Buyers and sellers have a lot to consider when shipping cargo, however, packaging material should also be given great consideration, in order to mitigate loss and damage. Product packaging serves an essential role in the supply chain, and is a key link for distribution, and damage and replacement costs.

What role does packaging play when shipping cargo?

• Optimal packaging can cushion cargo during handling

Cargo gets handled at so many points when transferred from the shipper to the consignee, that even if there is accidental rough handling at one-point, consequential impact to the cargo can be prevented. Impact resistant packaging is also especially crucial when handling delicate / fragile cargo.

Waterproof, polypropylene bags placed inside larger corrugated boxes, or bubble wrapped envelopes for smaller items can help preserve the integrity of the product.

• Optimal packaging prevents the cargo from moving / shifting, and potentially impacting other cargo

 Cargo can often be individually wrapped and packed on pallets, thereby, any loss, is isolated and limited to a unit, as opposed to the entire cargo.

Plastic wrapping atop individual cartons, secured by plastic ties, is often used. However, it is essential to ensure that the plastic wrap extends all the way to the bottom of the pallet. Often times, the cargo placed on the upper tiers remains intact, however, there can be damage to the bottom exposed corners of the cartons.

• Proper packaging ensures that the cargo load gets evenly distributed on pallets

When loading cargo aboard a shipping container, handlers are mindful to load the heavier items at the bottom, and lighter items atop, so as to evenly distribute the freight load. The weight of the cargo must be evenly distributed, and air pockets minimized with cushioning. Optimal packaging weighs as a factor in cargo distribution by “holding up” when it is time to perform.  It allows for the ideal placement of cargo whether it be in a container, a shipping hold, flatbed truck, or a pallet.

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