Proper packaging and labeling is essential, not only to keep your supply chain in motion but to protect your shipments. Whether you are a first-time shipper or a logistics pro, properly preparing your shipments for pickup can be a hassle. But when done correctly, it can make your job easier and prevent headaches.
When possible LTL shipments should always travel on a pallet or skid.
Reasons for using a pallet:
- A pallet can be used to anchor your freight with shrink wrap or banding to prevent shifting and potential damage during travel.
- Multiple pieces can be stacked or joined together on a pallet to keep them travelling together to their final destination which will aid in preventing loss.
- Carriers prefer palletized freight that fits comfortably and help cube
their trailers. Loose pieces will often be stacked on other freight or wedged in to make room for palletized freight which could cause damage to your shipment.
- LTL carriers operate in a terminal network, and freight may move through multiple terminals requiring loading and unloading before a final destination is reached. Forklifts are used for loading and unloading, and pallets are built to be easily maneuvered by forklifts.
Tips to make sure your pallet is strong and your pieces are protected from damage:
- Use standard wood or plastic pallets for more stable transportation.
- Align boxes in columns, corner to corner, for the greatest stacking strength.
- Make sure the corners of the pieces do not overhang the sides of the pallet.
- Keep the top layer flat to prevent damage.
- Use strapping or banding to secure your shipment to the pallet.
If you are not able to palletize your freight, here are some tips to make sure your packages are protected from damage.
- Use corrugated boxes, crates, or shipping containers.
- Remove all old labels and markings before attaching the new shipping information.
- Use at least two inches of cushioning material.
- Use packaging tape to secure all seals and seams of the package.
Keeping your label placement consistent is important. Place labels securely on the long and short sides of the pieces. When shipping on a pallet, label each pallet on the top. When sending loose pieces, attach labels to each piece in the shipment.
Information that should be included on your pieces include:
- Telephone number and address information of the shipper and the consignee
- Carrier pro number
- Special handling requirements such as tilt sensitive or fragile items
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