Last year, the UIC decided to terminate its partnership with EPAL, which had operated its pallet pool services, and work with other pallet organisations. It also started putting its own brand on pallets.

Now, however, the two bodies have “reached fundamental agreement” on mutual pallet recognition. The deal was reached at a summit meeting in Paris, attended by EPAL president Robert Holliger and UIC’s pallet working group chairman Thomas Metlich. It facilitates unrestricted exchange of EPAL and UIC pallets.

“The market desires and needs unlimited exchangability from a common pool,” said Mr Metlich. It was also announced that, at the request of pallet users, UIC and EPAL will continue to meet.

The precise arrangements of common pallet recognition system are promised soon. And the organisations said they will also lay out the next steps for further cooperation.

“The focus for both organisations is continued assurance of consistently high quality to cargo carriers, and having a large common pallet pool,” said a statement following the Paris meeting.

“It will also ensure the availability to users of a comprehensive network of production and repair organisations.” The agreement, said the two bodies, would also benefit the manufacturing and repair sector itself.

“It will finally bring clarity for all participants in the market,” said Mr Holliger. “It also underlines the strength of the common pallet exchange system.”