What is a Pallet?
A pallet is a horizontal flat framework used in container vessels to support products and containers. Stacking freight shipments on top of these frameworks is known as palletized freight.
Pallets that are sufficiently large to avoid spillage and strong enough to carry the weight of the shipment are ideal. Shipping pallets with four pallet entryways should always be a preference since they allow easy loading and unloading of shipments while lowering the chance of damage. It is also essential to know that not every pallet comes in the same dimension.
Standard Pallet Size & Dimensions
You can find pallets in various shapes and sizes and use them per the size of the cargo vessels. However, there is a standard dimension of the pallets i.e. 48×40 Grocercy Manufacture Association (GMA) which people widely use.
Using a standard dimension of pallet allows for smooth functioning of the industry since it keeps the producers, wholesalers, and retailers on the same path and makes it easy for machinery and programmed procedures to switch between pallets that various vendors make.
What is Palletized Shipping?
Palletized shipping is a process in which shippers stack many containers onto palettes and protect them during bulk shipping. Then, they wrap the pallets in a plastic film to keep the stack of containers in one place and prevent any kind of damage.
Shippers cannot use the normal shipping process for palletized shipping as they are too heavy and bulky. So they often use y third-party logistics or heavy trucks and cargo.
Is LTL the same as Palletized Shipping?
When a company has to ship cargo but has insufficient space for an entire shipment, ‘Less than Truck Load’ or LTL offers a cost-effective solution.
Freight transporters load more than one LTL shipment from different senders into one vehicle. LTL loads may change trucks en route to their final destination as the transportation business spots space on other vehicles for various portions of the journey.
Palletizing shipment is a kind of LTL shipping because shipments secured using pallets are sent via LTL, making loading and unloading easy.
When is Palletized Shipping the Best Option?
We have now understood the concept of pallets and palletized shipping and their benefits for securely shipping heavy cargo. Apart from that, there are two scenarios where palletized shipping is the best option, such as oversized products and B2B or bulk shipments:
Shopping online is limitless and effortless due to e-commerce. This gives the consumers a chance to purchase almost anything from the comfort of their home, including but not limited to furniture, bulk merchandise, and heavy electronic items.
However, due to a lack of convenience, these items are not deliverable by regular delivery services. Here, LTL makes the delivery process of such things possible by providing doorstep delivery of the items purchased using pallet-contained machines.
B2B or Bulk Shipments
Shippers palletize bulk or wholesale shipments more frequently. LTL freight is usually the most economical and efficient delivery when an online marketplace needs to deliver an order to a corporate or retail location.
The LTL Shipping Process
Since we talked about ‘Less than Truckload’ shipping, it is about time to get into its depth and understand the shipping process of LTL.
Here are the steps which the shipper will need to follow during the LTL shipping process:
- Firstly, they initially retrieve the stock-keeping units when a fulfilment centre receives an order for palletized shipping.
- Then they determine the pallets based on the number of items so they can pack the goods securely.
- Once they decide the number of pallets, they weigh the items and determine the cargo to stack the boxes of pallets accordingly.
- After they secure and load the pallets, the fulfilment centre provides the shipping information to either an agent or to a cargo company to receive economical pricing accordingly, or the fulfilment centre can contact their shipping service.
- Lastly, they produce the bill of cargo for shipment. If the fulfilment centre books a cargo, they provide the bill to RSF. However, LTL shipments require an invoice before leaving the warehouse.
How to Make Your Palletized Shipping Run Smoothly?
To improve efficiency and run smooth shipping, businesses can take several steps such as:
- Inform your fulfilment centre if you have suggestions for the best approach to ship your goods on pallets. This will allow them to acquaint themselves more with best practices for rapidly palletizing the products.
- Let your third-party logistics be aware of issues faced by you previously in shipping items on pallets, so they come up with a solution for a better operating practice to prevent the same errors.
- Provide your third-party logistics with the complete delivery information. For example, let them know if you want them to deliver the shipment to a residential address, dockyard, etc. This will help them manage the freight accordingly.
How to Choose Suitable Pallets?
The market currently offers a diverse range of pallets, allowing you to choose from a vast variety, such as different weights, dimensions, etc. However, a classically shaped pallet is the one that dominates the market.
Picking the appropriate pallet size is crucial. This is mostly because your shipment needs to be transported securely and safely. When components of your freight protrude, it could cause unnecessary damage without getting any reimbursement in return.
The following advice will assist you in selecting the ideal pallet:
Size of a pallet:
The first step is to choose the perfect size of the pallets which fits your requirements perfectly. If you pick a pallet larger than your cargo vessel, it is likely to cause damage to the products. The most typical road freight pallet is 80 cm broad by 120 cm long. Therefore, measure the dimensions of your products and choose your pallets accordingly.
Types of pallets:
There are several kinds of pallets, but the euro pallet, block pallet, and tiny pallet are the most widely used forms for pallet shipping. These pallets consist of three beams and a flat surface.
The block pallet and the stringer pallet are the two most common types of pallets.
Stringer pallet: The sides of the parallel planks get support from three long pieces of wood that make up the stringer pallet. Thanks to this configuration, the pallet may be picked up by a forklift in two different ways.
Block Pallet: Shippers use the term four-way pallet to describe the block pallet. A block of wood serves as their centre and side support. This capability allows the pallets to transport in any direction, facilitating heavier shipments.
Material of the pallet:
In most cases, shippers use wooden pallets to carry. These pallets are reasonably priced, incredibly robust, and capable of supporting a lot of weight. But a hardwood pallet might rapidly weigh heavier, making it difficult to lift by hand.
There are several substitutes that are likewise quite durable, like polythene and plastic pallets. There are also variations constructed of cardboard, styrofoam, or compressed wood. These, however, frequently have a single purpose.
How to Palletize Your Freight?
Following a specific mechanical operation sequence is crucial when palletizing LTL freight. It will enable you to secure the products properly and maintain your trust in the security of your cargo throughout the shipment.
Taking these precautions can reduce or even completely eliminate your transportation costs while simultaneously ensuring the security of your palletized load.
However, there are a few techniques that you can follow to palletize your freight securely:
Proper placement and pressure distribution
The heavier goods should go on the bottom, while the lighter ones should go on top. It will equally distribute the overall weight on a pallet, lowering the possibility of cargo damage or pallet breakage. Place delicate or unusually shaped products on the cargo top to avoid damaging pressure when shipping them.
Place layers of cardboard or thick paper on every third box, as it will lessen the strain on the bottom package and aid in assuring the security of your palletized load.
Make sure you seal your products properly, whether you use boxes, cartons, or bags. Properly stack the boxes and safeguard the corners. Don’t leave room between the cartons to prevent shifting on a pallet. Sealing essentially protects freight integrity during delivery and prevents individual cargo parts from falling out.
For safe transit, padding is a necessity. Pack boxes with flexible fabric, mainly when shipping sensitive items, as certain carriers won’t accept loose boxes without internal protection. Your packages will become denser and less vulnerable to damage during transit. You might also think about the void fillers that shippers frequently add to the crates to add more volume.
You should label each package with care instructions, such as ‘fragile’ and ‘don’t turn over’. It will assist carriers in providing careful service to your freight. You might think about tagging a pallet in addition to labeling every package. The freight checks can be made more manageable, and the carriers will need to open fewer crates by using a labeled pallet with a list of the shipping contents.
Make packages sturdy by taping them together with metal or using strapping. It would be a good idea to wrap the boxes while securing the pallet planks to improve security. It will increase cargo construction stability overall and lessen transit oscillation.
Protecting Your Palletized Freight Shipment From Damage
Damaged cargo comes with zero reimbursements which can affect the financial stability of your company and so it is advisable to protect your palletized freight shipment from damage by implementing these tips:
- Before reusing your pallets, look for any damage:
Only the pallet supporting your palletized freight shipment can guarantee its durability. Be sure to check a wooden pallet for structural issues before reusing it.
A case could fall into a crack in a pallet if even one broken board snaps beneath the weight of your cargo, making it difficult to pick up and move that pallet. On the other hand,if a forklift driver doesn’t realize that the case has moved, the case can suffer damage when they move it.
So make sure your pallet is sturdy enough for its next travel before you load it.
- Utilize corner boards for additional support:
You certainly already realize that you should pile your pallet with heavier items on the bottom, specifically if you’re dealing with oversized freight. This will prevent you from smashing lighter goods and result in a pallet that is far more solid and well-balanced.
- Wrap your package properly:
Squeezing your products to your pallet, whether by hand or machine, can protect your shipment from slipping, damage, or loss.
Best Practices for Palletizing
Here are the best practices for a safe and secure palletizing shipment:
- Choose the correct container and pack them securely
- Search for damaged pallets
- Utilize corner panels for additional support
- Label the containers
- Stack the containers uniformly
- Boxes can be bound together using flat cardboard