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Exhibiting at IMHX 2022

Stand 5F95

Ahead of IMHX 2022, Bernd Doerre - CEO of European Pallet Association e.V., chatted to us about all things IMHX, new product launches, sustainability and key market trends to watch out for.

To learn more about EPAL UK, visit them at IMHX 2022 or head over to the EPAL website.

The outlook for the industry in 2022 is fundamentally positive.  

Of course, the year will be characterised by some of the challenges that we encountered in 2021. These include a shortage of staff in the logistics sector, generally lower availability of wood and price increases for energy, wood and other raw materials. However, despite these challenges manufacturers of new EPAL Euro pallets and the suppliers of used EPAL Euro pallets can meet the growing demand of users from industry, trade and logistics during the year. 

With the end of the Covid-19 pandemic hopefully in sight, there is the expectation that there will be growth in the economy and, specifically, the logistics sector, which will in turn lead to a further increase in demand for EPAL Euro pallets.  

In the past, EPAL Euro pallet production figures have always proved to be a reliable indicator of general economic development. The fact that more than 100 million EPAL Euro pallets – a record - were produced in 2021 is therefore a positive signal for an upturn in the economy and the industry. 

The significant increase in the price of wood and wood packaging has led users to realise that reusing pallets is an effective way to avoid or limit cost increases. We regularly receive requests to add further wooden packaging types in the EPAL open exchange pool, to make reuse and exchange even easier. 

EPAL is currently planning to integrate pallet collars into the open EPAL exchange pool. Pallet collar frames are an ideal addition to EPAL Euro pallets. We are planning to regulate the quality requirements on an international basis, to ensure the frequent reuse and international exchangeability of pallet collars. 

Well, the EPAL open exchange pool has constituted a sustainability initiative for more than 30 years. The use of sustainably sourced wood; the reuse and exchange of the pallets; and the low energy input needed for the production, repair and recycling of EPAL pallets combine to make a sustainable and responsible operation overall. 

One of the most important parts of sustainable logistics is the circular economy and the principles of "reuse, repair, recycle". These are among the fundamentals of the EPAL open exchange pool.  

The internationally standardised quality of EPAL Euro pallets ensures a long service life. If the pallet is damaged during use, a high-quality repair is carried out in EPAL's repair facilities – and the repaired pallet specified as ‘as new’ - so that EPAL Euro pallets can be used time and time again. If repair is no longer viable, the EPAL Euro pallet is completely recycled. 

EPAL's sustainability initiative is to further expand the EPAL open exchange pool and to attract even more companies to participate in the exchange of EPAL Euro pallets. The denser the network of companies that use exchangeable EPAL Euro pallets, the shorter the transport routes. This not only saves costs, but also reduces carbon emissions.  

The wood from which EPAL Euro pallets are made stores carbon, which means that using EPAL Euro pallets and the EPAL open exchange pool has a positive effect on a company's own carbon footprint. Participation in the EPAL open exchange pool, therefore, becomes a part of every company’s own sustainability initiative. 

Sustainability and digitalisation will undoubtedly be the defining issues of the coming years and will lead to a necessary disruption of established processes in many places. Sustainability and digitalisation and the resulting changes in logistics processes already offer great potential and opportunities. Combined, they can give rise to a new era in logistics. 

Particularly in the area of the circular economy, the progress of digitalization and the use of artificial intelligence will open up new possibilities. This has been an area of focus in the EPAL Innovation Lab since 2018, where we are planning the next big step in the digitalisation of the open EPAL exchange pool, with the serialisation of all new EPAL load carriers. The digital registration of serialised EPAL Euro pallets means it will soon be even easier to determine the location of goods and pallets and to identify, exchange and use pallet stocks. 

The EPAL open exchange pool offers participants from trade, industry and logistics the opportunity to find individually adapted solutions for optimising digital and sustainable processes. We are convinced that the EPAL open exchange pool will play an important role in the emergence of digital and sustainable logistics.