Not all Pallets are Created Equal

Generally if you are shipping items “Less than Truckload” (LTL) then you will be using shipping pallets to do so. If you choose to use standard size pallets to ship your product, there is a little rule of which you may not be aware. Failing to follow this “65% rule” can cost you money. What is the 65% rule and how can it affect your LTL shipments? Let’s find out.


You may recall that when you are shipping LTL there will be a class number assigned to it. The lower the number, the less you need to pay for shipping. If you are not properly sizing your shipments to the pallets to which they will be attached, your shipment may be reclassed. If your shipment gets bumped up to a higher class, you will be charged a higher rate.

The 65% Rule

According to the NMFC code 150390, “The surface area occupied shall be determined by multiplying the greatest straight-line dimensions of length and width of the commodity(ies), including packaging or bracing necessary to secure the commodity(ies) and/or maintain the orientation of the commodity(ies).This is how shipment density is determined in order to assign a class to your shipment. Unless your shipment doesn’t take up 65% of the pallet it is sitting on.

When a shipment is put onto a pallet it must take up 65% of the pallet that it is being placed upon. If it does not, then the packaging and the bracing that are holding your shipment to the pallet are no longer considered when calculating the density.

Wait, I’m confused

This can be a bit confusing, so let’s look at an example. If your shipment takes up 65% of a given pallet, density calculation factors in the size of the pallet and the weight of all the bracing that is holding your shipment in place. Since density is the weight of the shipment divided by the overall dimensions, this means that a lot of empty air is being figured into the density. Lower density means a lower class. Lower class means a lower rate.

If the shipment is not taking up 65% of the pallet, then the pallet (and all of that very light empty space) is ignored. Only the actual cargo being shipped is measured. This means that the density is higher along with the class and the price of your shipment.

Keep to the 65% Rule

Make sure that when you are shipping LTL you keep the sizes of the shipments on par with the size of the pallets. Otherwise you are going to be paying a much higher rate for your cargo due to a higher density and class.

If you need custom crates built for your shipment contact the expert crate builders at Cratex Group. We can help you with any of your industrial packing or transloading needs!

Meta desc: The 65% rule will contain your shipments within 65% of a pallet’s space, and keep you paying the lowest rates.