How Does a Pallet Distribution Network Work? Shipping Goods On Pallets


Ever wanted to ship a large/heavy item but didn’t know how? Well, your best bet is to send it through a pallet distribution network. The information on this page will help to explain exactly what is involved in the process of pallet delivery and also how distribution networks operate. With a bit of luck, this article should answer most of the common questions asked by business owners and individual traders about palletised delivery systems.

In today’s fast-moving distribution world, hundreds of thousands of different types of goods are shipped on pallets every year. It’s a safe method for all products whether robust or fragile, and we’re going to let you know how it all works. It’s a lot cheaper and easier than you would imagine! Let’s start with the basics.

What is a pallet?

A pallet is a flat transport structure that is designed to support goods and provide stability when being lifted by a forklift, pallet jack, or other jacking device. Since its invention in the twentieth century, its use has dramatically supplanted older forms of crating like the wooden box and the wooden barrel, as it works well with modern packaging like cardboard boxes and Intermodal containers commonly used for bulk shipping. While most pallets are wooden, pallets can also be made of plastic, metal, paper, and recycled materials, so depending on what you need to ship and to where, bear this in mind!

What sizes do pallet loads come in?

You can see here the size guides for 3 different size loads on a standard pallet.

Palletised Distribution – Pallet Load Sizing

What can i send on a pallet?

You would be amazed at some of the items suitable to go through a pallet network, anything from building materials, furniture, domestic appliances, machinery, job lots of smaller, boxed, stackable items going to one destination… The list goes on. Although pallet delivery is popular with businesses, it can also be an economical way of transporting goods for non-commercial purposes. If you have a large item or multiple large items, you will probably find that a courier will struggle to lift your goods. Large, heavy items are likely to fall outside of most courier companies’ standard size and weight regulations, so you will require a specialist pallet delivery service. Pallet delivery will ensure that your goods are moved safely and kept in good condition during the transportation process.

I’ve bought my pallet. How do i prepare my goods to be transported?

You will need to ensure your goods aren’t going to get damaged or fall off the pallet in transit. Here’s some things to consider:

  • Use layers of corrugated cardboard that help to evenly distribute the weight of shipments that can be stacked upon one another.
  • Use corner boards to increase vertical stacking strength, prevent damage to corner edges and stabilize the load. If possible make sure they cover the full height and length of the load, and use them on all corners.
  • Use stretch wrapping (shrink wrap), this is an effective way to keep all pieces of a shipment together. The plastic stretch wrap should first be applied around the pallet and continued upward around the load. Must be tight to prevent load shifting. Stretch wrap is designed to stabilize the load, not to secure it to the pallet. Strapping or banding should be used in conjunction with stretch wrap to secure the load to the pallet.
  • Use strapping or banding to prevent pieces from getting lost or separated from the load. It should be drawn tightly to the load which may require running it underneath the top deck boards of the pallet.

What is pallet delivery?

Pallet delivery is pretty much exactly as it sounds. Specialist companies with lots of expertise will regularly collect and distribute pallets from business owners all around the country. At Highway Logistics, we offer a comprehensive range of logistics-related pallet services, from full and part load distribution through to palletised consignments.

Our team will keep goods safe at all times too, and we use secure transport tracking technology to ensure we know exactly where each vehicle is located in real time. As part of our service, we can provide same day deliveries from a single pallet to a full load. We work hard to guarantee total customer satisfaction for each and every consignment, regardless of the challenges.

What is a pallet distribution network?

A pallet distribution network often comprises of a number of companies working closely together. They do this to provide efficient, cost-effective and comprehensive solutions to their customers.

Pallet networks operate on a cost-focused basis, where goods are collected and delivered via a range of different transport companies. Goods are often passed between each logistics carrier via regional hubs. For example, your goods may be collected from A and delivered to B on one carried, then collected from B and delivered to C on another carrier, etc. until the goods reach their end destination. This is often the cheapest way to send palletised goods, especially if the quantities are small. The deliveries are usually on a 48-hour basis throughout the UK. This method is most common in pallet transportation and is referred to as the “hub and spoke” model.

How much does pallet transportation cost?

There are many factors involved that can affect the price of your pallet shipment, and for this reason, giving an estimate is tricky. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Highway Logistics and we will be able to give you a competitive quote.

We have listed below a number of factors that will affect the price of your delivery, so you can get an idea of what you can expect to pay:

Distance – If a pallet needs to be shipped overseas then this will incur extra customs costs and the extra distance and vehicles will cost more as well. Pallet shipping within the USA is cheaper for example, and although longer distance journeys will cost more, you may find that they cost less per mile.

Timings – If you need a pallet delivered by a certain time then this may involve a pallet shipping company rushing your job, which may cost more as they need to send a vehicle exclusively for your shipment as opposed to putting it on a vehicle already making a journey.

Item Size – How big the items are will also affect the cost, as this will determine how much space they take up in a vehicle. We will discuss what option is best with you during our quotation process.

Locations Of Pickup And Delivery – Urban and densely populated areas are often easy to pick up from and will incur less of a cost than remote areas that require extra travel to pick up the item.

Time Of Year – Depending on the time of year, some routes may be closed due to adverse weather conditions, which could cause your journey to require a longer route.

Choose Highway Logistics for Palletised distribution – Your total transport partner

To summarise, a pallet is a a flat transport structure that is designed to support goods and provide stability when being moved from one place to another. Pallet transport firms, like Highway Logistics, will collect your pallet at a predetermined time and take it back to base. The pallet will then move around the country to the nearest hub using our distribution network. The transport team at that location will then plan a route for drivers and load the pallets onto the back of their trucks. Those drivers then ensure the products reach their destination in the fastest time possible. We use a variety of different vehicles to complete our work.

Offering a complete solution for the daily management and delivery of palletised freight across the UK. Our fully trained drivers and customer service team are able to utilise our flexible fleet of vehicles to ensure we collect and deliver your consignment on time and intact. Contact us today for all pallet distribution needs. Our details are just below.


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