Grocery pallets in short supply in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – All groceries in grocery stores arrive on pallets, and currently the pallets that bring groceries to stores are in short supply.

Robert Kimball runs Wohlner’s grocery store in Omaha. He’s been in the business for years and has never had a pallet shortage.

“I’m an independent operator and a lot of us need our groceries on time and pallets are a necessity,” he said.

Steve Gallucci is the Chief Operating Officer of Palleton Inc. He said the pre-COVID-19 timber shortage began when wildfires destroyed many forests in the northwestern United States. Then COVID-19 arrived and that shut the mills down. Then there was a demand for lumber for home builders.

“We’ve seen pallet prices rise 261% over the past 16 months, and it’s all based on increased material costs,” he said. “It’s like a perfect storm. All of these things happened at once in this chain reaction to cause this pallet market decline, and now you are seeing tremendous price increases. “

Palleton is building the pallets but had to make adjustments and additions to keep up with demand.

“We hired more people and bought new machines so we can build more pallets,” said Gallucci. “Just because the demand for pallets is so great at the moment, we can’t even keep track of all the orders we get.”

Making pallets is so important, Gallucci told 6 News that his company was considered a critical infrastructure company.

“Homeland Security published a letter that they classify as critical infrastructure,” said Gallucci. “We were one of those companies. If there are no pallets, there is basically no food either. “

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