The use of pallets to affect deliveries is now commonplace to any address where forklift handling facilities are available. The need to drive down distribution costs will ensure that this trend will continue.
Until the 1960's it was commonplace to see vehicles being unloaded by manual labor at commercial premises with loose boxes and cases being transferred to warehouses using sack trucks or similar devices. The first widespread use of pallets originated in America on the Amtrak system and the concept quickly spread to Europe spurred on by the advent of containerization in the shipping trades.
The concept was vastly enhanced when the International Standards Organization involved in transport matters encouraged industry to adopt standard pallet bases of either 80 x 120 or 100 x 120cms. With these standards, warehouses could be constructed with racking to maximize the utilization of space.
Concurrent with the increase in the use of pallets was the development of forklift trucks with greater flexibility of movement and improved fuel efficiency. In particular, the introduction of LP gas and electric battery operated trucks improved their suitability for operating within enclosed environments.
Complete supply chains now rely on the use of pallets to effect deliveries. A good example of their cost-effectiveness is their use within the supermarket industry where the delivery driver will use the forklift truck on-site not only to unload the pallets from the vehicle but also to place them in the appropriate warehouse rack.