You can avoid damaged freight through proper packing and palletization of your shipment. Here are a few tips to help you prevent damaged freight.
Stacking to Prevent Damaged Freight
Which stacking method you utilize will depend on the contents of the boxes.
- If the box contents are solid and rigid, such as books or cans of paint, an interlocking stacking method is recommended. For the interlocking stacking method, boxes are stacked like bricks, with the weight of each box being partially supported by more than one box below. This method gives the stack better stability.
- For soft or fragile box contents, the column stacking method is recommended. In the column stacking method, a series of columns are built on the pallet; the weight of each box is supported by only one box beneath it. This method improves the strength of the boxes by up to 50% compared with the interlocking method.
- Avoid Overhang. Ensure that boxes do not hang over the edge of the pallet. Pallet overhang can reduce box strength by up to 32%. The overhanging box also has an increased risk of freight damage from other shipments.
- Keep the top flat. Keeping the top of your stack flat will protect your freight from being damaged by freight stacked on top.
Prevent Damaged Freight with the Right Pallet
Not all pallets are made equal, so make sure you choose one that can endure the shipping environment and the weight of your freight.
- Avoid wooden pallets without bottom boards. These pallets do not evenly distribute weight. As a result, side-to-side strength is reduced.
- Avoid corrugated pallets. It’s common for moisture to cause the material in these types of pallets to break down, reducing side-to-side strength and increasing the risk of damaged freight.
- The standard wooden pallet developed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association is recommended and holds up well to most shipping conditions and movement by forklifts.
- Plastic pallets are also recommended. However, the top deck may be slippery, so if using plastic pallets, be sure to pay special attention to ensuring that your shipment is properly secured.
- Whatever pallet type you choose, make sure it is strong enough to support your shipment. Some pallet types are weaker than others and can increase the risk of freight damage.
Protecting & Stabilizing the Stack
Now that you’ve stacked your freight properly onto the right pallet, make sure you take the right steps to secure and protect it.
- Top and bottom load-protector pads – using masonite or corrugate sheets can help to protect the top and bottom boxes in the stack.
- The bottom pad will prevent any boxes from falling into gaps in the pallet.
- The top pad will protect the top boxes from other shipments that may be loaded on top. It will also help to evenly distribute the weight of any freight that is loaded on top.
- Use banding to secure the load to the pallet. Be sure to keep the banding as close as possible to the freight in order to avoid breakage.
- Stretch wrap or shrink wrap should be used to keep all the boxes together and stabilized on the pallet. For proper security, the stretch wrap should overlap by 3” over the top of the pallet’s base. It should also overlap by 3” at the top of the load.