Apparently there’s a shortage of pallets for shipping goods which is going to cause problems in a post Brexit world. The problem is that the EU have strict rules on pallets shipped from outside the EU which pallets within the EU don’t have to abide by.
It’s not that the UK has suddenly lost all of their shipping pallets, it’s that they don’t conform to heat treatment and cleaning standards and don’t have the requisite EU markings to show that they comply.
EU requirements for Pallets
If you are interested, all wood packaging material and dunnage from non-EU countries must be:
- Either heat treated or fumigated in line with ISPM15 procedures;
- Officially marked with the ISPM15 stamp consisting of 3 codes (country, producer and measure applied) and the IPPC logo;
These requirements do not apply to:
- Wood 6mm thick or less;
- Wood packaging material made entirely from processed wood produced using glue, heat and pressure e.g. plywood, oriented strand board and veneer;
- Wood packaging material used in trade within the EU
Note the last point – if wooden pallets are for trade within the EU then you don’t have to worry about the regulation, but post Brexit we won’t be within the EU and the regulation will apply to all wooden pallets shipped from the UK to the EU.
Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is holding emergency meetings to discuss the issue. The plain facts are however that it’s going to be a problem. Even if you typically use a courier for individual shipments, those who are shipping pallets of goods into Amazon FBA’s EU fulfilment centres could discover their shipments are rejected because they are on the wrong type of pallet. You’ll no longer be able to assume that because your incoming goods were on pallets that you can grab any from your pallet pile and they are good to ship to Amazon FBA or any other destination within the EU.
Frankly, this is an absurd situation but it’s they type of minutiae that demonstrates just how ill prepared we are for Brexit and who knows what other issues will come to light? Forget the big broad strokes of home government, VAT, Import and Export Duties and the like – if something as mundane as a pallet can stop trade with the EU, what else has been overlooked that will also present a barrier to trade?
It’s worth noting that a huge variety of products include wooden packaging – anyone who’s purchased a new washing machine, fridge, freezer or almost any white goods will almost certainly have discovered that the packaging included wooden slats. The EU rules don’t only apply to pallets, although pallets ae the headline grabbing news.
This does once again suggest that getting as much of your stock into EU warehouses ahead of Brexit makes a lot of sense – at least enough stock to fulfil your EU orders for a couple of months. We’re moving into a world that’s so uncertain even the most stupid of events could put the brakes on your business if you’re not prepared.