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]
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.
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