Düsseldorf, Germany—The Board of the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) unanimously decided on February 21, 2017 to terminate the exchangeability agreement between EPAL and the Rail Cargo Austria AG (RCA) effective from 01/05/2017.
In October 2014, EPAL agreed with RCA as the managing railway undertaking of the International Union of Railways (UIC) Working Group, “Palletisation Issues”, that EPAL Euro pallets and UIC/EUR pallets could be exchanged with each other. EPAL now recommends that EPAL Euro pallets cease to be exchanged for UIC/EUR pallets.
The EPAL Board substantiates this step with reference to the substantial shortcomings of UIC’s organization of the exchange pool, including in the areas of quality assurance and fighting the import of counterfeit UIC/EUR pallets in the EU. To prevent difficulties for users, there will be an appropriate transitional period for exchanging UIC/EUR pallets which have been produced by the end of February 2017.
Martin Leibrandt, CEO of EPAL, warns, “EPAL can no longer guarantee that UIC/EUR pallets meet the demands that the industry, retail and logistics sectors justifiably place on the quality and safety of EPAL Euro pallets. In particular, the uncontrolled import of counterfeit UIC/EUR pallets endangers the quality and safety of the EPAL Euro pallet pool.”
“According to research by EPAL, there are more than four million counterfeit UIC/EUR pallets from Ukraine on the market, and this number increases all the time. East European gangs for the main part are increasingly counterfeiting UIC/EUR pallets, since it has become riskier to counterfeit EPAL Euro pallets due to the joint action of EPAL, customs authorities and lawyers. EPAL assumes responsibility for the quality and safety of the EPAL Euro pallet pool. The industry, retail and logistics sectors can count on that.”
Since the exchangeability agreement between EPAL and the UIC was concluded in October 2014, the UIC has taken no measures comparable to the activities undertaken by EPAL to protect the quality and safety of UIC/EUR pallets. In many countries, the UIC does not organize the exchange pool at all. In two and a half years of negotiations, the UIC declined EPAL’s offer to take over the organization of quality assurance and trademark protection for UIC/EUR pallets.
In view of the negative consequences of the UIC’s conduct, EPAL no longer considers itself able to continue to recommend the exchange of EPAL Euro pallets with UIC/EUR pallets. Terminating the exchangeability agreement is in EPAL’s view the only option to effectively protect the quality and safety of the EPAL Euro pallet pool in the future.
To protect the safety of employees, goods and logistics processes, EPAL is recommending that in future, only EPAL Euro pallets are used and exchanged.
The recommendation to stop exchange between EPAL Euro pallets and UIC pallets applies from May 1, 2017.