Decoding Pallet and Crate Industry Terminology

Understanding key terms in the wood pallet and crate industry

Wood is the preferred material for packaging worldwide because of its high sustainability in manufacturing. For newcomers in the pallet and crate industry, it can be confusing to grasp unfamiliar terms. To assist you in this regard, we have created a list to enhance your understanding of the jargon used in the wood shipping industry.

What are wood pallets and other terms I should know?

48x40 4-way pallet
Example of 48×40 4-Way Pallet

Pallet – A flat platform used to support and ship a number of packages or pieces to facilitate handling by a forklift. Learn more about our wood pallet solutions. 

Two-Way Pallet – A pallet with fork openings at both opposite pallet ends. (two openings)

Four-Way Pallet – A pallet with fork openings on all four sides. (4 openings)

Skid – A pallet without bottom deck boards or deck.

Stringers– The stringers serve as support beams. They separate the top and bottom deck boards and run perpendicular to them. Stringers may be solid or notched to allow side entry by a forklift. The stringer dimension is always listed first when calling out a pallet size. Ex: 48×40 = The stringers are 48″ long.

Wing– Overhang of deck board end from outside edge of stringer or stringer board.

Deck, Deck Board – One or more boards that include the top or bottom surface of the pallet. The deck board dimension is always listed second when calling out a pallet size. Ex: 48×40 = The deck is 40″ wide.

Weight Capacity– The maximum weight a pallet can hold.

What are shipping crates?

Crate – A crate is a shipping container comprised of a base pallet plus sides made of wood used for storing or transporting goods. Often referred to as a wooden shipping crate or wooden box. Learn more about our shipping crates and boxes.

Crate Base – The platform portion of the crate. The crate base has similar characteristics and functions of a pallet.

Crate Sides – The four sides of the crate are typically referred to as the crate front, back and sides.

Crate Top – Most crates have a top panel that encloses the top section.

Removable Panels – Crates taller than 30″ typically have at least one removable side panel and removable top panel.

large crate with removable side and cover
Large Crate with Removable Side and Cover
Crate Dunnage – Lumber shipped loose in the crate (per customer request).

Crate Orientation – Providing proper orientation is important when ordering a crate. Dimensions should be listed in the following orientation. Crate Length x Crate Width x Crate Height.

What types of wood packaging materials are there?

Hardwood – Lumber from broad-leaved species of trees.

Softwood – Lumber from coniferous or needle-bearing species of trees.

Heat Treatment – Heat treatment signifies the materials and/or treatments for pallets traveling overseas so that the pallets are incapable of carrying invasive species of insects and plant diseases. Heat treatment is also referred to as ISPM 15 compliant governed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).

Food Grade Pallet  – A pallet that has been manufactured and stored correctly to ensure that no pests, soil, or particles are introduced into a customer’s production warehouse.

Recycled Pallet – A pallet that has been previously utilized, disposed of, salvaged, repaired, or reconstructed to undergo additional cycles of use.

What wood packaging and delivery terms should I know?

Truck towing a large roll crate

Pallet Design System – A computer-aided design (CAD) program based on reliability, used to determine the safe load capacity, performance, longevity, and cost-effectiveness of wooden pallets

Double or Triple Stacked – When loaded pallets are double or triple stacked in a customer’s warehouse.

Flatbed Trailer – A trailer without sides used to deliver pallets. Must be side-unloaded from the ground level (Not accessible from a dock).

Dock – Opening in a warehouse or building where a truck can back in to accommodate a van trailer delivery.

Van Trailer– A trailer with sides used to deliver pallets. Must be unloaded from a dock.

Trust the experts at Fox Valley Wood Products

As the premier manufacturer of wood packaging solutions in Wisconsin, our commitment to quality and service is unmatched. We deliver wooden packaging that protects products, whether shipped locally or globally. As a family-owned business, our hands-on approach ensures timely deliveries, custom configurations, and cost-effective solutions. Contact a packaging expert for your next shipping project.