EPAL terminates the exchangeability agreement with UIC

The recommended action to cease exchanging EPAL Euro pallets for UIC-pallets applies from 1 st May 2017

EPAL terminates the exchangeability agreement with UIC

The Board of the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) unanimously decided on 21st February 2017 to terminate the exchangeability agreement between EPAL and the Rail Cargo Austria AG (RCA) effective from 1st May 2017. In October 2014, EPAL agreed with RCA as the managing railway undertaking of the 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 organisation 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.”

“Since the exchangeability agreement between EPAL and the UIC was concluded in October 2014, the UIC have 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 do not organise the exchange pool at all. Yet, in the two and a half years of negotiations, the UIC declined EPAL’s offer to take over the organisation of quality assurance and trademark protection for UIC/EUR pallets,” EPAL claims in a press release.

The recommendation to stop exchange between EPAL Euro pallets and UIC pallets applies from 1st May 2017. The previously effective recommendation that also pallets bearing the “EUR” marking (UIC, MAV, CD, ADIF, GreenCargo etc.) can be exchanged, to continue to apply, but however to be limited in duration until 31st December 2021, and restricted to pallets that have been produced by 28th February 2017 in strict compliance with the UIC leaflets 435-2 to 435-6.