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Friday, 19 August 2011

Pallets and International Trade - some thoughts

International trade is often associated pictorially by a container ship or a mountain of containers sitting on a wharf.   Rarely is the role of the pallet in the supply of imports and exports acknowledged, yet it is ubiquitous and could equally fill the role that containers and container ships have!

Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts in their 2011 book Edgelands write:

'Pallets are consumer capitalism's red blood cells.   They convey the products around the organism... the chances are that you're surrounded by things from places far away, borne here on a pallet.' p.196 and
'This is the age of pallets,...' p.202   The authors visit a pallet yard in Birmingham, England and find that:
'Pleasing to the eye, all the pallets are blue, stacked as high as the buildings that surround the yard.   It's a powder blue, like the blue decking of seaside themed cafes and shops.' p.197.

And here is proof that powder blue pallets are to be found not only in Birmingham, England but also in Campbell Street, Palmerston North, New Zealand.   Of course pallets are the packaging descendants of barrels, casks, kegs and tea chests.  Let's recognise their role in 21st century international trade!

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