A shallow portable platform used to facilitate handling of goods by forklift trucks. Often, packages are packed together on a pallet and then over-packed or shrink-wrapped to form a unitized load. Pallets are commonly made of wood, plastics or fiberboard. A four-way pallet is particularly useful, as it is constructed to enable forklift truck tines to engage from any of its four sides. To prevent introduction of non-native pests, some countries, for instance, Australia, prohibit the importation of non-treated coniferous wood packing materials from certain originating countries. Although pallets come in all manner of sizes and configurations, all pallets fall into two broad categories: stringer pallets and block pallets:
- Stringer pallets: use a frame of three or more parallel pieces of timber (calledstringers). The top deck boards are then affixed to the stringers to create the pallet structure. Stringer pallets can have a notch cut into them allowing “four-way” entry.
- Block pallet: are typically stronger than stringer pallets. Block pallets utilize both parallel and perpendicular stringers to better facilitate efficient handling. A block pallet is also known as a “four-way” pallet, since a pallet-jack may be used from any.