An online pallet trading marketplace that launched today could help ease a longstanding pallet supply crisis forced by outdated manual processes and strained by pandemic disruptions, according to its founder, handling and transportation provider Bettaway Supply Chain Services.
By helping senders connect to repositories, Pallet Trader website could enable thousands of pallet producers, recyclers and distributors to streamline their business processes, Bettaway, based in South Plainfield, New Jersey, said in a statement. In the company’s vision, its neutral online platform opens as the first collaborative e-commerce site for commercial pallet supply management, supporting a unique and efficient transaction process for the supply, purchase and sale of pallets.
In exchange for building the site, Bettaway will charge subscription and transaction fees, but users will offset these costs by adopting a more efficient pallet sourcing process than traditional tools like email, phone calls or email. fax, Bettaway Chairman John Vaccaro said.
“It’s a bit like the world of trucking where brokers and shippers use online load charts to match available trucks with freight,” Vaccaro said in a statement. “We are bringing the convenience and efficiency of e-commerce technology to the pallet world. And we provide a common set of tools and processes that can be shared by everyone to manage and optimize pallet inventory as a renewable asset, not thrown away like a disposable piece of wood.
If successful, the new platform will connect networks of regional depots and distributors that have operated for decades on local relationships, as opposed to the power of open online platforms like Amazon, eBay or Etsy, said Vaccaro in an interview. “You can buy anything online, but not pallets,” Vaccaro said. “We have DAT load charts and the CASS freight index to instantly reach carriers, but for pallets there is no online system that compares to a [transportation management system].”
Vaccaro says the management of the humble $20 wooden pallet is misunderstood, even in supply chain circles. Although the pallet business is a $7 billion-a-year business, it’s generally thought of as just an exchange of goods, he says. But in reality, there are 40 or 50 different types of pallets covering different custom sizes and specialized dimensions. And for each of these types, local pallet yards offer services such as selling, renting, salvaging, repairing, recycling, and storing pallets.