Shipping a pallet load to Europe is relatively simple these days but it is worth doing some research and taking some extra precautions if you want to ensure that your consignment is delivered without delay, damage or unexpected additional costs. This article offers some useful advice on how to plan, book and protect your shipments to European countries.
Don't risk damage or delay to your European pallet shipment
Although a dedicated vehicle from the point of collection to the point of delivery would obviously be the safest option for your pallet load, it would be astronomically expensive. The economical way to ship pallets over long distances is to use a reputable pallet distribution network, booking through a local member that can give you expert advice. If you take care in preparing and booking your shipment, you should be able to avoid delays or damage. Of course, if something untoward does happen and your load is insured, you will be compensated for the loss or damage – but only if you have taken adequate precautions!
"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." Alexander Graham Bell
How to ensure your pallet load is delivered safely to Europe
There are four simple steps to ensure that your pallet load will make a safe and rapid journey to its intended destination:
- Do your research - All European countries prohibit the import of certain items – such as firearms and drugs – and restrict the import of others, such as alcohol and aerosols. While many of these prohibited and restricted items are common across all European nations, the specific items banned or limited will vary from country to country, so you need to check that your goods are not on the list, or they may well be impounded at the border. Pallet delivery specialists such as National Pallets provide lists of such goods – check out the lists for the latest countries added to its delivery network, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
- Select the right pallet. - Choosing the right pallet for your load means checking both its quality and its size. From collection to delivery, your pallet load is likely to travel on a number of vehicles. This requires loading and unloading, so your pallet must be of good quality to withstand this handling. Check that your pallet is robust and suitable for the goods you want to load onto it. In particular, check that no boards or blocks are missing. Many pallet delivery companies will supply a high-quality pallet for you if you request this at the time of booking. Pallets should not exceed the standard size of 1000mm x 1200mm (40" x 48") and the pallet shipment company will usually have a maximum height and weight for pallet loads, so check what these limits are. Your goods must not exceed the dimensions of the pallet – so, no overhanging items – but many courier companies will offer an oversized pallet service at additional cost.
- Prepare your load. - If your goods are insufficiently protected, you may face surcharges, retraction of extended liability cover or even refusal on collection. Your goods must be stable when on the pallet and secured firmly to the pallet base using shrink wrap, industrial strapping, chains or rope. Protecting your load by using additional packaging materials – such as cardboard, bubble wrap or polystyrene – is strongly advised. Remember that, during its journey, your load will be exposed to transport vibration and perhaps adverse weather conditions. The pallet must not be top-heavy, as it will then be likely to topple over and damage other customers' goods or the vehicle. Note that any automotive parts that have contained oils or liquids must be fully drained before shipping, with the hole plugged and the item placed on a pallet with sufficient wrapping to catch any drips. If your pallet is not stackable – ie stacking another pallet on top of it is likely to damage your goods – you should mark your load clearly with this message.
- Book carefully - When choosing a pallet delivery company, check that the firm has a good reputation by looking for customer testimonials or reviews. Once you have prepared your load, you will need to measure and weigh it in order to book your shipment. If you're not using the full height allowable, your load may qualify for a half-pallet price, so check with the pallet courier to ensure you get the best possible shipping rate. With National Pallets, shipping to Europe is simple – there's no need for extra documentation and your pallet is treated in exactly the same way as though it was being delivered in the UK. Also, make sure that your load has the desired amount of insurance; you can generally purchase additional cover at the time of booking if you want to.
If you have a query about how to prepare or book your pallet for delivery to or from Europe, then get in touch. Call us on 0345 260 1086 (calls charged at local rate). Or book online and start earning pallet points today!
National Pallets with over 25 years' experience in the transport and haulage industry. We ship pallets nationwide in the UK, as well as deliver to 13 European countries.