Prepare Your LTL Freight Like A Pro
No matter how great your product is, if it doesn’t arrive to your customer in its standard condition, your hard work will be for nothing because no one appreciates a damaged product. Whether you’re a first-time shipper or an experienced one, preparing your freight safely and securely should always remain a priority. Sure, it may be a tedious and time-consuming process. But it’s something you can’t rush or compromise because the integrity of your shipment depends on it.
To keep your freight safe and secure throughout the entire shipping process, there are two main requirements: proper packaging and proper labelling.
As much as possible, LTL freight should be put on pallets, especially when you have multiple items being shipped. Using a pallet is advisable for these reasons:
- With pallets, loading and unloading your shipment is faster because pallets are designed in a way that makes lifting by forklift easy.
- Putting your freight on pallets minimizes the risk not just of product damage, but of worker injury as well, because your shipment will involve less handling.
- Palletized freight fits snugly and helps maximize space better. Carriers like this, which is why they tend to make room for palletized freight so it sits comfortably, while loose pieces get wedged in between or stacked on top of other freight, exposing such items to higher risk of damage.
- When you are shipping multiple freight, stacking them on a pallet ensures that your items will be shipped together. This, in turn, will help prevent loss, or items arriving at their destination at different times.
To make palletized packing work for you, do the following:
- Choose good quality pallet — big enough that your freight will not hang over the edge, strong enough to hold the weight of your entire shipment, and one with four-way forklift entry, meaning it can be accessed from any direction for easy handling. Don’t forget to check for broken pieces, uneven spots or protruding nails that can cause damage to your items.
- Stack your products in the most optimal way, with evenly distributed weight. The top layer should be flat to avoid damage. If possible, use boxes or cartons that can be interlocked or stacked like a column. For irregularly shaped items, stack them as best as you can, then use a cardboard protector both on top and the bottom.
- Secure your freight with strong straps, stretch wraps or bands to ensure that nothing falls off or gets separated.
In case you opt not to use pallets, here are a few things you can do to secure your shipment:
- Use cushioning materials, preferably at least 2 inches thick. Examples are layers of folded newspaper, sheets of Styrofoam, corrugated fiberboard or packing blankets.
- Use shipping containers, crates or corrugated boxes that can support the entire weight of your shipment.
- Seal all openings with packaging or reinforced tape.
- Make sure old shipping details are completely removed or marked out to avoid confusion regarding what information is current.
Here is an additional packing tip: If you are shipping fragile or delicate items, protect your shipment by using bubble wrap or wrapping in padding and lining the box with some other material (like styrofoam or air pillows) to fill any vacant spaces. This way, even if your shipment gets moved around, handed over several times, or even dropped accidentally, there’s less risk that it will get damaged or deformed.
Your shipment’s label is its identifying feature. As such, the information you put on the label should be accurate and complete. This should include the following:
- Complete name, address and telephone number of both the shipper and the recipient (consignee)
- Carrier contact number
- Special handling requirements or precautionary markings (ex. fragile, tilt-sensitive, etc.)
Aside from complete information, your label placement should be consistent so it will be easy to spot. Markings should be clear and legible. Use waterproof inks or paints, and opt for colors that are highly visible. If you’re using a pallet, each pallet should have a label on top. If you’re shipping loose items, each piece should have its own label.
If you are to use tags, choose strong ones — made of metal, leather or cloth. All labels should be placed securely, without any risk of being accidentally removed, torn or becoming unreadable. Use strong adhesive, glue or metal straps.
If you happen to be unsure or if you have any questions on how to properly prepare your freight prior to shipping, we’ll be happy to extend our assistance because helping ensure that your shipment has been securely packaged is part of the service we provide. We’ll take care of your package and make sure it gets delivered in perfect condition.