A north Florida-based watermelon packer has returned to shipping its melons in Chep pallets.

Natures Choice Produce Inc., Pensacola, Fla., rejoined Chep Equipment Pooling systems, Orlando, Fla., this season.

To save on transportation costs and to avoid losing two bins per load because of Chep’s heavier pallet, Doug Dickerson, Natures Choice’s owner, said the packer in the last couple of years decided not to reorder Chep pallets.

Chep’s inventory, he said, had become weathered and Nature’s Choice found it could secure quality used pallets for the same price.

However, retailers, Dickerson said, prefer Chep pallets and that Chep holds the liability in case of a distribution center accident.

“To offset that, Chep has lowered the price a good bit lower than a used pallet,” Dickerson said. “That makes up for using a bin or two on our freight because we are paying less on the rental of Chep pallets.”

Dickerson said he also likes how Chep supports the Plant City, Fla.-based National Watermelon Association’s research, promotion, trade, and consumer promotion programs.

Natures Choice packs for growers in Immokalee, Fla., Zolfo Springs, Fla., Dunnellon, Fla., Malone, Fla., Kennett, Mo., and Vincennes, Ind.