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Pallet Shipping 101: How to Pack, Palletize & Prepare Your Freight for Shipping

Freightera May 22, 2019
Palletize & Shrink Wrap Freight Freightera Photo Palletizing

Click here for a printable version of this Pallet Shipping 101 article and here for a PDF version of the How to Pack, Palletize, & Prepare Your Freight Infographic!

[Updated May 2019]

Preparing your freight for shipping is very important to avoid any surprise upon arrival. Let’s review how to pack a pallet and package your freight.

We can never say it enough:

  • Carriers’ job is to move your freight from A to B, not to prepare it for shipment. So package your freight as well as possible.
  • Package your products and pallet for strength: your products can be damaged on the inside of each box, on the pallet, and from other pallets. So protect it from the inside out.
  • Use quality packaging materials. This is very important, especially if you’re a new shipper. It’s worth the extra time, work and cost.
    • Quality boxes, quality pallets, quality shrink wrap, quality tape…


7 Best practices to prepare your freight for transport – in boxes:


1. Your products need to be properly packed in each individual box:

  • Make sure the boxes are full, with no air in them. With air, your products can get crushed and damaged on the inside during shipping. You can cut the box and adjust the size, use packing materials like packing peanuts, bubble wrap…
  • Use enough tape otherwise it could open in the middle or tear off on the edges.

2. Stack boxes together, carefully, evenly:

  • Staggered or aligned boxes is preferred,
  • Heavier boxes at the bottom, lighter boxes at the top,
  • Make sure boxes don’t overhang or aren’t misaligned on the pallet, otherwise, the pallet can act as a bumper or boxes will move and be damaged.

3. Distribute weight evenly: inside each box and each box on the pallet

4. Use flat empty cardboard every couple of rows to solidify all lose boxes

5. Use cardboard corner beads around the pallet to strengthen the whole pallet

6. Shrink wrap it properly so it’s tight together:

  • Don’t be shy on the shrink wrap: wrap 3 to 5 times (1 or 2 times isn’t enough),
  • Use quality shrink wrap,
  • Wrap the top part of the pallet as well but not entirely so the pallet is accessible to the forklift, so the pallet doesn’t separate from the boxes when the forklift tilt to transport
  • As you wrap your boxes, twist the wrap for more strength

7. Option to strap it to the pallet with a nylon strap to help even more.


How to Pack, Palletize, Shrink Wrap Your Freight


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See also



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About The Author

Freightera offers B2B online freight shipping marketplace in North America with instant quotes from carriers of all sizes and one-click bookings. It serves manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and other businesses regularly shipping freight.


  1. Mike Belliveau March 12, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Is this information available in a poster form or a printable PDF?


  2. Sherwood Botsford February 18, 2020 at 9:35 am

    How small can a pallet or skid be? I get requests to ship live (dormant) trees, sometimes just 1. I expect that no one wants to reset their forks for small pallets. The weight is trivial. Typicall under 40 pounds.

    • Freightera February 19, 2020 at 8:51 am

      Hi Sherwood,

      The smallest pallets are usually 36 x 36 x 20 inches. If your shipment is smaller than that, it may count as a parcel shipment.
      I will forward your inquiry to Client Care and they will contact you for more information about your quote (exact dimensions and weight, pick up and delivery locations, and the date of shipping), so you could get a price estimate.

      Thank you for your interest in shipping with us!

      ~Team Freightera

  3. Jasmine August 18, 2020 at 2:29 am

    Hi, I’m teaching a course on warehousing. I’m writing to ask for permission to use this image and also the one about the types of pallets, skid and crate. Please let me know if I may use it. I love how clearly the image explains the steps and I’m sure the students will understand it more clearly from your image.
    Thank you.

    • Freightera August 20, 2020 at 9:45 am

      Hi Jasmine,

      We appreciate you reaching out to us!

      Feel free to use the images for educational purposes (with credit). We would also appreciate a backlink if the images are posted somewhere online.
      We’re glad you’ve found them useful. 🙂

  4. sam December 5, 2020 at 2:05 am

    how we can palletize pails?

    • Freightera December 7, 2020 at 8:06 am

      Hi Sam,

      The best way would be to first put them in boxes 🙂

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