Australia’s supply chain has experienced many challenges over the last couple of years, feeling the effects of COVID-19, container shortages, rising rates, MUA strikes and port closures and now there are concerns that a shortage of wooden delivery pallets will be added to the list of raw material shortages within Australia.
These pallets are often overlooked but hold an important key function within the supply chain as they are used to hold stock and are designed to be easily moved to and around warehouses and into stores. Different industries are required to use specific pallets based on the specifications outlined by their industry government body. For example, the Grocery Manufacturers Association states that a GMA pallet should be a 48” by 40” block pallet and different pallets are often identifiable by colour.
Due to the pressures COVID-19 and recent lockdowns and timber shortages has placed on the supply chain throughout Australia, many of these pallets are already in use and new ones aren’t being produced. With Australian supermarkets and retailers feeling the pressure of the surging consumer demand leading up to Christmas, the Australian Food and Grocery Council have established a ‘pallet task force’ designed to help get more pallets back in circulation and avoid empty shelves throughout the festive period.
With this latest challenge being deemed the ‘pallet-gate’, businesses have been found looking to hold on to pallets rather than recycling them within the supply chain. But without pallets, manufacturers cannot ship goods into the warehouses, which then leads to stoppages in the production and sale of goods.
While this situation may not be particularly ideal, it shows good signs of recovery within Australia and while concerns are rising, businesses are still confident. As things are usually quieting down in January this should allow time for trade to recover and to move back into our new normal.