Guidelines for Consignments on Pallets

Individual items weighing 70 kg or above must be palletised for added stability and to ensure your goods are protected.

Your local TNT customer service centre will be glad to provide you with details of the maximum item weights and destinations allowed when using our premium services.  Call you local TNT representative for further details.

To ensure safe transportation of your palletised consignments please follow these guidelines:

A low portable platform made of wood, plastic, metal, fibreboard or a combination of these materials that is elevated to allow handling by a forklift truck or pallet jack.






Pallets The platform must elevate the entire load at least 15 cm from the ground.




Pallets European (Euro-size) standard pallets are 120 cm long, 80 cm wide and 15 cm high. The maximum weight that can be safely carried on a Euro-sized pallet is 1,000 kg and the maximum height is not to exceed 180 cm.

Corrugated Pallets
Many companies are now turning to corrugated pallets, as they are acceptable for carrying air freight shipments and can be as effective as wooden pallets. In many cases corrugated pallets are lighter and easier to recycle. Corrugated materials are susceptible to loss of strength in wet conditions unless specially constructed with water repellent materials however. This type of construction is necessary in most cases. Please make sure you are aware of the conditions the pallet will experience in transit and discuss with your supplier before purchasing.

Pallets When building a pallet use the method that will best ensure stability and strength. Boxes should be stacked directly on top of each other, as this will give the maximum strength to the completed pallet.


 Boxes should only be stacked overlapping each other (bricklayer method) when individual boxes and their contents form a rigid unit. 

Pallets Pyramid shaped pallet loads are one of the biggest problems faced by TNT Express, as the lack of a level surface weakens the overall packaging and may expose the contents to damage from other shipments.


Pallets Boxes that overhang the edge of the pallet are also prone to damage. This method of stacking is not good practice, as the top-to-bottom compression strength of the load will be reduced.


The use of crates is an ideal approach to protect your shipment from damage and potential losses. The design of crates and materials used to construct them are key factors to be addressed in order to realise these benefits. The crate will only be as good as its weakest part, and the design of the corners is critical.


Crate construction

Crates have differing relative strengths as shipment weights increase. This means that the design and the materials used in constructing a crate must take into account the weight of the items to be carried in the container.




Pallets Overpacking
Overpacking surrounds the items with a protective layer, in a similar way to crating. Examples come in various forms, and can be tailored to the customer’s requirements. Advantages include reductions in pilferage and damage.




Pallets Dunnage
If boxes are not entirely filled, they will quickly crumple under the weight of other shipments on the pallet. A box should be expected to support four to five times its own weight. Empty spaces within boxes reduce stacking strength, lead to damage and make the pallet unstable. At the point of sealing, ensure boxes have all empty space back-filled with a suitable cushioning material, such as foam or corrugated cardboard.


Long objects
Long objects require special packaging to prevent flexing and bending during transit. Please consider using reinforced tubing, rigid corrugated cardboard or wooden supports. A quick check to ascertain rigidity is to lift up the object in the middle and observe how much flexing occurs. Reinforcement is required if flexing is excessive. Please also refer to our service guide to see details of any limitation on the length of an object that can be carried by TNT.


Pallets Securing Drums to Pallets
Liquid filled drums can be very heavy and care must be taken not to exceed the pallet weight capacity.





Maximum kg



Pallets - Corrugated Sheet Corrugated Sheet
Must be between drum and pallet decking. Any piece of corrugated sheet must not be smaller than the base of one drum. Corrugated sheet reduces wear and punctures caused by decking fasteners.


Pallets - Corrugated Sheet 



Pallets - Interface material Interface Material
Is used around and between the drums and should be something the strapping can dig into, such as wood or heavy paperboard.  This prevents steel-on-steel contact and slipping, and spreads the force exerted by the strapping.


Pallets - Loading the drums Loading The Drums
Do not allow overhang of drums at the pallet edge. Keep the load as close as possible to the centre of the pallet. Multiple drums must be bundled tightly together. Use the least amount of pallet surface area as possible.

Steel strapping is preferred due to its low elasticity. Strap multiple drums together first to create one unit, which is easier to secure. Use an interface material under the strapping and drum to distribute the load and prevent slipping. Keep strapping as close to the drum sides as possible to limit shifting of the load and protect from damage. Please consider running the strapping between deck boards instead of out to the edge of the pallet.

Pallets - Strapping 

Pipes should be secured to a wood pallet with appropriate blocking protection. These types of shipments require special packaging to prevent the product from puncturing or damaging vehicles, aircraft or other shipments during transportation. Examples include, but are not limited to: pipes, rods, tubing, automotive exhaust components.

Pallets - Bundle Bundle:
Two or more items secured together. Bundling increases the integrity of the load and can reduce loss and damage in the event the load becomes separated from the pallet during transportation.


Pallets - Blocking materials Blocking materials:
Used in packing and loading to ensure items remain fixed during transit by bracing the items against the pallet.


Pallets - Securing Securing:
Use strapping material to secure the bundled items to the pallet.


Securing Spools and Reels
Spools and reels can shift during transportation due to their shape. Spools and reels are also hard to lift without mechanical assistance. These items must travel in a certain position (on their side or facing forward) and due to weight and safety considerations must be secured at all times. It is for these reasons that spools and reels must always be secured to a pallet for transportation.

Pallets - Securing Spools and Reels Blocking:
Should be placed tightly against the object being secured to prevent any movement.
Nails, screws or staples should be used to secure the blocking and item to the pallet.
Steel strapping is preferred over plastic and should be applied where it is not exposed to damage during transportation. The strapping will ensure that the items do not break free from the blocking.