LTL freight is usually handled multiple times during transit as it passes through one or more freight terminals and ultimately to its final destination. It’s the nature of the service. LTL freight is picked up and taken to a terminal where it is sorted and consolidated into truckloads. It may also be sorted and consolidated additional times at intermediate hub terminals while in route.
Proper packaging is crucial to help ensure your LTL freight arrives at its destination in pristine condition. Goods need to be packaged in such a way that they are protected from shock and vibration, impact, crushing, scuffing, condensation or humidity.
The items being shipped should always be shipped in a protective container: box, carton, crate, etc. If a shipment consists of multiple boxes or cartons, it is a good practice to palletize the goods or pack the merchandise into crates. Heavy equipment/machinery or multiple boxes each weighing more than 200 lbs. should be crated and/or secured on a pallet.
Any fragile or breakable items should be packed inside new, sturdy boxes or shipping cartons. Each item should be individually wrapped in at least two inches of bubble wrap or foam padding and placed snugly inside the box or carton. The sides, bottom and top of the box or carton should also be lined with additional bubble wrap or foam padding for additional cushioning. For additional protection, you can double box fragile items using a second larger box approx. Five inches longer, wider and taller than the first box. Place the first box inside the second box and fill the remaining space with at least 2+ inches of cushioning material. Seal both boxes with heavy duty shipping tape. Items typically considered as fragile include:
- Glass items
- TVs and electronics
- Computers and peripherals
- Small furniture
- Misc. household goods
- Personal effects
Non-fragile or non-breakable items should be packed inside new, sturdy boxes or shipping cartons. Any items that could be affected by dirt or moisture should be enclosed in plastic bags before being placed in boxes. Items containing liquids should also be placed in plastic bags before being placed in boxes to prevent leaks. Bubble wrap, foam padding or other cushioning material should be used to fill spaces inside the boxes and to prevent movement of items inside during transit. Seal boxes with heavy-duty shipping tape. Non-breakable items include:
- Tools and hardware
- Small machinery parts
- Granular products
- Canned products
- Paper products
- Plastic products
Items to be palletized or crated should be boxed and padded or cushioned as appropriate. Pallets should be sturdy and in good condition. When stacking boxes on pallets, stack the cartons squarely with no overhang. Place larger heavier items at the bottom of the pallet and lighter smaller items on top. Secure boxes, cartons or crates to pallets using the appropriate strapping, stretch wrap or shrink warp. Unless you have experience fabricating shipping crates, we recommend that you hire a professional crating company to produce crates. Items that need to be palletized or crated include:
- Heavy equipment or machinery
- Large furniture
These are only general guidelines. Companies must monitor their current system and discover where improvements and changes need to be made.