Fake Europallets utilized by the air cargo industry can cause enormous damages, jeopardize business processes and become costly when detected. Currently, the pallet market is facing a price turmoil, reports the German newspaper PalettenReport. According to the online portal, monthly Europallet price changes tripled since the outbreak of Corona (https://paletten-report.de/palettenreport-abo/). This hike has motivated fraudsters to intensify their sales efforts for generating quick profits, hoping for the carelessness of buyers.
This situation did not go unnoticed in Belarus and Ukraine. A new category of pallet dealers emerged since the Russian war began. These individuals set up companies in the EU, springing up like mushrooms mostly in EU member state Poland, to look legit. How mostly Belarus but also Ukraine produced fake Europallets are getting into EU territory, without official control at borders, is nowhere recorded and can only be guessed. However, known is that the false and illegal products are promoted by mass mailings and postings on social media platforms. The result is that some of the faked load carrying bars are also utilized in air freight and loaded on board of aircraft. In contrast to certified pallets, they lack a stamp, imprint or identifier that clearly indicates their official registration, enabling controllers to trace their origin. Further to this, manufacturers of fake Europallets often use regular nails instead of screws of jagged nails to fasten the boards, making those pallets fragile when being moved by a forklift. This poses a risk particularly at highly frequented airports where loading processes have to be processed very fast. Due to the false (and cheap) nailing the pallets can break apart, which results in a mess and delays loading processes. The last thing cargo forwarders or ground handling agents need is another claim. Hence, saving money in the supply chain by buying fake Europallets is not a recommendable solution but under adverse circumstances could lead to disaster.
Fake pallets can torpedo business relations
The devastating consequences of the use of illegal pallets were demonstrated decades ago in western Canada. Larvae of a vermin originating from East Asia entered the country and spread rapidly through orchards. They were hidden in wooden pallets that had not been properly heated to kill the parasite. This was an alarming example for agricultural authorities worldwide. Since then, to protect their own ecosystems and prevent economic havoc, most countries mandate that only pallets or other wooden products are allowed to pass their borders that had been heat treated under certain temperatures before being shipped.
Violations of this rule can be expensive. Not only will there be fines when caught, but the goods piled on the pallet are destroyed or have to be returned to their sender. However, paying air freight twice doesn’t really up the margins! Therefore, if cargo pallets miss an authorization of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) their utilization can kill a business. Places like Australia have a dedicated hygiene department that controls wooden materials brought into the country and looks out very meticulously for hidden bugs. AQIS, which stands for Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, is known for not playing any games. Violators will have to pay for a 60-day lasting quarantine and should controllers detect infringements such as missing IPPC registration or grains of wheat in the pallets, the entire cargo will be dealt with.
Risk to life
It is paramount that wood for pallets has to come from safe forests, period. Pallets made from raw timber harvested in the radioactive infested exclusion zone around the former nuclear plant Chernobyl, be it in Belarus or Ukraine, are a danger to human life. Years ago, a family in Germany burned radioactive wood in their fireplace stemming from there. Investigation to their passing revealed they had unknowingly bought contaminated timber. A tragic lesson learned, that should not be repeated on grounds of unawareness or trust in products offered by low-cost suppliers. Criminals who sell fake pallets made of questionable sources of wood risk lives. To appear legal, shady businessmen from Belarus establish companies in the EU, rent virtual offices and promote themselves as true EU companies. This is happening quite often.
This does not mean that every eastern European pallet producer or dealer is under general suspicion, but customers should perform their due diligence before they enter a business transaction.
One final remark: the current high price policy motivated many customers to look for alternative pallet sources. To be on the safe side it is recommendable that every user should have different pallet suppliers on hand, some domestic, some international. For specifics please visiting: https://paletten-report.de/palettenausschreibungen/
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