Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD July-Aug 2017 Contents Biopallets are designed and manufactured to
meet any size, design, load rating or application.
In May 2017 the production facility in
Zhoushan, China began full production, with the
first use of the technology aimed at the export
shipping pallet market.
What use is Biofiba?
Collaborative research between Biofiba Ltd and
the CSIRO has delivered a cost-effective bio-
composite timber substitute. It is an extruded
material, a biodegradable simulated timber,
that is used as a replacement for plastics and
polystyrene, and as an alternative to timber.
Predominantly made from industrial hemp
fibre, a commercially grown and annually
renewable crop, it has been specifically
designed to biodegrade into a harmless
The technology offers a sustainable, Earth-
friendly alternative for pallet manufacture and
other products. The company has identified
the pallet market, in particular the single use,
disposable, export pallet market as the initial
best fit for the product.
Biofiba planks are used to make Biopallets
by existing pallet manufacturers. Biopallets are
designed and manufactured by existing third-
party pallet manufacturers to meet any size,
weight and load need.
Who is forcing the change?
The end users of pallets, at the end of the
supply chain, determine the type of export
packaging to be used. In turn, end users
are being dictated to by customers and
governments imposing biosecurity, quarantine
and environmental waste disposal regulations.
So what is wrong with current materials?
About 88% of global pallet production consists
of timber pallets that require biosecurity
treatment prior to international transit.
Global biosecurity compliance regulations are
increasing before and after shipment with
regards to environmental, quarantine and waste
disposal laws, which is escalating the ‘total use
cost’ of timber pallets.
There are estimated to be more than 200,000
registered manufacturers of timber pallets
world wide, but more importantly, on a global
basis there are circa 6 billion one way, one use,
disposable export pallets manufactured and sold
annually. About 150 million tonnes of timber on a
global basis is consumed annually for disposable
export pallets alone.
About 10% of pallets worldwide are made of
plastic with the remaining roughly 2% being
other materials like cardboard and metal.
Plastic is increasing and growing its market
share, due to the biosecurity issues with timber
pallets. However, plastics are not biodegradable
and are manufactured from non-renewable
petrochemical resources, with high costs and
compliance issues associated with emissions,
waste disposal and recycling.
(Source: The World Market for Wood Pallets,
by Professor Philip M Parker Ph.D.
Management Science INSEAD - Singapore &
Biofiba to the rescue
The global pallet market is projected to grow at
4.9% per annum during the period 2017-2020
(Source: Global Pallet Market Report 2016-2020.)
Pallets are regulated for international trade
under the International Standard for Phytosanitary
Measures, publication number 15 (ISPM15).
The regulations are in place to help prevent the
worldwide spread of plant pests and diseases.
Therefore, pallet users are required to deal
with compliance issues for the importation and
disposal of pallets. Timber pallets that are not
heat treated must be fumigated with methyl
bromide, a known carcinogen. Disposal of
fumigated timber pallets is a global issue and
considered toxic waste.
In contrast, Biofiba represents the next
generation alternative to timber and a
replacement for plastic and polystyrene, the
most commonly used materials in this market.
Biofiba’s commercial credentials include:
• Eliminates international bio-security risks and
• Significantly reduces disposal costs.
• Durability enables re-use and longer lifecycles.
• Cost-effective alternative to plastic pallets.
• ‘In-beam’ and ‘drive-in; pallet rack friendly,
helping eliminate double handling.
• Non-standard sizes can improve load
optimisation and transport efficiency.
• Biofiba’s environmental credentials include:
• Helps prevent the worldwide spread of plant
pests and diseases.
• Compliant with global environmental recycling
and waste disposal regulations.
• Reduces the use of harmful chemicals in
treatment or fumigation.
• Reduces the destruction of native forests.
• Reduces the use of petroleum-based plastics.
• Lowers emissions in manufacture.
A single line of Biofiba extrusion system
can produce a maximum of 1,944 tonnes of
extruded planks per annum, equating to circa
77,760 pallets. The annual production output
from the existing single line Biofiba extrusion
system represents just circa 0.0013% of the
overall global pallet market.
The current production facility for Biofiba
products is located in Zhoushan, Zhejiang
Province, China, within the New Enterprise
Export Free Zone. The Biofiba production facility
houses a state-of-the-art, patented, single-line
extrusion system and associated equipment to
produce Biofiba products.
The production facility is controlled and
managed by qualified and experienced
Australian and local personnel who supervise
and oversee the whole production operation.
Current orders have extended the production
lead time from order to ex-works delivery to six
weeks, and will extend further until such time
as the company can increase its production
capacity, which is planned for the near future.
For more information visit
“The technology offers
a sustainable, Earth-
friendly alternative for
pallet manufacture and
The Biopallet can be
made into any standard
and custom size, just
like a wooden pallet.
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — JULY / AUGUST 2017
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