In the freight industry, we’re all about making things faster, smarter, and overall more efficient. If there’s a way for a shipment to be condensed or for a truckload capacity to be maximized to save you money and time – we’re all over that. Luckily, there are countless methods for making shipping more seamless, the first way being – packaging.
The way freight is packaged can really make all the difference. It can change the shipping price, how it’s handled during transit, and even where it gets placed on a freight truck. Packaging your freight is an extremely important step and not one on which you should cut corners. A variety of packaging options are available and certain packaging options are best suited to the commodity you’re shipping.
For maximum protection, a shipping crate is the way to go. While, on its own, a wooden crate provides substantial protection for your cargo, stuffing it full of protective material, such as packing peanuts, offers even more security for your freight.
Although not the most protective method for packaging, boxes are sufficient for individual items that will then be combined onto one pallet, then further reinforced.
When you have an oversized item that won’t fit within the confinements of a crate, a shipping pallet is the option for you. Additionally, shipping pallets are a wise choice when you have several smaller boxes that you want to consolidate and shrink wrap into one handling unit. Pro tip: Be sure to thoroughly bubble wrap your freight before shrink-wrapping it to the pallet.
Drums or Shipping Barrels
A great option for shipping large amounts of liquid, such as oil or chemicals, is a drum or shipping barrel. If your liquids are categorized as hazardous materials, they will cost more to ship and may need to be transported by a carrier that is licensed to handle hazmat freight. Be sure to talk with your Freight Agent about what options are available to you.
A risky move, albeit sometimes the only choice. Oversized freight has far and few options for packaging when it doesn’t fit within the constraints of a shipping crate or pallet. When this happens, the best option you have is to heavily wrap your item in protective layers such as bubble wrap, tarp, or blankets, then finish off with several layers of shrink wrap to secure everything together.
The Power of Palletizing Your Freight
It’s nearly a universal truth that packaging your freight on a shipping pallet freight helps to keep it more safe and secure during transit and handling. Tips for palletizing your freight:
- Keep it contained. If freight hangs over the edge of the pallet, damage may occur because there is no support for the freight while in transit.
- Flat tops rock. Be sure the top of the pallet has a flat surface. Otherwise, place single containers of freight on an outside corner, or ship them separately.
- No love for interlocking. By arranging your freight in an interlocked pattern, the pallet loses its strength. Arrange boxes in a uniform and lined up fashion for maximum strength.
- Birds of a feather flock together. Different sized boxes might not be uniform enough to achieve unit strength. Palletize boxes of similar shape together and ship other boxes separately, or on their own pallet.
- Flaps up before takeoff. All box flaps and corrugations should be facing up, as they are the most compromised side of the box.
- Cuddle your cargo. Wrap your shipment with blankets or other cushioned material to provide an extra layer of protection and buffering.
- No wiggle room. You can secure freight to the pallet with banding, shrink-wrap, or spray adhesive.
What Is a Handling Unit?
A handling unit is a bundle of freight that is individually identified and transported. What may have started as ten individually packaged boxes, might now be ten boxes shrink wrapped together onto one pallet. If you have ten individual boxes that are all going to the same location, it makes sense to bundle them onto a pallet and ship as one handling unit. Not only does this method save you money by only shipping once, it’ll also save you the stress of having to keep track of ten individual shipments.
Labeling Your Freight
The most important thing to remember about labeling your freight is to ensure that the labels provided to you by FreightCenter are attached to your freight and remain clearly visible. By taping over your labels in clear tape, you provide extra assurance that the label will remain intact. If the truck driver who picks up your freight cannot locate the attached label, you may be subject to additional charges and fees. Avoid this by securely placing two copies of the label on your freight – one on the long side, as well as on the short side.
Your freight shipment’s journey starts with how it’s packaged. The choices you make and routes you take when getting your freight ready for shipment determine how things will play out for the remainder of your freight’s time in transit. Be sure to package your freight securely and thoroughly to ensure it will be safe during its travels.