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Refresher Course: Packaging Guidelines for Shipping Freight

Categories: BCO/Shipper.

Shipping freight is the lifeblood of the third party logistics industry, and there’s no shortage of articles on the internet today covering every conceivable topic. With so much energy and writing focused on topics like the Internet of Things, Smart Shelving, and other technologically-bent topics, it never hurts to take a moment to focus on an essential area of knowledge – Packaging.

The secret to effective packaging is mastering the equation that balances cost and safety. By understanding how to pack freight efficiently, you’ll minimize overhead while focusing your efforts on customer satisfaction. While you may have learned best practices for packaging freight your very first day on the job, a refresher is always helpful to make sure you’re doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of the cargo you’re responsible for.

The Essentials

How well you pack your cargo is closely tied to the materials you use to do the job. Make sure to use the right materials for the job, and only re-use disposable packaging like corrugated cardboard when it’s in like-new condition. Make sure your containers are a good fit for their contents, and be careful not to overpack. While it might seem like a good strategy to get as much as possible in each container, overfilling containers can seriously increase the risk of damaging your cargo.

Make sure you’re using the best material for the shipment in question, whether it’s packing peanuts, molded plastic, or any number of other great solutions to ensure your cargo gets to its destination safely. In order to determine what material is best, first consider your cargos physical characteristics, including fragility and susceptibility to environmental factors like temperature and moisture. It’s wise to also consider what impact the method of transportation will have on the package – loads packed in trucks tend to vibrate, for example.

Check the Specs

One of the most crucial elements of packaging is to ensure that your system is going to work well with your partners’ infrastructure. As the role of 3PL services continues to grow within the global shipping industry, you can rely on your providers to help visualize the entire supply chain effectively and package wisely for every stage of the journey.

Thanks to the rise of Intermodal Containers, a lot of the guesswork associated with deciding how to best package your shipment has been rendered obsolete. However, due to the uniformity of almost all packaged goods in warehouses and other shipping facilities, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re labeling your goods well to promote maximum visibility

As warehouses and other elements in the supply chain become increasingly dependant on advanced technologies to identify and organize cargo to facilitate maximum efficiency, it’s important to remember that good packaging doesn’t stop at the box. EDI integration & smart warehouse technology only work the way they’re supposed to if packages and containers are labelled, RFID-tagged, and/or barcoded correctly. A well-packed, well labelled container is a beautiful thing.

If you need a partner to help you strategically manage and successfully move your products out of the port and onto their final destination, be sure to download our ebook - Speeding Time-to-Shelf and Cutting Costs- a must read for today’s logistics managers.