Bettaway funded the creation of the PalletTrader site, which incorporates elements of Amazon, eBay, and LinkedIn. Vaccaro decided against creating a nationwide pallet brokerage. “We built a neutral online platform as a collaborative ecommerce site for managing commercial pallet supply, supporting a single, efcient transaction process for sourcing, buying, and selling pallets,” he says. BRINGING TOGETHER SHIPPERS AND DEPOTS The goal is to help shippers connect with depots, allowing thousands of pallet producers, recyclers, and distributors to streamline their business processes. “It’s much like in the trucking world where brokers and shippers use online load boards to match available trucks with freight,” Vaccaro says. “We are bringing the convenience and efciency of online commerce technology to the world of pallets. “We also are providing a common set of tools and processes that everyone can share to manage and optimize pallet inventory as a renewable asset, not discarded as a throw-away piece of wood,” he adds.
The platform has transacted nearly 1 million pallets in the rst few months of operation. Bettaway has also listed its nearly 500 pallet depots nationwide on the platform.
solutions wherever dimensionally stable, cleanable equipment with a long service life is required. “In today’s complex supply chains, it is critical the right packaging is available when and where it is needed,” Zitzke says. BUY PALLETS ON THE INTERNET WITH PALLETTRADER What’s one of the few things you can’t buy online? Wood pallets. That was true until the launch of PalletTrader in October 2022. After years in the industry, John Vaccaro, president of Bettaway Supply Chain Services, which operates a national pallet supply network and provides materials handling and transportation services, knew there had to be a better way to manage pallets. As a 3PL, Bettaway fully embraces supply chain technology. In the world of white wood or general exchange, non-rental pallets, business is still done by phone and fax with local pallet depots. “The pallet world is very decentralized, and there are no national providers, so we wanted to provide a single source for national shippers,” Vaccaro says.
SUPPORTING PALLET BUYERS AND SELLERS
Pallet sellers and buyers can sign up for the platform. The site is built on a subscription model, but the fee is being waived for early members to encourage usage. The site charges a nominal fee for each transaction. Sellers can offer pallets at a xed price, ask for an offer, or open up for bid. Sellers get paid within two days. Buyers can make offers or post a request, and sellers can compete to fulll it. The platform already contains information on various pallet types and sizes. “It’s all up to however the person wants to buy or sell,” Vaccaro says. Buyers and sellers must provide identication and method of payment to ensure the transactions are legitimate. Companies that already have their preferred providers can set up private groups to limit interactions to their favorites. In response to customer requests, Vaccaro says they are setting up PalletTrader+. Under this offering, the platform acts as a managed service for pallets, where a company can input pallet orders, and Bettaway will handle fulllment. Other developments in the pipeline include arranging pickup and delivery of pallets and connections to third- party nancing. Like many innovators, Vaccaro saw a gap in the marketplace and decided to ll it himself. He was afraid a tech company or venture capital rm that knew nothing about the business could disrupt the industry. He didn’t want to take over the pallet industry. He just wanted to make it more professional and protable for everyone. “From the beginning, the concept was a free marketplace,” he says. “I wanted to build a platform where all people and all things pallet could converge.” n
The PalletTrader marketplace is designed to meet the needs of pallet buyers and sellers, helping shippers connect with pallet depots. The online platform—built by 3PL Bettaway— incorporates elements of Amazon, eBay, and LinkedIn.
82 Inbound Logistics • May 2023
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