Decoding Pallet and Crate Industry Terminology

Understanding key terms in the wood pallet and crate industry

Wood is the preferred packaging material globally due to its most sustainable manufacturing materials. If you’re new to the pallet and crate industry, it can be a challenge to make sense of words you’ve likely never heard before. To help, we’ve compiled a list to help you better understand the wood shipping industry chatter.

What are wood pallets and other terms I should know?

48x40 4-way pallet

Example of 48×40 4-Way Pallet

Pallet – A platform without sides, on which a number of packages or pieces may be loaded to facilitate handling by a forklift. Learn more about our wood pallet solutions. 

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

Four-Way Pallet – A pallet with four fork openings at both opposite pallet ends and sides.

Skid – A pallet without bottom deck boards or deck.

Stringers– The stringers act 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 or panels 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 – Wood from broad-leaved species of trees (not necessarily hard or dense).

Softwood – Wood from coniferous or needle-bearing species of trees (not necessarily soft in texture or of low density).

Heat Treatment – Heat treatment specifies the materials and/or treatments for pallets traveling internationally so that the pallets are incapable of being a carrier of 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 properly manufactured and stored in a manner such that no bugs, dirt, or debris are brought into a customer’s production warehouse.

Recycled Pallet – A pallet that has been used, discarded, salvaged, repaired, or rebuilt to pass through another cycle or cycles of use.

What wood packaging and delivery terms should I know?

Truck towing a large roll crate

Pallet Design System – Reliability-based computer-aided design (CAD) program, for determining the safe load carrying capacity, performance, life and economy 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.