The Problem with Pallets
This story begins when the flowers arrive at Miami International Airport. The flowers are stacked on Jet pallets, which are large metal sheets that hold about 150 full boxes? Now the lowly pallet, a simple collection of boards nailed together, begins its importance in the commercial flower business.
The Jet pallets are off loaded to these wooden pallets which are provided by the airlines, which operate on the long accepted, one in, one out, exchange policy. So importers and logistics companies are the next ones to have to maintain a pallet inventory.
Once the flowers are ready for distribution they are shuttled off on these mighty pallets to the trucking companies where things have changed a bit recently. The carriers have always worked on the same, one in and one out, policy but “Florida Beauty Flora” a large floral carrier here in Miami has decided to stop giving them back.
The other carriers are no doubt eager to join them since the problem with pallets is that they end up costing a lot of money over a year.
A new 40×48 wooden pallet cost $12 and used about $5 and a semi truck holds 24.
Therefore an importer delivering a truck load of flower is out about $200. a cost they will need to absorb or pass on. Neither option is desirable However, after a closer look at the cost of maintaining a pallet inventory is perhaps not worth the cost of the pallets themselves.
Pallets just don’t last long enough to invest the time to get them back. Even if the carriers offer an exchange policy, the importers have to often go back after peak delivery time to collect them. So now a truck and a driver are required to pick up pallets all over town with little guarantees that they are all good useable pallets.
Like a hot potato everyone tries to pass off the bad pallets to the next one in the supply chain.
The bottom line is that in most cases when commodities are shipped on pallets, the pallet is tendered as part of the shipment. Obviously carriers have found it easier and more efficient to load on pallets so the story continues as these many hundreds of pallets head up the highways to all parts of North America every day. The funny part is that most recipients of these pallets. Wholesaler florist and chain stores don’t know what to do with all of them and in fact are often a financial burden to dispose of.
The obvious thought of gathering them up and bringing back to Miami with the same trucks just does not work out 95% of the time.
But I do hear that they make great firewood or creative patio furniture.
Remember to wear your sunscreen Miami is Hot!