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Types of Shipping Containers

Shippijng crate e-shot image

Choosing the right shipping crate or shipping box can save your business money and improve its sustainability credentials but could also provide practical improvements to your supply chain.


At PALLITE® Group, we believe there are very few packaging problems that can’t be solved with paper – or at least with the products we make from it.


Our paper honeycomb cardboard shipping boxes are strong enough to replace wooden shipping crates in the majority of applications. They’re also lightweight and clean like plastic shipping crates, contributing to vastly reduced transport costs. Finally, they are a sustainable replacement for both.


Types of containers for shipping


Shipping containers (also known as: shipping crates, pallet boxes or shipping boxes) are typically made from one of three materials: wood, plastic, or cardboard.


Wooden shipping crates

Wooden shipping crates are very strong and can be used over and over again without losing that strength. They are relatively low cost, meaning that they have become a popular shipping container choice for many businesses, particularly for transporting heavy, large or awkwardly shaped products long distances. However, wooden shipping containers are increasingly being phased out for cheaper and more sustainable alternatives like the PALLITE® cardboard shipping crate. Relatively recent legislative requirements under ISPM 15 that require wooden shipping crates used in international shipping to be made from virgin wood that has been heat or chemically treated have made them more expensive, while the rising cost and recent lower availability of virgin wood hasn’t helped.


Plastic shipping crates

Designed as a lighter weight, cleaner alternative to wooden shipping crates, plastic shipping boxes became the go-to for businesses in the likes of food and pharmaceutics, where product contamination was an issue. But plastics have fallen out of favour due to their poor environmental credentials: producing plastics uses finite natural resources like oil and gas, and pollutes the atmosphere with harmful emissions. At the end of their life, most plastics end up in landfill. Options for recycling plastic products are very limited, and plastic shipping crates do not biodegrade. This makes plastic shipping crates a no-go for the socially and environmentally conscious organisation, and increasingly unappealing for financially savvy businesses with an eye on the future direction of travel for legislature and consumer demand.


Cardboard shipping boxes

Cardboard shipping boxes are the lightest type of shipping container, contributing to overall lighter loads that use less fuel and result in lower shipping costs and carbon emissions. With a lower moisture content, they are a cleaner alternative to wood that can be used in food and pharmaceuticals applications without fear of causing product contamination. They are also exempt from ISPM 15 regulations, which only apply to the use of wooden shipping crates. One drawback of cardboard boxes for shipping can be that traditional corrugate is not as strong as wood or plastic for transporting heavy loads. However, the PALLITE® shipping crate solves this issue…


The PALLITE® shipping crate: Strong, lightweight and sustainable


PALLITE® shipping crates are made from our signature paper honeycomb cardboard that is pound-for-pound stronger than steel. A standard PALLITE® shipping crate weighs from just 12.4kg, making it an incredible up to 83% lighter than the equivalent wooden shipping crate. And yet, PALLITE® shipping crates can safely transport up to 750kg in load, and stack up to 500kg.


Lightweight, super strong and clean, they contain no nails, screws or other fixings likely to snag on clothes or skin, and are made from a material that does not splinter.


Exempt from ISPM 15 regulations governing the international use of wooden shipping crates, they come with a choice of 15mm or 25mm thick protective walls as standard – although bespoke designs are an option.


The PALLITE® shipping crate can be cost-effectively right-sized to maximise the use of space in lorries and containers, reducing the amount of empty space per shipment, improving profit margins.


Made from layers of responsibly-sourced recycled paper sandwiched around a paper honeycomb structure and sealed with PVA glue, our paper board is 100% recyclable after use, and completely and safely biodegradable in the event it is mistakenly sent to landfill.


Using a sustainable raw material and employing environmentally conscious design allows us to offer businesses a truly sustainable alternative to wooden and plastic shipping containers that results in ongoing environmental savings during use.


The best type of container for shipping


The type of shipping container you choose to transport your products determines not only the likelihood of those products reaching their destination, undamaged and without contamination, but also:


  • How much product you can transport at any one time
  • How much it costs you per shipment
  • The impact on the environment of each shipment.


Making the right choice not only sets your business apart as a responsible one, but could boost your bottom line.


Shipping container inserts


Finally, don’t forget that it doesn’t just matter what type of shipping crate or other shipping container you use – it’s also what’s inside that counts.


Your product is your product, but the packaging materials you use to wrap or cushion it inside a shipping crate can – like the shipping crate itself – be optimised to save you money and to contribute towards a healthier planet for us all.


At PALLITE® Group, we offer a sustainable solution for this too.


EcoLITE® is our range of plastic-free protective interior packaging. Employing the same honeycomb technology for enhanced protection and cushioning as you would find in all our products, and made from the same responsibly-sourced recycled paper and biodegradable PVA glue, it can be formed into carton liners, void fill and bespoke inserts – whatever you need to ensure your products stay safe and secure inside their shipping container throughout their entire journey.

EcoLITE range, no background.


Find out more about the EcoLITE® range

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