For a given shipment, you can choose whether or not to palletize your cargo and at what point in the shipment you would like to palletize it should you choose to do so. Your decision to palletize will depend on certain factors such as the fragility of your cargo, the destination requirements of your cargo, and the mode of transit by which your cargo is being shipped.
If you are shipping Full Container Load (FCL), palletizing your cargo comes at the cost of not being able to fully utilize the space in the container. Having said that, palletized cargo is easier and quicker to load/unload which makes it the preferred option for warehouses.
For Less than Container Load (LCL) cargo, it is recommended to palletize at origin for high value cargo to keep it safe and secure during transportation. However, palletizing does add weight to the shipment overall which will have an effect on freight costs.
For Air cargo, the shipment may not be able to be palletized due to the limited space on a plane. If your cargo is unpalletized, the airline will be able to consider both the weight and volume of your cargo and load the plane accordingly – an unpalletized shipment may be split to ensure a safe flight. If your cargo is palletized, the airline may or may not allow a trucker to pick up the palletized cargo. They may instead require that the pallets be broken down at the airport.