The UIC represented by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General, and Miklos Kopp, Director of the Freight Department, signed an agreement in May with the railway undertaking Rail Cargo Austria (RCA) represented by Dr Georg Kasperovitz, Member of the Board, and Dr Erik Regter, Member of the Board, on the license for using the “UIC” trademark on EUR pallets. According to the agreement, UIC transfers the legal right to use the “UIC” trademark and the right to prosecute for trademark infringement to the competent members via the railway undertaking Rail Cargo Austria, which manages the “Palletizing” Working Group on behalf of UIC and its members.
With the surge of freight traffic on European railway networks at the beginning of the fifties, railway undertakings needed more cost-efficient technology for logistics requirements in the field of transportation and loading of goods. In using the pallet, it was possible to load rail and road cars in sparing 90% of the time needed for earlier loading processes.
In 1961, UIC took the initiative to sign an agreement on the use of a “standardised or exchangeable pallet” among railways and to organise and manage the mutual use of these pallets through the European Pallet Pool (EPP-PEP), founded by UIC members at the same time. The unified EUR pallet was born.
The basic prerequisite for this initiative was and still is the uniform quality of pallets used. This task was carried out initially by the European Pallet Pool (EPP) member railways and later on exclusively by the “Palletizing” Working Group. This working group, integrated in the UIC structure, has several tasks – among them to specify the standards and ensure quality control for EUR exchangeable pallets. The working group is also in charge of compliance with the rights and obligations as per UIC Leaflet series 435, which provide the foundation for EUR pallets. This working group managed on behalf of UIC and its participating members by Rail Cargo Austria (RCA) is also responsible for adapting and revising the existing standards as required and also developing new alternative pallet types. In order to maintain this successful activity for the benefit of UIC members, there are always new challenges to be addressed in the framework of this “Palletizing” Working Group.
The exchangeable EUR Pallet as a quality-assured standard is marked with “EUR” in the oval sign on the right-hand corner block, and currently either one of the various logos of a licensing railway undertaking or the symbol of a pallet organisation on the left-hand corner block. From now the concept of implementing the “one-brand strategy” is progressing –unifying all symbols on the left-hand corner block for new manufactured pallets by the “UIC” label. It may be assumed that in future EUR pallets will be easier to recognise for customers and easier to exchange in the Single European Pallet Pool.
All over Europe, over 60 million EUR Pallets, flat wooden pallets or box-pallets have been manufactured or repaired for re-use according to the specifications of UIC Leaflets series 435.
The trend for using of EUR pallets in transport and more generally in the logistics chain has increased in the recent period. With the creation of the EUR pallets and organisation of the Pallet Pool, UIC acted as a pioneer 50 years ago and offered an essential contribution to easy circulation and distribution of light goods across Europe.