What is Drive-in & Drive-Through Racking?

What is Drive-In & Drive-Through Racking?

Drive-in and drive-through racking systems are types of pallet storage systems used in warehouses and distribution centers to store and organize large quantities of palletized freight. The primary objective of these systems is to maximize storage space and allow forklifts or other similar equipment to easily access and retrieve pallets. 

Drive-In Racking

In a drive-in racking setup, pallets are stored on horizontal rails which extend deep into the racking structure. Forklifts drive directly into the storage lanes to load or unload pallets. With this type of system relying on a last-in, first-out (LIFO) method, pallets placed last in the storage lane will be the first ones retrieved. This makes drive-in racking a good option for warehouses that storage large quantities of the same product. An example of drive-in racking usage would be cold storage setups, where the need for high-density storage is often combined with limited access requirements.

Pros of Drive-In Racking

  1. High storage density, due to fewer aisles being required to access the skids.
  2. Very efficient way to storage large quantities of the same product, reducing wasted space. This can lead to cost savings in terms of both space and construction expenses.
  3. Through limiting the need for separate picking aisles, drive-in racking simplifies the warehouse layout. This can improve operational flow and reduce the time spent traveling between picking locations.

Limitations of Drive-In Racking

  1. Drive-in racking is generally limited in height due to the need for forklifts to maneuver within the rack structure. This can limit the vertical storage space in your facility.
  2. Lower visibility, due top the densely packed pallets and limited access points, visibility within the rack can be reduced.
  3. Retrieving specific pallets from within the rack can be slower compared to systems that allow direct access to each pallet.

Drive-Through Racking

Drive-through racking is very similar to drive-in racking, but it allows forklifts to enter from both sides of the storage lanes. This creates a first-in,  first-out storage (FIFO) system, where pallets can be loaded from one side of the row and retrieved from the opposite side. This system can be a great option for systems with expiration dates or where inventory turnover is crucial.

Pros of Drive-Through Racking

  1. Drive-through racking allows for both FIFO and LIFO access. This makes it a more versatile and suitable system for storing products with varying shelf life or expiration dates. 
  2. The ability to access the racking from both ends reduces the time required for loading and unloaded. This can lead to an improved operational efficiency and faster order fulfillment. 
  3. Drive-through racking can be expanded or reconfigured more easily than drive-in racking due to its two sided access design. this provides greater flexibility in adapting to changing storage needs.

Limitations of Drive-Through Racking

  1. Drive-through racking requires ample space for maneuvering forklifts to access both sides of the racking structure. This can limited the amount of usable storage space within your facility.
  2. Drive-through racking does offer increased selectivity, but creates more complexity in the operational flow, especially if not well-organized. The need to manage both FIFO and LIFO systems can lead to inefficiencies if not properly planned
  3. Drive-through racking has limitations in adapting to rapidly changing storage needs of different types of products.


In conclusion, drive-in and drive-through racking systems are suited for situations where high-density storage is required and product selectivity can be managed within the limitations of the storage method. The chocie between these systems depends on factors such as the types of products being stored, the required storage capcity, the frequency of product turnover and the available warehouse space. 

Looking to learn more about transportation? We are always open to answering any questions! Reach out to us today through operations@wood-hall.com or give us a call at 519-213-1000!


-The Team at Wood-Hall Logistics


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Wood-Hall Logistics is a full-service logistics and freight management company, offering a range of transportation solutions, based on the customer's specific needs. Built on our reputation within the transportation industry and our network of quality carriers, Wood-Hall Logistics ensures that all shipments are handled with utmost care. Ship with us today!

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