Investigation of New and Recovered Wood Shipping Platforms in the United States

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Virginia Tech


Wooden pallets are essential part of the supply chain carrying approximately 80% of all products shipped domestically. The production of pallets is also strongly correlated with the U.S. G.D.P and manufacturing G.D.P. This research was conducted to obtain important information on the market and raw material usage trends in the wooden pallet and container industry from 2019 through 2021. These trends have been compared to historical data that has been collected by Virginia tech and U.S. Forest Service pallet surveys from 1991-2016. This study was conducted by sending out physical and online surveys to 2319 companies who produce and broker wooden pallets and crates. The wooden pallet and container industry produced and estimated 919 million new pallets in 2021 which is an estimated 75% increase since 2016. The 48"x40" pallet size continues to be the dominant new pallet size with a 29% market share. The share of softwood lumber used in the industry steadily increased since 2016 and accounted for 81% of the lumber used in pallet production. The industry used 38.6% percent of the total sawn softwood lumber produced and 37.6% of the total sawn hardwood lumber produced in the U.S. The industry also produced 280 million repaired and remanufactured pallets. This is an estimated 16.4% decrease from previous research conducted in 2016. In 2021 approximately 89% of all recovered wooden pallets are converted to repaired or remanufactured pallets. Approximately 22% of respondents stated that they were not affected by the pandemic. A majority of 51% of respondents stated that they exceeded their 2019 sales, with 12% seeing no change in sales in 2020 compared to 2019.



Pallets, Wood, Envirnment