Wood is frequently used as a reliable material to create cases and crates for safely packaging and transporting other products.
Its resilience and hard-wearing properties make wood an ideal material for packaging, because its rigidity helps protect the products from damage during transit. Its durability also means the cases and crates can be re-used again and again.
Pallet wood is the biggest and most commodity element of the packaging wood market, which will be discussed in a separate ‘Pallet Wood’ section.
It comprises of all the other wood flowing into this sector, of which there is still considerable volume. This includes wood materials to make products such as barrels, tubs, tanks and vats.
The pallets and packaging sector accounts for a huge percentage of the sawn softwood consumed in the UK, with UK Forestry Commission data suggesting that almost one-third of all UK sawn sawmill production is used as packaging wood.
Sawn timber is graded into seven classes, based on the Nordic Timber Grading Rules for Pine and Spruce Sawn Timber, and the European Standard SS-EN 1611-1 Sawn timber – Appearance grading of softwoods.
The mainstay of Packaging Wood products is 6th Grade softwood from Scandinavia and the Baltics. Typically formed of Pine or Spruce, these may be sawn for agricultural and industrial applications or planed for higher value and fine art uses.
Also included with packaging wood are wood staves – a narrow length of wood with bevelled edge that is often used to form the sides of products such as barrels, tubs, tanks and vats. These staves are most common made from Oak.
All wood used for export packaging will need to be ISPM-15 compliant, which is usually by achieved by using specific kilning schedules for these grades of wood.
ISPM-15 wooden pallets and packaging must be heat-treated prior to use, in order to prove that the wood has been heat-treated appropriately and is free of pest infestations – especially important to ensure pests aren’t transported between countries, and when the packaging is being used to transport food and other similar products (see Assembled Packaging for more information).