Palletizing LTL Freight: Everything You Need to Know

Providing safe and secure packaging is essential for smooth freight transportation. When shipping with less-than-truckload, packing is even more important because there are multiple shipments combined in a trailer. Preparation simplifies handling, loading, and unloading, and prevents cargo damage. The most common way of packing LTL freight is palletizing.

It is crucial for adequate loading and is highly recommended for shippers. Palletizing can help reduce overall shipping costs, since a pallet is considered a single piece, regardless of the number of packages on it. Some carriers require mandatory palletizing, so knowing the basics will help you avoid confusion while shipping LTL freight.

Palletizing LTL Freight: Everything You Need to Know

When should I use pallets?

Basically, every time you’re moving multiple packages through LTL shipping services. Shipping pallets will make handling easier and faster and will mitigate your worry about your shipment’s safety.

How to choose the right pallets?

Normal pallets are wooden or plastic, are 48 x 40 inches in size, and can typically fit around 4,700 lbs. Choosing the right pallet plays a large part in the packing process. Here are some important rules to keep in mind while picking pallets for your freight:

  • Boxes shouldn’t hang off the pallet edge. Otherwise, it can suffer serious damage. Make sure the cargo size does not exceed the pallet size.
  • Freight shouldn’t take less than 65-70% of pallet space. If your cargo is not wide enough, try another pallet size or fix your boxes in another way.
  • Don’t use old or used pallets, as they can easily crack and cause freight damage.
  • Follow weight recommendations for the pallet and do not exceed the stated limit.

How to palletize your freight?

  • It’s better to put the heaviest items on the bottom, and the lightest ones on the top.
  • Put layers of cardboard or thick paper between every second or third pack. This will help reduce pressure on the bottom package and will help ensure the safety of your palletized load.
  • If you use boxes, cartons, or bags, make sure you have properly sealed them. Protect the corners and stack the boxes properly. Don’t leave empty space between the cartons to avoid shifts on a pallet.
  • Padding your packages is a must for secure transportation. Some carriers wouldn’t take loose boxes with no internal protection, so make sure to stuff cartons with soft material, especially when items are fragile.
  • Label each pack with instructions for handling, like “fragile,” “do not turn upside down,” etc. This will help carriers to serve your freight carefully.
  • Use strapping or metal taping to make packages hold together. Wrapping the packages and capturing the pallet would be a good move to strengthen the protection.
  • Finally, consider using automated palletizers that effectively simplify the process of packing your freight for shipping.

With these measures, you will not only be sure your palletized load is safe but also simplify transporting and handling for carriers, which can eliminate your shipping spending.

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