A shipping crate is often the best way to protect your goods from the bumps and bruises that happen naturally when shipping through a common carrier’s spoke and hub system of terminals. Your freight is handled by a common carrier trucker at least 4 times if just 2 terminals are involved. And keep in mind that trucks are being loaded to capacity these days, and there is the chance of heavier freight damaging yours.
A wooden crate or engine shipping crate is worth the cost if you are shipping valuable freight that is difficult to replace and must arrive undamaged. Obviously, valuable freight is worth protecting, but so is strategically important freight. For example, you are shipping to a trade show, and your company’s sales team is depending on that shipment to have a good show, then a crated shipment is your best bet.
Crates are available from Uline and many other on-line suppliers in standard sizes – they are generally well built to be picked up by a forklift from all sides. If you are regular shipper you can also build your own crates (eg - for the engine shipping) - there is always a tradeoff between expense of the materials such as the thickness of the plywood and how much you can spend – but practice makes perfect and experience will be a cumulative learning experience. You will face fewer damage claims and if there is a damage claim, your chance of success is much higher because carriers cannot deny the claim based on “insufficient or flimsy packaging.”
If you do not believe the cost of crating is justified given your experience with shipping your product, it is still a good idea to add as much cardboard on all sides of your pallet as possible and to use shrink wrap – scrap cardboard sheets that you are re-purposing can be great. Also check out this article: How to pack your freight for an LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) common carrier.
The common carriers have tariffs and in those tariffs, they refer to the National Motor Freight Traffic Association Classification system. When you tender freight to a common carrier, you are legally accepting their tariff as the governing document per established transportation law. A responsible shipper should know what the National Motor Freight Traffic Association’s packaging requirements are for the commodities they ship – not to know opens you up to a lot of liability. Contact them to find out the details of your commodity at:
Any member of the FreightRun Team can empower your conversations with the NMFTA by helping you first to narrow down the potential NMFC product codes that fit your commodities.