Whether you’re a first-time shipper or part of industry from a very long time, adequate packaging is needed to prevent damages while considering external factors such as conditions that your shipment may be exposed to and the amount of handling involved.
1. Why is proper packaging so important?
It’s for the security and safety of the goods that you’re transporting and to avoid claims, damages, and losses.
Some people try to save money on packaging without looking at the big picture. When preparing your packaging, it is really important to consider the type of cargo that you’re shipping and also its transit.
If you are shipping FCL, for example, there are fewer handling points and minimal pickup and drop off. But if you are shipping domestic LCL, there will be multiple people handling the freight. That, as well as the number of times the cargo will be loaded and unloaded from the truck, must be considered.
2. How important are labeling and padding?
They are really important. Workers at the dock, airport, or carriers and freight forwarders, do not know what commodity they are handling when loading or unloading.
If you have cargo that needs to be handled differently, make sure to include labels such as ‘this way up’, ‘handle with care, ‘fragile’, ‘do not double stack’, so that they know to handle the pallet with care.
It’s also really important to have those on all sides of the crate or pallet for better visibility.
3. How often do shipments get damaged due to lack of proper packaging?
Every day. There is a great deal of loading and unloading involved in the transportation industry. During transportation, cargo is constantly being shifted, compressed, and jolted around from external changes. And not to mention it is also exposed to changes in humidity and temperatures.
It is very common for us to see packaging mistakes that will result in claims being filed. From our experience, trucking and insurance companies often deny these claims on the basis of inadequate packaging as an excuse.
That’s, unfortunately, the reality of it. So to reduce the probability of having to file a claim, make sure to use proper packaging.
When shipping household goods, for example, most people are reluctant to spend too much money. So they just end up buying boxes and tape at the local store and doing their own packaging and they expect to receive their goods in perfect condition.
But then they get a shock when they open the boxes at their destination and see something broken. The lesson here is: when you do not pack freight correctly, there are many problems that can arise.
4. What are some of the most common mistakes made in packaging?
One of the most common mistakes is having parts of the cargo overhanging or having misaligned boxes. These may cause the boxes to fall and get damaged, especially when being handled by a forklift.
We also see some people stacking too much weight on the same pallet or placing oversized cargo on pallets. Cargo that is too long, too big, or too heavy, is very hard to handle and two forklifts may sometimes even be required, hence increasing the risk of damages.
Another common mistake is double stacking freight that is not meant to be double stacked or loading boxes on pallets without any shrink wrap or any other kind of proper securing.
5. Advise for Shippers on Packaging?
When shipping overseas, many shippers do not realize the conditions their cargo go through. They prepare their cargo as if they were shipping domestic and fail to consider the international journey.
International transportation is very different from domestic transportation. When shipping overseas, it is important to make the extra effort to secure and use the right type of packaging.
The type of commodity must also be considered. Shipping screws or bolts differs greatly from shipping medical equipment or special machinery. When shipping expensive or fragile goods, I would recommend investing a little more in packaging to make sure goods arrive securely at their destination.