Investigation of New and Recovered Wood Shipping Platforms

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

This study was performed in order to acquire key market information and information on raw material usage for the wood pallet and container industry in 2016. Historical trends in the wood pallet market were also analyzed between 1991-2016 using the results of previous Virginia Tech and U.S. Forest Service pallet surveys. Paper mail questionnaires and online questionnaires were sent to 2,520 companies that manufactured or wholesaled wood pallets and crates in the United States to obtain these data.

The wooden pallet and container industry produced an estimated 508 million new wood pallets in 2016, which is a 22% increase since 2011. Approximately 35% of this was 48” x 40” pallets, which continues to be the dominant standardized pallet size. Approximately 39% of new wood pallets were custom sizes which is a significant decrease from the 60% share found in 2011. Stringer class pallets remained the dominant pallet class with 76% share while block pallets and skids only accounted for 21% and 3% of the market, respectively. Approximately, 38% of these new wood pallets were heat treated.

Furthermore, an estimated 341 million pallets were recovered and sold as recycled/repaired or remanufactured pallets in 2016. The most common size of the recycled or remanufactured pallets was 48” x 40”, accounting for 69% of the recycled market. Ninety-one percent of recycled or remanufactured pallets were stringer class pallets while block class pallets made up the remaining 9%.

Wood byproduct usage has changed since 2011. The conversion of broken pallets and wood waste to landscape mulch (37.5%) and animal bedding (4.2%) have declined with a proportional increase in other uses (28.3%). Biofuel conversion has remained steady since 2006 at 30%.

2016, pallet, pallets, pallet survey, survey, wooden pallet and container industry, NAICS 321920