Having regard to article 5 (b) and (c) of the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development of 14th December 1960;

Having regard to the decision of the Council of 4th February 1969 Establishing an OECD Scheme for the Application of International Standards for Fruit and Vegetables as amended [Doc. Nos. C(68)134 (Final), C(69)118(Final), C(69) 119(Final), C(70) 119(Final), C(70)181 (Final), C(73)139(Final), C(76)47(Final), C(76)48(Final), C(76)49(Final), C(76)50(Final) and C(78)85(Final)];

Having regard to the recommendation of the Council of 26th July 1976 on the Standardization of Packaging for the International Transport of Fresh or Refrigerated Fruit and Vegetables under the OECD Scheme for the Application of International Standards for Fruit and Vegetables, the said Recommendation aiming to apply the recommendation contained in Resolution No. 222 of the Inland Transport Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe  [Doc. No. C(76) 124(Final)];

NOTING that owing to a certain number of difficulties the development of handling and distribution operations in the fruit and vegetables sector has not yet generally reached the desirable level despite the efforts achieved in the standardization of packaging and pallets;

Considering that the transport of palletised goods is currently the most rational unit load system capable of reducing damage by decreasing the number of handling operations and of speeding up the distribution of produce, thus helping to maintain the quality of the produce and ensure its delivery to consumers in as fresh a condition as possible;

ADMITTING, also, that the initial cost of palletising packagings, though higher than for traditional loading, is easily offset by subsequent gains on the various loading and unloading operations;

RECOGNISING that as well as saving time through the avoidance of individual handling, there is also a direct impact on the reduction of the number and value of possible cases of damage and on the cost of transport, handling and distribution, which makes the development of palletisation even more imperative in the present economic situation;

CONSIDERING that all the public and private sectors concerned should contribute, each in its own field, to promoting the development of palletisation in view of the economic advantages it provides, from production down to delivery to the consumer;

On the proposal of the Committee for Agriculture;

I.            RECOMMENDS countries participating in the OECD Scheme for the Application of International Standards for Fruit and Vegetables to take all possible steps to promote the development of palletisation:

(a)        by encouraging:

           the essential adaptation and development of equipment in the public and private sectors;

           the adaptation, in the land transport area, of rail and road vehicles to conform with the optimal international dimensions with a view to permitting the rational use of standardized pallets;

           in the maritime transport area, port authorities, lighterage companies and shipping companies to make available to loaders equipment, port infrastructure and vessels adapted to the transport of palletised loads;

(b)        by approaching in the transport rates area, the national and international transport organisations in order to facilitate the implementation of preferential rates for the transport of palletised loads, intended to offset the decline in the quantity of goods transported per vehicle and also taking account of the tare of loaded pallets;

(c)        by instigating, in the commercial field, the practice of prior agreement among the parties concerned with regard to a fair distribution of the costs and savings resulting from the use of palletisation;

(d)        by undertaking or pursuing experiments designed to show users the economic and technical advantages of palletisation (increased protection of produce, greater speed of handling operation and better quality of transport of produce from the production area to the place of consumption).

II.           INSTRUCTS the national representatives responsible for the implementation of the Scheme to report to the Secretary-General where necessary on the application of this Recommendation and on any difficulties encountered. The substance of this report shall be submitted by the Secretary-General for consideration by the Scheme at a Plenary Meeting as provided by the Decision of the Council referred to above.

In adopting this Recommendation, the Council AUTHORISED its derestriction.