Demand for the pallets handing industrial ingredients is soaring amid a surge in e-commerce, forcing retailers and manufacturers to expand warehouses or pile inventories higher. At the same time, –especially in the US, two key inputs cheap lumber and labor — are scarce.
The result: Pallet prices have hit record highs, according to a U.S. Labor Department index, and European gauges show big jumps from the U.K. to Germany. The market may stay hot through the US’s peak construction season in the springtime as post-Covid19 recovery takes place –add to the risks of inflation.
Each year, some 513 million new wood ones are built in the U.S. and another 326 million are repaired and put back in circulation, according to Associate Professor Laszlo Horvath of Virginia Tech’s Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design
Depending on the region, the usual price tag of $9 to $12 per wooden pallet may approach $15 this year. Earlier this year, U.S. government data showed the wood-pallet component of the producer price index jumped in March by the most since 1993.
“New pallets, used pallets, rental pallets — they’re all raising their prices,” said Chaille Brindley, editor and publisher of Pallet Enterprise magazine and Pallet Profile, a market report. Re>Pal will be increasing its standard pricing by 10% from 1st June 2021, unless otherwise agreed with clients.