Pallet Rental and Hire Providers - International Survey

Rick LeBlanc, licensed to About.com

Since the earliest offerings in the years immediately following the Second World War, pallet rental (or pallet hire in some countries) continues to grow in importance, predominantly for the consumer goods supply chain, around the world. This article provides an introduction to some of the major pallet rental providers around the world.

CHEP

CHEP, a Brambles company, first began business as the Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool back in 1946, an enterprise created to make use of surplus pallets, forklifts and other equipment left behind by the U.S. military at the end of the Second World War.

CHEP has continued to grow, easily maintaining its position as the global industry leader.

As the global leader in managed, returnable and reusable packaging solutions, CHEP serves many of the world's largest companies in sectors such as dry grocery products, fresh produce, beverage and automotive. CHEP's value proposition is one of enhanced environmental sustainability and increased efficiency for customers while reducing operating risk and product damage. This is achieved by offering high quality, durable pallets and containers to customers on a "pay-per-use" basis. The company employs over 7,500- plus people in the operation of its pool of 300 million pallets and containers, delivering value at 500,000 customer touch-points in 49 countries. Our customer brands include Procter & Gamble, Sysco, Kellogg's, Kraft, Nestlé, Ford and GM. CHEP pallets are a distinctive blue color.

iGPS

iGPS was launched during the first decade of the 2000s as the first major plastic pallet rental provider while additionally offering RFID tags as a standard feature.

A smaller European cooperative pool, Svenska Retursystem, offered a smaller scale RFID-enhanced plastic pallet rental program dating a few years earlier. iGPS enjoyed an enthusiastic response from the marketplace and rapid market growth, but a handful of issues related to pallet availability and flame retardant legislation resulted in financial problems and the sale of the company, resulting in a new iGPS (Read my story here.) iGPS pallets are black with white branding.

PECO Pallet

PECO began in the mid-1990s, based on an original concept of Denton and Pat Sherry of Nepa Pallet in Washington state. It was initially conceived as a pallet rental company to be owned by pallet companies, thus giving them better access to pallet sales and depot work that increasingly was being controlled by CHEP as pallet rental continued to rapidly expand in the U.S. PECO has enjoyed a slow growth strategy, and has recently benefited from additional growth in part from Costco's decision to no longer accept stringer style pallets in its operations. In 2010 PECO was acquired by Pritzker Group, providing additional financial strength to support growth objectives. (Read one report here.) PECO pallets are painted red.

Loscam

Loscam, which like CHEP began its pallet business in 1946, has long held the number two position in the Australian pallet hire market. In recent years in has turned its focus to several Asian countries, following several of its key Australian customers into the region to support the development of modern logistics infrastructure through its pallet hire program. Across the world, the rise of new economies has driven the need for modern logistics systems, including pallet rental provision.

Loscam was given a huge boost in financial potential with its acquisition by the China Merchants Group. Loscam pallets are painted red in Australia while the Asian block pallets are painted yellow. It recently announced that it would also paint its Asian pallets red, in order to standardize globally.

IPP Logipal (Pooling Partners)

Logipal was the creation of French pallet analyst and businessman Jean de Vulliod, operator of the www.planetpal.net website. Now owned by the Faber Halbertsma Group, both Logipal and LPR contest for the number two position in the European region behind CHEP. Logipal pallets are painted a "brick" or terra cotta color. FBH recently rebranded its pooling schemes, including Logipal, as "Pooling Partners."

LPR

La Palette Rouge is the other major pallet rental provider in Europe.

It has been recently acquired by the European cooperative container pooling organization, Euro Pool System. LPR, like other major European pallet rental companies, has enjoyed sustained growth in recent years, as pallet rental makes inroads among euro pallet or EPAL users. LPR achieved a record sales turnover of 154 million Euros in 2014.

There are a number of other pallet rental providers of smaller or more specialized businesses. These will be reviewed in a future article.