Aramco replaces classic wood skids with a more sophisticated pallet
Company finds cost-effective, reusable pallets at operations from Drilling and Workover to offshore platforms.
More than 7,500 plastic pallets have been deployed across company facilities, warehouses, and oil platforms as part of a corporate strategy to promote nonmetallic materials in the packaging sector.
Aramco plans to significantly reduce the number of its wooden pallets in use by 2028.
The cost-effective, reusable pallets are now in use in Drilling and Workover facilities, Material Services Department (MSD) warehouses, and the Safaniyah Offshore Producing Department’s oil platforms.
The plastic packaging industry is the largest end-user of petrochemical products worldwide. Regarded as rigid packaging, plastic pallets have many benefits compared to wooden ones, including being durable, reusable, hygienic, chemical resistant, long lasting, and economical in terms of life cycle cost.
Plastic pallets can be made from recycled plastics, which are a sustainable alternative to wooden pallets that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions associated with deforestation, supporting Aramco’s circular economy initiative. The pallet deployment program began by motivating stakeholders in a series of workshops organized by the Consulting Services Department in collaboration with the Industrial Development and Strategic Supply Department.
The advocacy team published packaging specifications (MS 8314-05), and worked closely with the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization to develop specifications for the Kingdom.
Aramco selected several local products for trial testing at MSD’s Dhahran warehouse to ensure they would be viable replacements for wooden pallets.
The team specified three main types of nonmetallic pallets: industrial heavy-duty, petrochemical heavy-duty, and spill pallets based on intended application, construction material, design configuration, geometry, and load capacity.
The internal procurement system was updated to facilitate the deployment.
Plastic pallets have considerable static and dynamic load capacity with excellent long-term performance under harsh environmental conditions when compared to conventional wooden pallets.
Waleed L. Al Otaibi, a coordinator in the Nonmetallic Engineering Division, emphasized that these applications demonstrate the versatility of plastic pallets.
“The successful implementation of this initial deployment will pave the way for more utilization of plastic pallets in Aramco’s offshore and onshore operations. The company’s strategic initiative is to significantly reduce the number of its wooden pallets in use by 2028.”
— By Mohammad T. Bashar, Faris M. Alkordy, and Saad A. Alkhuzayim
A nonmetallic future
Metallic corrosion costs global industry an estimated $2.5 trillion each year, according to the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, known as NACE International. Nonmetallics can alleviate these costs with their durability and life cycle cost advantages. Aramco is fortifying its investment and support of these technologies, maximizing nonmetallic deployment, promoting research and development, encouraging manufacturing localization, and investing in associated companies. These strategies are aligned with the corporate objective to pursue growth opportunities in nonmetallics to become the global leader. The future is nonmetallic and Aramco is moving rapidly toward that future.
— By Majid S. Alkhulaify