A forklift truck transporting a securely loaded pallet across the warehouse floor

Packing Your Pallet: How to Load a Pallet with Boxes

Your pallet will be handled at least six times during transit with a pallet network.

Knowing how to correctly load and pack goods onto the pallet will ensure it can move safely through our network.

Unstable goods can cause a pallet to shed its load or topple over, so having a well-prepared pallet reduces the risk of your consignment being damaged on route.

The Pallet-Track checklist for loading a pallet

Correct freight presentation is essential to the safe and efficient running of our network.

Palletised freight cannot be collected if the pallet is not correctly prepared and presented.

Please note that all goods handled by Pallet-Track must be loaded onto a standard UK pallet.

How to prepare a pallet

  • Check the integrity of the pallet – the pallet should not be damaged or have protruding nails
  • Make sure goods are structurally sound and correctly packaged for transportation
  • Evenly distribute goods and weight on the pallet
  • Ensure the weight does not exceed 1200kg
  • Securely band freight to the pallet
  • The consignment is ready to be stretch wrapped – read our tips on pallet wrapping

How to stack boxes on a pallet safely

Before you begin stacking goods on your pallet, check that all boxes are structurally sound and suitable for transportation. Their contents should be well packed and unable to move.

A large, irregular load is securely banded band wrapped on a pallet Fragile freight securely wrapped on a pallet and marked with 'do not stack' cone Boxes of goods neatly loaded on a pallet in a warehouse

To safely stack boxes on the pallet, follow these steps:

  • Weight should always be evenly distributed– keep this in mind when stacking goods on the pallet
  • Line up boxes with the edge of the pallet
  • Place goods as close together as possible to reduce movement during transit
  • Place larger or heavier items at the bottom
  • Smaller or lighter goods should be positioned on top of heavy goods
  • Cardboard can be used between layers to help stabilise the load
  • Anti-slip sheets can be used between layers to prevent movement
  • Goods must not overhang the pallet
  • Cardboard edge protectors can be used to protect goods and strengthen the load
  • Highlight fragile freight or freight that requires extra care by using fragile packaging tape and ‘do not stack’ cones

Key pallet stacking methods:

Column stacking – boxes are placed directly on top of each other. This method is only recommended where there is no risk of goods or boxes falling over.

Interlock stacking – recommended for high density loads, boxes overlap so that multiple boxes support the one above

How high can you pack a pallet?

The maximum height goods can be packed on a pallet that is handled by Pallet-Track is 220cm – including the height of the pallet itself.

Pallet height is dependent on the size of the consignment:

  • Full pallet 220cm
  • Half pallet 200cm
  • Quarter pallet 60cm

View our guide to pallet sizes for more information on dimensions.

What is the maximum weight for a pallet?

The maximum weight of a pallet that is handled by the Pallet-Track network is 1200kg – including the contents of the pallet and the pallet itself.

Weight limits are dependent on the size of the consignment:

  • Quarter pallet 200kg
  • Half pallet 500kg
  • Full and oversized pallets 1200kg

View our guide to pallet sizes for more information on weight limits.

Quarter pallet size in inches Half size pallet Full size palletOversized pallet

How to secure items to a pallet

Once items are safely stacked and aligned, they must be secured to the pallet with banding or strapping to prevent movement during transit.

Pallets are handled at least six times during the pallet distribution process, so any movement of goods could loosen the stretch wrap and reduce the stability of the load.

Recommended materials for securing items to a pallet:

  • Ratchet straps, steel strapping, polyester – for strong banding
  • Paper binding, polypropylene, corded polyester – for light to medium banding

How to minimise the movement of goods on the pallet:

  • Use straps to secure goods to the pallet
  • Straps should be looped through the underside of the pallet
  • Multiple straps should be used to evenly secure goods to the pallet
  • We recommend using four straps – two horizontally and two vertically
  • Goods should not overhang the sides of the pallet

Poorly packed goods on a pallet are leaning over, posing a potential hazard A tall box on a pallet which does not have enough banding to secure it Image shows a badly loaded pallet with goods stacked unevenly and unsecured

Tips for packing irregular loads on a pallet

Looking for help with preparing an unusual or irregular load? Follow our top tips on packing a pallet.

  • Aim to reduce the movement of goods
  • Where possible, pack oddly-shaped goods in boxes before securing to the pallet
  • If goods cannot be boxed, use extra packaging and wrapping
  • Fragile items should be placed in the centre of the pallet
  • Cover sharp or uneven edges with heavy duty packaging, e.g. bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard
  • Use extra strapping or banding to secure goods to the pallet

 

Now your pallet is correctly loaded with goods, follow our advice on how to wrap and label a pallet.

Alternatively, get a quote to send a pallet or find out more about kerbside delivery.