BlogPallet PoolingDeadhead trucking means empty trucks.

No one in logistics likes deadhead trucking. The term refers to driving a big rig without a load, and when trucks are driven empty no one is making money from the trip. In fact, since the truck is burning fuel without transporting product, a deadhead trip actually loses money. If the driver is an hourly employee, they will also need to be paid for their time, resulting in more money wasted. Deadhead trucking is the very definition of supply chain inefficiency, and logistics managers who reduce or eliminate dead legs can see substantial savings.

Two of the best ways of dealing with empty legs both have to do with pallet pooling. Companies who work with pallet pooling providers can eliminate the deadheading involved when pallets have to be ferried from one place to another by putting this responsibility in the hands of the pallet rental service. At the same time, some pallet pooling companies will pay for the transportation of pallets to a depot or another retailer. This essentially turns empty pallets into a load of product which can help offset fuel costs and the driver’s salary.

Transporting Pooled Pallets to Earn Money on a Dead Leg

A pallet pooling service manages a supply of rented pallets for a company, dropping off ready-to-use pallets where they’re needed and managing the logistics of transporting them to another site for reuse once they reach the end of the supply chain. This saves a company the costs of procuring pallets, repairing them, transporting them, and returning used pallets back to the production facility. For a company managing their own supply of reusable pallets, returning pallets to the start of the supply chain is a form of deadhead trucking, a necessary–but empty–transport leg in which product is not moved but transportation costs must still be borne.

While empty pallets aren’t the most profitable freight, transporting them can defray fuel and pallet rental costs to help lower your overall Total Cost of Business (TCOB).

However, transporting pooled pallets can make a load of empty pallets profitable. Some pallet pooling providers will pay a flat fee for companies to transport empty pooled pallets to the pallet pooling service’s depot or another location, turning a deadhead leg into profit. This method represents an ideal way for any carrier to avoid empty miles. While empty pallets aren’t the most profitable freight, transporting them can defray fuel and pallet rental costs to help lower your overall Total Cost of Business (TCOB). But there’s more to pallet pooling. Not only does it provide an option that can cover some of the cost of an empty leg, pallet pooling can also actually make deadheading unnecessary.

How Pallet Pooling Can Eliminate Deadhead Trucking

Pallets being sorted at a pallet facilityPallet pooling has become the standard for large national and international corporations whose logistic managers are focused on moving their core products to market and making a profit. Instead of managing their own supply of single-use or reusable pallets, companies using a pallet pooling provider can trust in the specialized know-how of industry experts to manage a reusable supply of pallets for them. In this way, a pallet pooling provider can eliminate deadhead trucking by taking care of the transport of empty pallets from retailers back to production centers and to depots for inspection, washing, or repair. With the transportation of their empty pallets taken care of, businesses are able to eliminate dead legs in order to focus on transporting product, not pallets.

Pallet pooling also offers many other advantages:

  • Higher-Quality Pallets: Pooled pallets are built for multiple uses, and as a consequence are much more durable than single-use stringer pallets. This can help reduce product damage due to pallet failure.
  • Reusable Pallets: By renting reusable pooled pallets, companies are spared the costs of having to buy a new inventory of pallets to replace used ones, as well as the costs of the transportation and disposal of used pallets.
  • Reduced Capital Investment: Pooled pallets are rented and companies do not have to pay the full upfront price of the pallet. The cost of renting a reusable pallet is generally less than the cost of purchasing a brand new single-use pallet.

While pooled pallets are the clear choice for companies looking to reduce empty transportation legs as well as overall logistics costs, not all pooled pallets are created equal. The reusable wood block pallet commonly used by large pallet pooling providers is prone to breaking and shedding debris and isn’t washable or sanitizable. This issue is more pressing since the adoption of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules governing the sanitary transportation of food which mandate that all food transportation equipment be able to be cleaned.

Plastic pallets are also far lighter than wood block pallets, which increases transportation efficiency and saves fuel.

Pooled hygienic plastic GMA pallets are a far better way to avoid deadhead trucking. They easily meet food hygiene regulations and make it less likely that you’ll accidentally introduce a contaminant into your shipping trailers, whether you’re transporting product on the pallets or getting reimbursed for picking up a load of empty ones. Plastic pallets are also far lighter than wood block pallets, which increases transportation efficiency and saves fuel. For all these reasons, pooled, rented plastic pallets offer the most cost-effective way to avoid deadhead trucking and preserve your profit margins.

The iGPS pallet pool rents a lightweight, reusable plastic pallet that maximizes supply chain efficiency while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene. iGPS customers can also be reimbursed for transporting empty pooled pallets or can earn a discount by sorting the pallets they use. To switch to the market-leading plastic pallet, give our team a call at 1-800-884-0225, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.