Crack Down: EPAL Is Taking Action on Substandard Pallets

The European Pallet Association suspects Russian illegal supplies

Thu 15 Jun 23


The European Pallet Association (EPAL) is taking action against the supply of substandard Euro pallets and using wood from illegal sources.

The organisation is cracking down on counterfeit pallets offered as “second class” EPAL pallets that have quality defects and raise suspicions of illegal wood sourcing.

There are currently more than 650 million EPAL Euro pallets and about 20 million box pallets in circulation, making the Euro pallet exchange pool the biggest in the world, with over 1600 registered licensees producing and repairing pallets.

EPAL has found the so-called ‘second-class’ pallets, selling at unusually low prices,s have serious quality faults, including defects in the wood and incorrect nail positions.

Suppliers are urged to follow EPAL technical regulations and that pallets labelled ‘class 2’ are likely to be counterfeited.

EPAL has instructed its licensees and customs offices to destroy any pallets bearing such designation.

EPAL is also addressing the issue of wood sourcing for pallet production, including timber harvested without proper permission or imported in violation of sanctions against Russia and Belarus.

“Some unscrupulous traders have falsely declared the origin of the wood as Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan when it comes from Belarus,” an EPAL official said.

“In addition to the technical regulations, EPAL licensees are obligated to comply with all legal provisions, including those of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR).”

Update on Russian timber entering global supply chains

Last month, Wood Central reported on the surge of Russian and Belarussian wood entering global supply chains.

According to the latest data obtained by Wood Central, 63.3% of Russian exports go through Chinese and Uzbekistanian supply chains.

Russia and China are strengthening economic ties. Footage courtesy of @CBCNews

New reports suggest that Russian birch plywood and other conflict timbers are being exported into America and other countries, including the UK, disguised as having originated in Vietnam, Asia, and China.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) says Russian birch plywood is being routed through Asia before being shipped to America. Most birch products exported from Vietnam to the United States originate in Russia.

Timber Development UK says it has discovered attempts to supply wood products to the UK under the guise of products from other countries.

Last month, Nick Boulton, TDUK’s Head of Technical and Trade, said.

“We would ask all our members to remain vigilant against any organisations offering to supply Birch Plywood to the UK from the Far East or countries like Turkey, Kazakhstan, or Kyrgyzstan.”

According to Lesprom Analytics, imports of wooden pallets to the European Union have dipped 3.5% year-on-year while the value of imports expanded 26% to $US529 million.

Ukraine’s share was 52.7% of the EU’s total wooden pallet imports for 2022, with second-ranked Belarus at 8.8% of total exports.

Last week Wood Central reported on the latest global wooden pallets – with Japan and South Korea accounting for 35% of the global pallet market.


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