LTL Packaging: Freight’s First Line of Defense

Whether we’re talking cases of red chili sauce, boxes of brake rotors, or a handcrafted statue of a whale (yes, we’ve moved that!), how freight is packaged can make all the difference when shipping Less-than-Truckload (LTL). Think of the packaging as a line of defense against the transportation elements: forklifts, shifting pallets, unloading a trailer, all the transitions that an LTL shipment goes through from start to finish. Correct and adequate packaging is something that should be a top priority for shippers and manufacturers that work within any freight space (not just LTL) to ensure freight ships and arrives just as it left their facility.

All freight is different; different values, different shapes and sizes, different ways of packaging. There are countless variations of packaging, but here are some general guidelines to follow:

Palletized/Crated/Boxed/Toted
  • This allows carriers to easily move freight on and off their trailers
  • It keeps the freight contained into larger shipping units, reducing the possibility of a misplaced piece
Shrink-wrapped and banded
  • Adds rigidity and stability to palletized freight
  • Shrink-wrap can prevent any unwanted moisture or dust contact
  • Bands keep the freight from shifting or moving off a pallet
Marked with clear and accurate labels and packing slips
  • Ensures freight gets to where it needs to go
Minimal freight overhang on the pallet (less than 3 inches on any side)
  • Overhang can make it difficult to get forklifts and pallet jacks under the freight
  • Excessive overhang can cause freight to tip over and/or raises the risk of damage
Besides providing a great level of physical protection, beefing up freight packaging can have immense benefits for your business.

Don’t let poor packaging “claim” you as a victim
Great packaging can protect a shipper’s freight from transportation damages, inherently cutting down on costly freight claims. Think of good robust packaging as a business investment. Putting the time, process, and money into proper freight packaging can really go a long way in preventing any damages caused while in transit. In the unfortunate event that freight damage does occur, claims that contain properly packaged freight have a much better chance of being won and paid. According to the Carmack Amendment, an act or default of a shipper, such as improper freight packaging, is one reason why freight damage claims get denied by carriers.

Packed like peas in a pod.
Having all the product densely packaged and contained onto shrink-wrapped pallets or enclosed crates can reduce the risk of having misplaced or missing freight. Think of a shipment of boxes as a Jenga puzzle: nice, neat, and well-stacked but without anything to support it, it can easily fall over, or a piece can be misplaced. Take that same Jenga puzzle and wrap it in shrink-wrap, throw some shipping bands around it, and slap it on top of a pallet. Now it’s nice, neat, well-stacked, and contained into one dense and stable shipping unit that can easily be transported.

Build better relationSHIPs.
Effective and excellent freight packaging can also produce positive business reception from consumers and consignees. Something as simple as how freight is packaged to ship can create a lasting impression on consumers and receivers. It conveys a sense of quality and care in the goods that a shipper manufactures and sells.

Packaging is often a shipper’s first line of defense against transportation mishaps. If you’re ready to learn more about how to effectively package LTL freight, contact us at LTLOps@trinitylogistics.com. Need a quote? Click here.