How to Ship a Pallet of Freight

Sep 9, 2022

When it comes to shipping cargo, palletized shipping is one of the safest and most popular methods. It ensures your goods arrive safely and in good nick and is a cost-effective option for businesses big and small. In this guide, we look at all things palletized freight, including how to ship a pallet of freight and a breakdown of freight pallet costs via air, road, and sea transportation methods. 

What is Palletized Freight?

A pallet is a flat structure used to store or ship freight. The process of piling cargo packages on top of a pallet is known as palletizing

It’s regarded as one of the safest ways to transport goods as it secures cargo in place and minimises overhandling, which in turn prevents damage and losses. 

In traditional order fulfilment, 3PL warehouses pick up one or more items, box the order, and ship it to the customer. In the case of palletized shipping, multiple products or cases are loaded onto pallets and secured for bulk shipping. 

Palletized shipping is usually required for freight that is too bulky to be transported via regular carrier services. 

How to Ship a Pallet of Freight

So, how do you ship a pallet of freight?

Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to take to get your pallet ready for shipping. 

Step 1: Choose Pallet Type

Firstly, you’ll need to choose a type of pallet to load your freight onto.  

Start by setting a budget and note whether your freight is light or heavy. These factors will help to guide your choice.

There are three types of pallets commonly used in shipping, each with its pros and cons. 

Wooden pallets are made from plywood, presswood, or standard timber. They are cost-effective, very easy to repair, and are also environmentally friendly. However, wooden pallets are not as durable as other pallet types, so you may incur costs down the line if you need to repair them. 

Metal pallets are more durable than wooden pallets, so they’re better suited to heavier cargo consignments. They can also withstand the natural elements without rotting, which wooden pallets cannot do. However, they’re also more expensive and difficult to repair. 

Plastic pallets are durable, lightweight, and will not become contaminated by moisture or bacteria like wooden pallets. They’re much cheaper than metal pallets but can be expensive to repair and can’t be recycled. 

Step 2: Choose Pallet Size

The pallet size required will depend on what you’re shipping, where it’s going, and how you plan to load and unload the cargo. 

Generally, businesses in the same industry use the same pallet size because the size of packages tend to be consistent across the board. 

We’ll take a closer look at pallet dimensions and their costs below. 

Step 3 : Decide Whether You Need a LTL or FLT Mode of Transport

Palletizing can be shipped via FTL or LTL shipping.

FTL refers to full truckload shipping. For FTL shipping, your business fills the entire container storage capacity. 

This is usually a cheaper and more time-effective option, as your items are shipped in bulk and you’re working on the one schedule. 

An FTL truck fits 26 to 30 pallets, so you would need to ship that many pallets to justify going with an FTL shipment. 

LTL refers to less than truckload shipping. Freight is typically considered less than truckload if it consists of one to six pallets

For LTL shipping, you will share the truckload space with other businesses. 

If you need to ship one to six pallets, LTL shipping would be the right choice for you. 

The downside is that because the container is made up of multiple smaller shipments, every company with freight on board can expect longer transit times. 

Step 3: Prepare Pallets for Shipping

Next, you’ll need to prepare your pallets for shipping. This involves several steps.

  1. Pack products in individual cartons
  2. Use bubble wrap and foam for cushioning, making sure the boxes are filled completely
  3. Use good-quality tape to seal up the boxes
  4. Stack the boxes, from heaviest on the bottom to lightest on the top
  5. Distribute the weight of the boxes on the pallet
  6. Make sure the pallet isn’t piled too high or leaning one way
  7. Use flat, empty cardboard every few rows to balance out the cargo
  8. Use corner beads to fill the edges of the pallet
  9. Use shrink wrap to seal the pallet, making sure the shrink wrap adheres to the cargo. Wrap the entire pallet at least three times. 
  10. Label each pallet with the address and phone number of the shipper and receiver. Include the zip code of both parties. 

Step 4: Book Your Freight Courier 

Lastly, you’ll need to send your pallets off for shipping.

You can quote, book and track your pallet with Couriers & Freight Pallet Couriers Services. We offer door-to-door same day shipping, as well as overnight, express, and general courier services. 

We will also be able to offer you advice on which mode of transport will be most cost-effective and efficient for you. 

How Much is it to Ship a Pallet Of Freight?

There are a number of factors that come into play when determining how much it will cost to ship a pallet of freight. 

  • Size: The size of the pallet is the first thing to consider. Pallets are generally used for cargo larger than 2.4m x 1.2m x 1.5m. The larger the cargo, the more expensive it will be to ship. 
  • Distance: The further your shipment needs to travel, the more expensive it will be to ship. For example, domestic air freight is cheaper than international air freight because domestic aircrafts are smaller and use less fuel.
  • Delivery Time Requirements: If you need to ship urgently, your pallet freight quote will increase. This also depends on the mode of transport you’re using. Prioritising a particular pallet’s delivery can disrupt the schedule of other shipments, hence why it is more expensive. 
  • Type of Transportation: Road freight is the cheapest option and the only way to send freight to rural areas. However, trucks cannot ship high quantities of cargo. Air freight is quicker but much more expensive. Sea freight is generally cheaper than air freight and best for shipping very large quantities, but will take much longer. 

Let’s take a look at rough cost estimates of each transportation mode. 

Air Freight Pallet Cost

Transporting via air is the most time-effective but expensive option. 

It’s incredibly efficient because airlines operate on strict time schedules with designated arrival and departure times. 

Air freight is also a safer option for your cargo, as there tends to be less handling of goods during transit and there are specific cargo safety rules enforced at airports. 

However, aircrafts are expensive to operate and fuel prices are on the rise, so it’s also the most costly way to ship pallets (especially if you’re shipping internationally). 

The exact cost will depend on the type of cargo being shipped and its dimensions, but you can expect to pay between $2 and $8 per kg. 

Air Freight Pallet Dimensions

Type Dimensions L x H x W (cm) Tare Weight
PLA Half Pallet 317.5 x 162.6 x 153.4 91kg
PMC/P6P Pallet 317.5 x 162.6-299.7 x 243.8 120kg
PNA Half Pallet 243.8 x 162.6 x 162.6 83kg
LD-7 317.5 x 162.6 x 223.5 105kg
LD-7 (Angled Wings) 317.5 x 162.6 x 223.5 x 398.8 (length longer) 170kg
LD-7 (Folding Wings) 317.5 x 162.6 x 223.5 x 398.8 (length longer) 152kg
M-6 605.8 x 243.8 x 243.8 500kg
M-6 (118”H) 605.8 x 299.7 x 243.8 500kg
MDP 317.5 x 162.6 x 153.4 410kg

Sea Freight Pallet Cost

Sea freight is most commonly used to ship huge quantities of cargo.

It’s a cost-effective option that allows you to move large amounts of goods, or large sized goods, internationally. However, you can expect lengthy delivery times.

Shipping sea freight pallets can cost between $2 and $4 per kg.

Road Freight Pallet Cost

Road freight is the cheapest way to ship freight and allows you to ship to rural areas, where other types of freight shipping cannot.

You can expect to wait longer for road freight deliveries than air freight deliveries.

Road freight costs vary significantly depending on distance, delivery requirements, and the cargo onboard.

You can use our freight quote calculator to get an idea of how much your road freight pallet will cost.

How Big is a Sea Freight Pallet/Road Freight Pallet?

Type (ISO Standard) Dimensions (mm) Pallets Per 20 Foot Container Pallets Per 40 Foot Container
Worldwide shipping of chemicals/minerals/raw plastic 1300 x 1100 10 21
EUR Pallets 1200 x 800 11 24
Australia Pallets 1165 x 1165 10 21
North America & South America 1219 x 1016 10 20
New Zealand 1200 x 1000 10-11 20-21

Shipping Pallet Freight Interstate

At Couriers & Freight, we use a system that allows you to bring your own interstate courier services providers onboard, as well as connect with our network of over 60 road freight companies across Australia.

Our pallet-freight shipping services for interstate delivery include:

  • Economy Road: For non-urgent interstate freight.
  • Road Express: For urgent freight movements to be delivered by a certain day.
  • Sensitive Road Express: For freight that requires more care with tail lift pick-up or delivery on a particular day.
  • Technology Express Premium: Full service for premium goods, including tail-lift delivery, two-day teams, and a white glove approach.

Get Your Pallet Freight Quote with Couriers & Freight

Now that you know how to ship a pallet of freight, it’s time to get planning.

You can use our pallet courier quote tool to find the right shipping solution for you.

Have a question for us? We’re here to help! Get in touch with all of your freight and pallet shipping queries.

robert lynch headshot

Robert Lynch

Founder of Australia’s largest outside hire company Couriers & Freight, Robert Lynch is a seasoned business leader in the shipping industry with over 20 years of experience. His expertise spans from outside hire, taxi truck, and last-mile services to freight management, freight forwarding and warehousing. 

Robert has also incorporated technology into his business through custom software to enhance growth and efficiency. Robert is a valuable resource for business owners looking to improve their logistics operations.

Connect with Robert Lynch on LinkedIn.

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