Supply Chain Pallet Crisis – Why Switch To Plastic Pallets

Ozkor explains to MHD the differences between wooden and plastic export pallets, and why the latter is a better and safer alternative. It encourages businesses to determine what specifications they require the product to have, and to know exactly how they’re going to use the pallets so they can get optimal use out of them.


No matter what business you are in today: whether it’s food, pharmaceutical, or the exports of goods overseas, cost, hygiene, pest control, and product service life will be important considerations for most companies. This means making the right decisions when it comes to the purchase of pallets is vital.

In this regard, many companies are now moving to re-usable and returnable plastic pallets as alternatives to wood. According to one of Australia’s leading plastic pallet manufacturers, Ozkor Pty Ltd, this issue has taken on particular significance in recent times when trying to service the supply chain of goods where a serious lack of good quality wooden pallets is available to fulfil orders. This has been brought about by COVID lockdown issues and related international supply chain disruptions.

Whether wooden pallets are purchased or rented, it has become evident that industry has been under stress for some time to access supplies where the quality of available stocks of rented wooden pallets has significantly diminished.

To compound this issue, wood is not only increasing in price but also very difficult to come by in adequate quantities to fill industry demands. According to reliable industry sources, many companies have expressed concerns that this could create a situation where production is stopped due to inadequate and unreliable pallet supplies.

Ozkor is a Sydney-based ISO-certified company specialising in the design and manufacture of plastic pallets for a wide range of industrial applications. Customers include major retailers, manufacturers and exporters who can buy or rent plastic pallets that provide many advantages over traditional wooden pallets.

Ozkor’s National Marketing Manager Alan Morgan considers pallets as being vitally important logistical tools and an essential, integrated link in global supply chain networks that ensures the smooth passage of goods around the world. Recent events, however, have concentrated the minds of industry leaders to consider a more reliable and safer alternative such as plastic pallets.

“We are being approached by many of Australia’s major companies to discuss how Ozkor can contribute to the mitigation of the current wooden pallet shortages by renting or selling plastic pallets in order to overcome this current crisis,” Alan says.

Problems with Wooden Pallets

While no doubt wooden pallets will still be around in Australia for some time, an increasing number of companies need to carefully consider the choice of pallet material chosen to accommodate other operational conditions. For example, wooden pallets, when wet, are like sponges as they are porous and susceptible to moisture absorption especially when they are exposed to rain or wet storage conditions. This can result in dangerous conditions due to the potential of retaining harmful pathogens presenting significant risks in high care environments such as the food, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries.

Furthermore, wooden pallets become much heavier when wet, causing them to warp and change dimensions. Extreme weather and operational environmental conditions can exacerbate this problem. Heavier wooden pallets mean businesses are forced to pay higher transportation fees than necessary when goods and pallets exceed their expected weight.

With the advent of more advanced Automated Warehousing Rackings. Plastic pallet designs provide consistent dimensional integrity and tare weights coupled with high impact resistant qualities that can be easily accommodated in automated systems without any fear of downtime.

For warehouse workers, wooden pallets pose additional OH&S difficulties. Rusty nails, splinters associated with the use of wooden pallets, presents a clear and common safety risk to the workers handling them.

When it comes to exporting such are the difficulties of wooden pallets – particularly as they relate to hygiene and pest infestation concerns – many countries are discouraging the use of single disposable wooden export pallets because they’re at high risk of bearing pests such as white ants. The consequences of which can result in a country’s agricultural system being seriously compromised.

Given that Ozkor plastic pallets don’t absorb harmful contaminants, they are more hygienic and ideal for exporting agricultural and pharmaceutical items.

“Ozkor’s decision to bring the production of its plastic export pallets back to Australia has enabled the company to pass on significant savings to its customers and provided a more reliable platform for servicing the local market,” Alan explains.

A Better Choice of Pallet Design

Ozkor recommends businesses should consider several factors when renting or buying plastic pallets. It recommends seeking professional assistance and advice from specialists in the fields of plastic pallet manufacturing and ensure the product fulfils their requirements, as well as consider its life expectancy, the environment in which they will be used – sub-zero or ambient temperatures, for instance – and whether they need a light or heavy-duty pallet.

“Ozkor’s plastic pallets are especially geared towards companies who require a high standard of product performance where extreme operational conditions exist and priced at a competitive rate,” says Alan. He equates pallets to the purchase of footwear in that they must be fit for purpose.

“When people buy shoes, they can be required for a diverse range of applications such as dancing, running, hiking, or some other activity. Customers want their investment to meet the demands of the application in which they are to be used over a long period of time. Likewise, when we design a plastic pallet, we must ensure it is designed to meet the operational and environmental standards relevant to the industries where they are used.”