Costco and eight produce suppliers are enjoying faster distribution times and reduced labor needs using Air-O-Film pallet wrap.

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco Wholesale Corp. began having some suppliers use the film about 18 months ago, said Marc Garibaldi, product specialist for Sacramento, Calif.-based West Coast Supplies, marketer of Air-O-Film.

Megaplast, a Greece-based manufacturer, produces the ventilated stretch wrap.

The trials involve California-based shippers of stone fruit, citrus, berries, apples, pears and some vegetables, Garibaldi said.

Wrapping loads in the film does away with the need for corner boards, he said, eliminating 4 pounds of weight per pallet and decreasing waste.

A single employee can operate five wrapping machines, cutting the need for two or three workers, Garibaldi said.

Air-O-Film also offers increased efficiency on the unloading end.

A truck carrying 24 pallets using corner boards takes 30-50 minutes to unload, Garibaldi said, while the same load using pallets wrapped with Air-O-Film can be unloaded in 15-30 minutes.