The huge benefits derivable from the use of plastic pallets makes it compelling for regulatory agencies in the country to set out target dates to phase out the use of wooden pallets and fully introduce plastic pallets in its place especially in the food and pharmaceutical industries as has been done in developed countries. This was the submission of Mr. Ravindar Kanwal, Managing Director of Shongai Packaging Industry Limited as the company hosted industry executives and a cross-section of government regulatory officials at a special presentation of its range of world-class plastic pallets manufactured with pride in Nigeria on Saturday, April21, 2018 at Radisson Blu, Ikeja, Lagos.

Shongai Packaging used the occasion to showcase the unique strengths and benefits of their innovative and game-changing packaging and racking solutions of reinforced plastic pallets for racking systems, proudly produced at their factories at Shongai Packaging Industries Limited, a proud member of Sona Group of Industries, Nigeria’s leading industrial conglomerate.

SHONGAI PACKAGING: PLASTIC PALLETS IN NIGERIA: L-R: UGOCHUKWU ILO, Director, NAFDAC; RAVINDER KANWAL, Managing Director, STL; A. K. MIRCHANDANI, Sona Group Chairman; MARGARET ESSIETT, Director SON; Ashok MANGHNANI, Group Chief Operating Officer; Ajai MUSADDI, Group Managing Director; ENGR. SAMUEL AYUBA USHE, Head, Ogun State Office, SON, during Shongai Packaging Industry’s Plastic Pallets Presentation at Radisson Blu Hotel, Lagos recently.

According to Mr. Kanwal, “the benefits of plastic pallets over wooden pallets include the ability to be easily sanitized, resistance to odour, fire-retardancy, longer service life-span, durability and better product protection, non-splintering, and lighter weight, thus saving on transportation and labour costs and making them safer and more environment-friendly”.

Mr. Kanwal observed that wooden pallets on the other hand “can pose serious bio-hazard risks as they are susceptible to bacterial and chemical contamination, such as e.coli problems in food and produce transportation and even insect infestation, and thus the need for ISPM.       Also, plastic pallets are re-usable and recyclable, while used wooden pallets have disposal challenges. Besides, the use of wooden pallets results in major deforestation as millions of trees are felled annually to meet supplies of wooden pallets, putting our eco-system at grave risk of deterioration. At Shongai Packaging, we have two high-tech plastic recycling plants with an overall production capacity of 200 metric tons per day”.

Research has revealed that wooden pallets pose other dangerous risks. Contamination from chemicals used to treat wood pallets was cited in a voluntary recall (some years ago) of Tylenol, an arthritis pain reliever. The chemical contamination caused nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain in consumers. Wooden pallets made with “engineered wood” components contain urea formaldehyde – a known carcinogen – which may come into contact with food under a variety of scenarios when it is stored and shipped on wooden pallets.      Formaldehyde is also released into the air when it off-gases from pallets in storage and transportation compartments, posing a risk to the health of workers and consumers. Wooden pallets are susceptible to insect infestation and require heat treatment or fumigation before they can be moved across borders. Fumigation is often performed with methyl bromide, a highly toxic, ozone-depleting chemical.

Mr. Kanwal affirmed that plastic pallets are the ideal alternative to wooden pallets. Plastic pallets have thus become an imperative for the above reasons. They also come in a variety of colours and sizes. They can be made from recycled plastics as is being done at Shongai Packaging Industries.

“Shongai Packaging Industry Limited commenced business in 1981 and is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company. Shongai Packaging pioneered the production of plastic pallets in Nigeria and West Africa in 2013 using mainly recycled plastic materials to replace wooden pallets which deplete our forest reserves and have a lot of disadvantages. Our quality is best-in-class as the pallets are strictly produced in line with global standards. Our innovative stride in this area has both short term and long term economic and environmental benefits. The company currently exports a sizeable percentage of our pallets to other West African countries.

The Chairman of Sona Group of Industries, Mr, Arjan K. Mirchandani who was also present at the event said that his faith in Nigeria and the great talents, skills and dedication of Nigerians has made it possible for companies within the group to always introduce pioneering and innovative products and services into the country. He stressed his belief that Nigeria can become an industrial giant with its enormous human and material resources if we invest more in the manufacturing sector and patronize made-in-Nigeria products. Sona Group comprises nine other companies involved in B2B and B2C manufacturing operations in Nigeria. The group is the second largest employer in Ogun state where most of the companies are located.

Stakeholders from the manufacturing industry attested to the superior benefits of plastic pallets and officials from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and NAFDAC agreed on the urgent need to streamline Nigeria’s packaging, racking and storage systems in line with international standards