How to Pack and Load Pallets for Shipping

How to prepare a pallet for shipping

When you need to ship bulky, heavy packages or large quantities of goods, a pallet is the best and most cost-effective option. Packing your pallet correctly for shipping is important to ensure the safe transport of your goods. Find out more about how to prepare and load pallets properly for shipping.


Shipping services for goods loaded on pallets

Depending on the size and the urgency of your shipment, book one of the services below and prepare your pallet for shipping:
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How to pack and load pallets for shipping

When preparing and packing your pallet for shipping, it is important to ensure that the goods are loaded securely to avoid damage during transport. Packing pallets correctly is also essential to minimise the risk of injury during handling. Our packing guidelines for pallets will explain how to safely and securely pack your pallet for shipping.

1. Choose the right pallet

Get a pallet that is sturdy enough to support the load. Make sure it is intact and in good condition. For most shipments, we recommend using standard wooden pallets or plastic pallets. Avoid using wooden pallets without bottom boards, corrugated pallets or pallets made of treated wood.

2. Stack in columns

Arrange the boxes in even columns and distribute the weight evenly across the pallet. Load heavier goods at the bottom and make sure the height does not exceed 220 cm. Please bear in mind that non-stackable pallets will incur a surcharge from the carrier.

3. Do not overhang

Make sure the goods fit squarely on the pallet, with nothing hanging over the edge. Overhanging increases the risk of damaged items and also decreases the strength of the pallet. Please also note that the carrier may refuse to collect an overhanging pallet.

4. Keep it flat

Make sure the top surface of the pallet is flat to minimise the risk of lost or damaged goods during transit. The more compact the shipment is, the better. Remember that carriers usually impose additional charges for non-stackable pallets, without a flat top surface.

5. Strap and wrap

Use pallet packaging materials such as stretch film, bubble wrap and foil to secure your load. In the next section, you will find materials you can use to help secure your load. Wrap straps around the goods on both sides and make sure the pallet is also covered.

6. Label clearly

Remove old labels. Place shipping labels on each side but not on top, as pallets may be stacked on top of each other. We recommend sticking the labels on the boxes and not on the external plastic wrapping, which could rip in transit. You can also use label cones for non-stackable pallets.

How to secure the load on the pallet for transport

Once you have loaded the goods onto the transport pallet, check below further tips and materials you can use to secure the shipment properly:

  1. Foam cushioning – Select a foam with the appropriate density to protect your goods.
  2. Blocking – Use materials such as wood to ‘block’ or hold the items in place on the pallet.
  3. Bracing – Use straps or ropes around the pallet base to fasten items prone to shifting or rolling.
  4. Layer pads – Use corrugated cardboard or solid board padding to divide layers between boxes.
  5. Edge boards – Reinforce and stabilise the load along the edges and corners with cardboard protectors.
  6. Bands – Wrap the goods with multi-use rubber pallet bands for added strength.
  7. Stretch wrap – Wrap the load tightly with multiple layers of plastic wrap to prevent shifting.

How to pack stackable pallets vs non-stackable pallets for shipping

  • Stackable pallets can be placed one on top of the other and are the preferred type of pallet by freight carriers as they are able to maximise the space inside the vehicle. With non-stackable pallets, this is not possible, and some freight couriers impose extra charges if you decide to use them.
  • If you are using non-stackable pallets, we recommend contacting our logistics experts, who can tailor an individual offer. In this case, your non-stackable pallet shipment will be noted in advance to avoid refusal by the delivery driver.
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FAQ on how to pack and prepare pallets for shipping

How many boxes can I load on a pallet for transport?

This depends on the size of your boxes and the specifications of your pallet, but just to give you an idea, if you were shipping standard 30 kg boxes, you would be able to have 58 per pallet.
When preparing your pallet shipment, select a pallet that can support the weight of your load based on the specifications of the pallet manufacturer.
Load the boxes on the shipping pallet without any overhanging. Depending on the type of pallet, take care not to exceed the maximum height of the pallet.

What is the best way to stack boxes on a pallet?

The boxes should be stacked in even columns, with one box directly over the other. This ensures a more stable base with a lower centre of gravity.
Heavier boxes should be loaded at the bottom and lighter ones on top. Arrange the items close together to minimise the risk of damage.

Where can I get new or used pallets for packing my shipment?

Pallets can be purchased from most hardware stores and specialised pallet stores. Alternatively, you can buy new or used pallets online. Used pallets are the cheapest solution.
However, when preparing your pallet shipment, make sure it is in good condition and that the dimensions and weight limits can accommodate your load.

What items should I load on pallets for transport?

Pallets are recommended for shipping multiple boxes and items that are too large for package shipping. In all cases, you should make sure that the loaded goods do not exceed the dimensions of the pallet.
If you have an item that exceeds the dimensions of the pallet, you can also ship it on a double pallet.

When should I choose to ship a pallet rather than a box?

Loading bulky or oddly-shaped items on pallets provides increased stability and minimises the risk of damage during transport.
Moreover, pallets are easier to manoeuvre, making them ideal for heavier shipments.

Should I use a pallet wrapping machine, or can I wrap the shipping pallet myself?

You do not need to use any specific machine or device to wrap your pallets for shipping.
Companies organising recurring freight transport usually use special pallet packing equipment, but it is perfectly possible for private customers to pack the pallet themselves for shipping using appropriate materials and following the recommendations on this page.

What if I need a forklift to load the pallet for shipping?

If you need any additional assistance or equipment to load the pallet for shipping onto the truck, simply let us know during the booking process. Such services are available for an additional fee.