storage can become more efficient and cost-effective.

Easier warehouse management

Using pallets means it can be easier to manage inventory. This is down to the fact that goods are stored in a more organised way, facilitating counting and tracking.

Increased Protection for Goods

Reduced damage

Goods are protected from damage during transportation and handling as the pallet elevates them off the floor and secures them together. They also are better protected the more securely they are stacked and have no chance of moving in transit.


Properly wrapped and strapped pallets keep goods stable, reducing the risk of shifting or falling. Whether in a truck on the road or air/sea freight, if the pallets are protected properly, they're unlikely to cause any issues when on the move.

Improved Safety

Safer work environment

Work environments are made a lot safer as palletisation reduces the need for manual handling. Any risk of injuries related to heavy lifting and repetitive motion will be decreased when goods are moved by machine instead of by hand. It is still crucial to demonstrate proper health and safety standards when dealing with any goods.


Storing and loading practices are more predictable as pallets are standardised sizes and shapes. Industry standards are easier to create and monitor when pallets are standardised and therefore likely to be safer.

Cost Savings

Lower transportation costs

Pallets can make quality use of the available space in trucks and containers. This is referred to as FTL and LTL, standing for full truckload and less than truckload.

These two options improve the space efficiency of transporting goods while being cost-effective, reducing environmental harm, and ensuring fast delivery.

Reduced packaging costs

By using pallets for transporting goods, individual packaging costs are greatly reduced. This also helps in building a faster and more cohesive shipping strategy.

Environmental Benefits


Pallets are extremely eco-friendly as many of them are made of wood or recyclable plastics. They can also be reused many times, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Reduced waste

Palletisation helps cut down on waste as it keeps goods from getting damaged in transit. It uses space more effectively, meaning fewer packaging materials are needed. Plus, with pallets, more goods can be moved in fewer trips, saving fuel and reducing pollution.

Compatibility with automated systems

Automated warehouse systems work well with palletisation because machines can handle uniform pallet sizes. This means goods can be moved and stored faster, limiting the need for manual work and improving safety for workers. Pallets also make tracking inventory easier through technology barcodes or RFID tags.

Enhanced Transport Compatibility

Palletising goods is a popular option if goods need to travel long distances and have to transfer across different modes of transport (e.g. from road to ship) without loading or unloading.

It also means that different types of cargo can be stacked on one pallet, making shipping pallets more flexible and accommodating.

Clear and Accurate Labelling

Exact pallet labelling is essential in the palletisation process, as it ensures the accurate and correct delivery of goods. Each pallet label should include the essential delivery information, such as the sender's and recipient's details, a description of the contents, and any specific handling instructions.

Pallet labelling should also be attached to more than one side of the pallet to increase visibility, so handlers can see the information from any direction. This is especially important if a consignment is packed with a label facing a wall or another pallet fully loaded with goods.

Special Considerations

If hazardous materials or goods are being sent on international shipments, there will likely be extra pallet labelling requirements to be met. These include safety information on the materials being sent, specific symbols and the country of origin – all of which are vital to following international shipping regulations.

Extra Tips for Secure Palletisation

While basic packing and labelling tips are enough for most shipments, some might need extra considerations such as:

  • Avoid pyramid stacking as it can cause toppling or instability.
  • If your shipment has sharp-edged boxes, add corner boards or edge protectors.
  • Consider using slip sheets between layers if boxes are not uniform or to improve stability.
  • Inspect pallets and boxes during loading and unloading for signs of damage or toppling.
  • Always follow the pallet manufacturer's weight limits to prevent structural problems.
  • When sending fragile items, use additional padding for extra support. Consider custom-cut foam for goods with unique or odd shapes to prevent movement and damage.


When shipping pallets, either domestically or internationally, it's vital to complete the correct paperwork. The exact paperwork you need will depend on a few factors, such as what you're shipping, where it's coming from, where it's going, and the rules of the shipping companies and customs offices.

For a full guide on correct documentation, see our article about shipping hazardous and/or dangerous goods.

Frequently asked questions

How should perishable goods be prepared and packed on a pallet for shipping?

Choose a clean pallet and use insulated packaging to keep the right temperature. Make sure items are pre-cooled before packing and are ready to allow for airflow. Use stretch wrap and ensure it's clearly labelled as perishable, including handling instructions.

What's the significance of ISPM 15 for international pallet shipping?

ISPM 15 is a global standard for wood packaging in international trade. Most countries require it as it is crucial for protecting ecosystems and native species from pests that can travel in the wood. Pallets not meeting ISPM 15 can be refused, which can cause delays, extra costs or complete loss of goods.

How is the security of high-value items shipped on pallets ensured?

It's important to use strong packaging and not to detail any valuable information on labels. Consider using GPS or RFID devices to track the pallet and tamper-evident seals could be used to show if anyone tried to open it.

Additionally, making sure the goods are insured and information about the shipment is kept confidential will help secure high-value items when being shipped.

Swift and Safe Delivery with Pallet2Ship

Proper palletisation is crucial when shipping goods, not just for meeting shipping requirements but for the overall success of any logistics operation. It's about more than stacking boxes, it's about making sure that every package on a pallet is secured and stable, clearly labelled, and correctly organised.

When this level of diligence is given, it can significantly streamline the shipping process. This can cause considerable savings in time and money, and reduce the chance of goods being damaged in transit.

Whether you run a small local business or oversee a large corporation, the fundamental practices of effective palletisation apply. Putting these methods into practice can transform your shipping process, making it more efficient and reliable.

For businesses looking for more in-depth information or help with specific shipping challenges, Pallet2Ship provides an extensive range of resources and expert advice. With over 15 years of experience in road, air, and sea freight safety, we provide our customers with reliable, comprehensive advice and services that can meet all your shipping needs.

If you're ready to begin your pallet delivery journey, then look no further than Pallet2Ship and get a free instant quote today. We're with you every step of the way.


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