The Timber Pallet Industry

By February 18, 2020Insight

Timber pallets

In 2020 timber packaging continues to not only survive but thrive. Despite promises that plastic would revolutionise transit packaging, in a time where environmentally friendly processes, sustainability, recycling and cutting costs are at the forefront for businesses and consumers throughout the world, wood is still the preferred choice.

According to a recent market study, the timber pallet industry is expected to see considerable growth in the near future, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 5.7% in the next five years. Last year, the worldwide timber pallet industry generated a value of 9,230 million US dollars, and this figure is expected to reach a total of over 12,900 million US dollars in 2024.

So, what are the key factors influencing timber transit packaging trends?

Protection in transit

Wooden pallets are the tried and tested solution for keeping packages protected in transit. Timber is highly adaptable, and pallets can be produced to bespoke designs to provide the best and safest solution for stacking and transporting a wide range of different products, getting them from A to B intact.

Depending on the weight, shape and weight distribution of items, plus the modes of transport that must be taken into account, timber pallets can be manufactured for two-way entry (single sided, non-reversible and full-reversible) or four-way entry (perimeter base, non-reversible and fully reversible).

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

With awareness of the environmental impact of just about everything we do growing on a daily basis, it’s important for businesses to make the most environmentally friendly and sustainable choices when it comes to transit packaging.

When compared with all other options in the transit packaging market, timber is without a doubt the greenest and least impactful solution:

  • The manufacturing processes involved in manufacturing and recycling of plastic and oil-based transit packaging products have a very harmful impact on the environment, generating huge amounts of carbon. In contrast, timber is carbon neutral – it only emits the carbon dioxide that it has taken in, and only when burned.When pallets are no longer suitable for repair or recycling, they can be converted into wood chip fuel, a very cheap and sustainable source of fuel for heating and power.
  • Many timber pallet manufacturers will only use wood that is responsibly sourced from sustainable forests. It’s also worth considering that trees are generally not cut down for the manufacturing of pallets; pallet wood is usually excess material from making products for construction and furniture.Pallets with Chain of Custody Certification can be traced back to source, providing confidence that all materials are from sustainably managed forests.
  • The majority of timber packaging materials are recycled. Pallets are designed to be used over and over again and can be repaired and recycled with relative ease. The recycling rate for wooden pallets is much higher than that of plastic or aluminium packaging materials.
  • A key reason why timber pallets are the most commonly used form of transit packaging for the global distribution of goods is that they can be heat treated to ISPM15 compliance to help protect ecosystems and prevent the spread of pests.


Another of the most important factors in the continuing growth of the timber pallet industry is that transit packaging manufacturers are taking a technological approach to the specification, design, validation and optimisation of timber packaging products.

By using a combination of state-of-the-art design and analysis software, pallet manufacturers can produce products that are extremely well balanced in terms of cost, durability, environmental impact, and health and safety.

The industry standard Pallet Design System has developed a highly respected reputation, helping pallet manufacturers to enable customers to reduce costs, minimise product damage and increase safety. The most innovative pallet manufacturers are taking digital pallet design validation a step further, making use of finite element analysis systems, which are able to simulate real-life factors that would have an impact on packaging. As a result, these factors can be considered very early in the design process, ensuring the best possible end-product.

The Fate of Timber Pallets in the Future

In short, the main reason that the market for timber pallets will continue to grow in the years to come is that timber transit packaging manufacturers continue to move with the times. As consumers look for the most environmentally friendly, sustainable, durable and cost-effective transit solutions, timber pallets will continue to top the list.

To learn more about the advantages of timber transit packaging materials, you can contact Nicklin, leading independent providers of bespoke transit packaging products and services. Visit, call 0121 359 8101, or email your enquiry here.

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