Palletizing LTL and Truckload Shipments
From the largest shippers to the smallest ones, LTL or truckload, when it comes to palletizing your shipments, everyone occasionally gets it wrong.
Not paying attention to important palletizing details when you're preparing a shipment for transport can cause any number of unnecessary problems. Worst case scenario, you can wind up with damaged product, costing your company time, money and your most prized possession, your company’s reputation. You can also experience longer loading and unloading times, as well as creating underutilized trailer space. Getting it right is important, and even though the process is becoming more automated every year, most shipments still are prepared manually.
Did you know, for example, that each layer of stretch film wrapping should overlap the one before it by at least fifty percent? Or that when wrapping on the way down the pallet, you should create a pull-down effect with the tension so that the freight is more anchored on the pallet? Here are the most important things to be aware of and to avoid!
- Don’t use pallets of different shapes, sizes and materials in the same shipment. Use one that best fits your product’s needs.
- Make sure pallets have forklift access on all four sides.
- Don’t use pallets that are slippery in nature. Slick plastic pallets versus wooden ones, for example, can allow product to slide back and forth and become damaged. *Important: Always check with your customer. Some receivers and warehouses only allow certain kinds of pallets for delivery.
- Don’t allow overhanging product, if possible. It can put your product at risk and decrease the pallet strength.
- Don’t interlock boxes. Interlocking can reduce the boxes strength by 50 percent, so don’t do it. Stacking boxes in columns with one box on top of the other, then rotating layers, provides the best shipping stability.
- Don’t stack product in a top-heavy order. Make sure the heaviest products get loaded first and are on the bottom of the pallet.
- Don’t stack pallets too high (96” maximum) or in a pyramid. The top of the pyramid has a high risk of damage. The pyramid shape may look safe and secure, but they are not as stable as column stacking.
Securing your shipment:
- Shrink wrapping – Shrink wrapping your shipment is one of the best precautions you can take to protect your product. Be sure to go around the pallet at least five times from top to bottom and as mentioned above, pull down on the shrink wrap as you go around the product to help anchor it onto the pallet.
- Banding – You also can band your shipment for extra protection. Metal banding is the most secure option, but plastic banding is also frequently used. Using both banding and shrink wrapping together offer the ultimate protection.
By making sure you adhere to these best practices, you can increase efficiency, profit margin and ensure your product’s safety.