Unitised Cargo – 8: PLA Half Pallet

supath seo unitised cargo

Introduction To Unitised Cargo

Limitation in space calls for optimisation of freight through thorough organisation. However, since the shape of the freight room plays a major role,  unit load devices have a category called contour ULDs.  Unitised cargo means freight organised into specially manufactured containers or pallets, which may be with or without contours and are made  for main deck and/or lower deck loading.

Unitised cargo is extensively used by freight forwarders to consolidate freight. A large amount of freight destined for a single destination can be flown as one consolidation under one master air way bill. To keep all the consignments together, they can be loaded into a container or a pallet. When it comes to very heavy freight not too big in width a PLA half pallet can be used.

The Pallet Category

The PLA  is a heavy-duty half pallet, which can be loaded into both the decks. It is manufactured to withstand heavy loads and goes by the commonly used name of PLA or 60.4 inch pallet.Main deck contour loading is possible with this ULD. As is the case with PMC pallets, PLAs are also covered by a net after the loading is complete. Being a pallet, this ULD has no surrounding walls and the freight is secured to the tide-down-slots on the floor. The tie-down-slots are provided along the perimeter of the pallet, so that the net that goes over the freight load can be easily secured.Special PLWs with extra strong floor systems are available. Such PLAs are used for carrying heavy freight.

PLA 60.4 Inch Half Pallet

  • IATA Certification : PLA
  • FAA Certification : TSO-C90
  • Outer Dimension : 318 cm x 153 cm
  • Usable Area : 304 cm x 139 cm
  • Maximum Permissible Gross Weight: 3175 Kg
  • Aircraft : Airbus: A300 category (A330, A340, A380), Boeing: B747, B767, B777, MD: MD-11



supath seo unitised cargo air_cargo

747 lower deck. Courtesy: WIKI

Advice To Exporters

  • Strong and sturdy packaging is a must. Freight will be stacked, so your freight must be able to withstand the load
  • A waterproof lining is always a good idea.
  • Air freight regulations are strict. All openings or slits in the packaging is to be sealed. Else your freight will be classified as “vulnerable to manipulation”. That might mean extra charges for you.
  • Avoid overhangs on pallets. Limit the freight to the size of the pallet.
  • Freight forwarder or the airline will decide the device to be used.
  • Since freight loaded on unit load devices will be stacked, you should inform the freight forwarder in your SLI (Shipper’s Letter of Instructions) if your freight may not be stacked!
  • Freight handling is fast. To avoid your non-stackable freight from being stacked, you should use a “DO NOT STACK”  triangular prop on the top of your freight.

Resources Centre

Anybody needing help or advice to plan air freight Please get in touch using the contact form. However, consultation with your freight forwarder/air cargo agent cannot be stressed enough. 


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References for Air Cargo and Unit Load Devices


Air cargo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Air Cargo is any property carried or to be carried in an aircraft. Air cargo comprises air freight, air express and airmail. Contents. [hide]. 1 Aircraft types; 2 History.

Air Cargo – IATA

Air cargo transports goods worth in excess of $6.4 trillion on an annual basis. This is approximately 35% of world trade by value. The sector itself generates …




Author: surenpillai

Experienced freight forwarder. Managed freight movements across all the continents. Highlights were the technology roadshows (EMEA) and Trade Lane Management India. All the above combined with Customer Relationship Management, foreign agent management, dedicated key account management. Previous experience as a teacher of English. Member of the Queen's English Society