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George Raymond Sr, Oliver Richter, UIC, EPAL

  • The Pallet Pioneers - Members of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    The Pallet Pioneers - Members of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    Pallet Pioneers
  • European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) - Member of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) - Member of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    Further development of the pool idea
  • George Raymond Sr - Member of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    George Raymond Sr - Member of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    Inventor of the first professional transport pallet
  • Oliver Richter

    Oliver Richter

    Father of the CHEP system
  • Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC) - Member of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC) - Member of the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

    Mother of the Euro pallet

The Pallet Pioneers

George Raymond Sr, founder of the US Raymond Corporation, invented the first transport pallet. UIC is considered the mother of the Euro pallet and EPAL was instrumental in the further development of the open pallet pooling system (exchange pool). Oliver Richter is an early pioneer of the circular economy and “father of the CHEP system”, the first closed pooling system (rental pool) for load carriers.

The Pallet Pioneers can claim to have laid the foundation for the pallet's success.

George Raymond Sr (1890-1967)

Country USA
Last position CEO of The Raymond Corp.
Born 1890, USA
Died 1967, USA
Induction into the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

Oliver Richter (1920-2014)

Country Australia
Last position CEO, Chairman and Deputy Chairman Brambles Ltd..
Born October 23, 1920 in Sydney, Australia
Died November 7, 2014 at the age of 94
Induction into the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC)

Country France
Founding 1922
Induction into the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022

European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL)

Country Europe
Founding 1991
Induction into the Logistics Hall of Fame 2022


  • Benefits for logistics

    The invention of the pallet is a milestone in logistics. It created a standard for logistics and gave rise to standard packaging, box sizes and clear heights in warehouses, truck trailer sizes or forklift dimensions. For logisticians, it has a similar meaning as the container.

    The invention cannot be attributed to one person or group. Four Pallet Pioneers are considered significant for the success of the load carrier:

    In 1939, George Raymond Senior and his associate William House were granted a patent for a hydraulic lift truck and the accompanying wooden pallet in New York State. 

    After a veritable chaos of pallet sizes in the post-war period, the initiative for the Euro pallet came from the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC), the association of European railroads. It is considered the mother of the Euro pallet. In 1961, the European railroads agreed on the dimensions and production of the Euro pallet in a working group. 

    In the mid-1970s, the Gütegemeinschaft Paletten, today's umbrella organization of the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL), partially took over the distribution and quality assurance of the Euro pallet. EPAL, which was founded in 1991, has successfully developed the pool idea and made a significant contribution to the quality assurance of the Euro pallet.

    CHEP manager Oliver Richter also recognized the potential of the pallet rental pool in the mid-1970s and set up the world's first closed pallet pooling system from Australia.

    However, the end of the pallet story is far from written. There is no question that it will continue to be a driving force in the future, but like any other load carrier, it must face the challenges of the times. Today, the pallet is first and foremost part of the digital evolution.


  • George Raymond Sr

    The first professional transport pallet: When George Raymond Senior bought the Lyon Iron Works, a foundry in New York State in 1922, the foundry, which had been founded in 1840, produced mainly agricultural implements made of wood and metal. With the creation of the Raymond Corporation, he wanted to offer his customers something new. He and his employee William House applied for two patents on November 7, 1939 – for a hydraulic lift truck and the double wooden pallet that went with it. It was designed in such a way that the forks of the lift truck could go under the pallet. It is considered the first professional transport pallet.

    Forerunners of the pallet already existed in Ancient Egypt, where skids were used as load carriers, or in 1917, when the Clark Equipment Company in the USA built its first forklift truck. Many inventions were not patented until the late 1940s, such as Robert Braun's four-way pallet, which was patented in 1945, or a one-way pallet developed by U.S. supply officer Norman Cahners, who received the patent in 1949.

    The Raymond Corporation is now a subsidiary of Toyota Industries and continues to manufacture forklifts.



  • Oliver Richter

    Father of the CHEP system: A few years after the invention of the Euro pallet, another player in the pallet business appeared in Australia. Oliver Richter (1920 - 2014) was Trade Manager for Manufacturing and Materials Handling at the logistics company Brambles. At the time, the company was mainly active in the materials handling sector in Sydney with its CHEP (Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool) brand. However, Richter quickly recognized the potential of a pallet pooling system and successfully expanded the closed CHEP rental pool internationally.

    Under the “sharing and reusing model”, reusable pallets, crates and containers were made available for sharing among multiple participants throughout the supply chain. This eliminated the need for customers to purchase and manage their own pallets, reducing the capital requirements and complexity of their operations while reducing waste from their supply chains. Prior to CHEP's pooling and reuse system, companies spent significant amounts of money replacing pallets that were not returned or were of inferior quality. CHEP became the model for numerous pooling solutions.

    Through Richter's energy and vision, CHEP also drove the standardization of pallet size and the resulting impact on packaging standardization. He had a pallet control system developed that improved the efficient movement of goods and guaranteed more effective reuse of pallets and a reduction in losses. Overall, these initiatives resulted in significant productivity gains throughout the supply chain as goods were transported directly from the manufacturer or producer to the retailer.

    Oliver Richter was born in Sydney, Australia, on October 23, 1920. In 1935 he joined the public service and attended night school in Sydney. He trained as an accountant and worked in various positions. During World War II, he worked for the Australian Federal Bureau of Munitions. In 1965, he began his career at Brambles as commercial manager. In 1974, he began expanding the pallet pooling business and later held various management positions at Brambles. In 1999, Richter received the Australian Order of Distinction for service to business and industry through the development and expansion of the Commonwealth Handling and Equipment Pool (CHEP) Materials Handling System throughout Australia and overseas, and to the community. On November 7, 2014, Oliver Richter passed away at the age of 94. 


  • UIC

    Mother of the Euro pallet: After the Second World War, the pallet spread rapidly throughout Europe. In the 1950s, railroad companies increasingly began to transport pallets, which led to cross-border chaos in the absence of standards. The railroads were organized in the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC). In 1961, it finally put an end to the chaos. It was the birth of the Euro pallet.

    Within the framework of a working group with changing players, the UIC drew up the contract for a standardized, exchangeable pallet, which was subsequently signed by the European railroad companies. From then on, them undertook to comply with the standards (UIC - standard 435-2 ff.), to manufacture and to repair the Euro pallets. In addition, the monitoring and the guarantee of a trouble-free exchange in an EPP (European Pallet Pool) was agreed upon. The success of the Euro pallet was resounding: today there is hardly any storage or transport system that is not adapted to the dimensions of the Euro pallet. 

    Measurements 800 mm length x 1,200 mm wide x 144 mm hight
    Weight ca. 25 kg, Load capacity: 1,500 kg
    Load max. 4,000 kg when stacked on a solid and level base
    4-sided drive-on capability and beveled bottom boards on both sides enable highly effective handling during production, storage and transport throughout the supply chain

    In the open exchange pool for Euro pallets, a loaded pallet is exchanged for an identical empty Euro pallet at the destination. The regulations on the manufacture and repair of Euro pallets are extensive, right down to the position of the individual nails.

    In 2004, the Euro pallet received DIN EN 13698-1. This states that it is a rigid horizontal platform of low height “which can be handled by forklift trucks, pallet trucks or other suitable equipment and which serves as a basis for grouping goods and loads for stacking, storage and handling or transport.“


  • EPAL

    Further development of the pool idea: In the mid-1970s, the Gütegemeinschaft Paletten (Pallet Quality Association), today's National Committee of EPAL, partly took over the dissemination and quality assurance of the Euro pallet. The European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL), founded in 1991, has promoted the dissemination and quality assurance of the Euro pallet together with UIC.

    In 2013, UIC and EPAL separated. Since then, both organizations have been competitors in the open Euro pallet exchange pool with different trademarks: UIC/EUR on the corner blocks of UIC Euro pallets and EPAL/EPAL on the blocks of EPAL pallets.

    EPAL is active in more than 30 countries worldwide with its 14 national committees (members of the umbrella organization) and three representatives.





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