Shipping pallets are a staple of the shipping industry. They're used to move everything from books to furniture, and they're an essential part of the supply chain. There's a lot more to pallet shipping than meets the eye, though! But if you've never dealt with pallet shipping before, it can seem like a mysterious and complicated process. From understanding the different types of pallets, to determining the best way to pack them, and how to class them – you need to hold up a moment and get your head around this shipping concept before you make costly mistakes.
Whether you want to use them for your business or just want to know more about how they work, this guide will give you all the info you need on pallet shipping.
What is Pallet Shipping?
In the world of shipping, there are many moving parts. You've got different cargo types, a wide range of shipping services that you can use to transport your items from point A to point B, and then there's the whole business of getting everything packed up in the first place.
Pallets are used as the base for goods shipped in a palletized shipment. A pallet is a platform that holds goods or materials for easier transportation, storage, and handling. It's typically made of wood with metal supports underneath to help distribute weight evenly throughout its structure.
So how do those pallets get onto a truck and sent off into the wild blue yonder? That's where pallet shipping comes in!
Pallet shipping is an efficient way for businesses to move goods around using bulk containers like standard-sized wooden pallets or plastic skids that can be stacked on top of each other during transport. The pileable nature allows you to pack more packages into less space-and if you're looking for an environmentally friendly option, these reusable crates are just as green (or greener). than cardboard boxes or plastic tubs.
Pallets also eliminate waste by keeping deliveries compact and distributing weight evenly throughout their structure so no single piece gets overloaded with all that heavy lifting!
How to Palletize a Shipment
Knowing is the first step to doing better! So we’re here to share with you how to palletize a shipment so you can be prepared for a safe, well-sealed shipment. That’s only half the battle, but it’s an important one that you can often control.;
Of course, you can always work with a trusted 3PL provider like Moto. We can help with everything from getting your freight to where it needs to go, to planning how it will get there, and pretty much everything in between.
If you’re preparing your own pallets, common supplies used in pallet shipping can include:
- Shrink wrap
- Filler material
- Poly tape
- Extra cardboard
Pallet Shipping Step #1: Pack Boxes
Start by packing your boxes properly. This may seem basic, but don’t overlook the importance of this step! If your boxes aren’t packed properly, then your items don’t have a chance at making it to their destination undamaged.;
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're packing up freight for pallet shipping:
- Make sure all sharp edges and protrusions are padded.
- Use appropriate filler material to fill all empty spaces.
- For shipping, chipboard boxes (e.g. facial tissue or gift boxes) must be placed in an over corrugated box.
- Make sure the boxes you choose are strong, undamaged, and stackable.
- It is advisable to pack items in the center of the box, keeping about 3" between the contents and the walls of the box.
- Wrap and pack all items separately and ensure each article is surrounded by cushioning material.
Pallet Shipping Step #2: Seal Up
Nothing is worse than painstakingly packing something up, only for it to spill out later. Whether you’re talking about packing your supplies for a camping trip or shipping pallets, you want to ensure your boxes are all sealed properly.;
The best way to seal your package is to use the “H-taping” method. This covers all flaps and seams.;
You can seal your boxes for pallet shipping with the H-taping method:
- Seal the seam in the center with the first strip
- Apply two strips of tape to both ends of the edge seams
- The process should be repeated on the top of the box as well
Pallet Shipping Step #3: Choose the Right Foundation
Choosing the right pallet can be half of the pallet shipping equation! After all, it’s kind of the foundation to your whole shipment, and if something goes wrong with the pallet, it can spell major trouble for your shipment. The key thing to remember is that you want to select a sturdy and damage-free forkliftable pallet.
The table below shows an outline of three different types of pallets for shipping.;
Types of Pallets for Shipping
Compared to wooden and plastic pallets, metal pallets can handle more weight. They’re also less expensive, easier to clean, and do not corrode. Their major disadvantage is that they’re hard to repair, and heavier, which can increase shipping costs.
Among the advantages of wooden pallets are their durability, the ability to handle heavy loads, and the fact that they can be repaired, recycled, and reused easily. The biggest disadvantage is their weight, which may increase shipping costs. As well, wood is easily damaged by moisture, and splinters and other pallet deformations may cause injuries.
As well as being lighter and safer to handle than wooden pallets, plastic pallets are resistant to humidity and corrosion. Although they are not as easy to repair as wooden pallets, they are also non-recyclable and more expensive than their metal and wooden counterparts.;
Pallet Shipping Step #4: Load Up
The next step is to load your pallet properly. Just imagine the game “Jenga” in this step – one wrong move, and your boxes could tumble and break into a mess. That’s why you should keep best practices in mind for loading your pallets.
Best practices for how to palletize your shipment:
- Organize your pallet by putting the heaviest boxes at the bottom
- Boxes should be stacked evenly and there should be no space between them
- Make sure all boxes are on the pallet completely without any overhangs
- Protect your shipment even further by adding cardboard edge protectors or paperboard
- Don't forget to keep your carrier's weight specifications in mind, and if you're not sure, ask!
Pallet Shipping Step #4: Wrap it Up
One aspect of pallet shipping you can’t forget is wrapping it for shipment. Putting the boxes snugly together with the added protection of shrink wrap is key. But don’t choose any old shrink wrap for the job! Choose a higher gauge shrink wrap in order to have a safe, well-protected pallet.
Here’s some other tips to wrap your pallet for pallet shipping:
- Wrap the lowest boxes at least three times, starting at the bottom
- On each pass, overlap the previous layer of wrap by half
- The top tier of boxes should be wrapped three times, ensuring that the top corners overlap 3"
- Wrap the load again and secure it to the pallet by encircling it at least three times and creating a three-inch overhang.
Pallet Shipping Step #5: Label Properly
Labelling your pallet appropriately is key to both making sure your cargo gets to its destination and is handled appropriately along the way.
Things to note on your label may include:
- Dangerous goods
- Do not stack
- Destination information
- Customs declaration and other information for the border crossing
Multiple Pallet Freight Class Calculator
To calculate the density and class, follow these steps outlined below.
Alternatively, you can use our freight density calculator for a quick and easy result. Then, Moto can work with you to ensure your freight is classed correctly and ready for shipping.
The steps to calculating multiple pallet freight class are outlined below:
- You should first measure the height, width, and depth of the shipment. When taking these measurements, be sure to take measurements to the furthest points, including pallets or packaging. If a shipment is made up of multiple pieces, repeat step one for each piece.
- Multiply the height, width, and depth of the shipment to get the total cubic inches of the shipment. If there are multiple pieces, multiply each piece's height, width, and depth. Add the cubic inches of each piece together to get the total cubic inches.
- Convert the total cubic inches to cubic feet by dividing them by 1,728 (the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot).
- Divide the weight of the shipment in pounds by the total cubic feet. The result is the pounds per cubic foot, otherwise known as the freight density. If the shipment contains several pieces, be sure to add the weight of each piece together before dividing by the total cubic feet.
Shipping Pallets From USA to Canada
When it comes to pallet shipping from Canada to the US, there are a lot of opportunities for confusion. Are you going to have to pay duty? What kind of documentation do you need? How much will it cost?
But it’s actually quite easy to ship pallets crossborder. You just need to work with a reliable and experienced shipping company that knows how to handle the logistics of this type of cross-border pallet shipping. But if you don’t have any idea on where to start, then let's take a look at some important things that you should know when it comes down to shipping your pallets across borders.
Here’s some key considerations, as outlined in the table below, that you should keep in mind when you’re pallet shipping:
Cross Border Pallet Shipping Consideration
Be sure you understand before you ship how customs and border crossing will work for your pallet. Make sure it is labelled appropriately for the crossing, and you’re aware of any rules that may apply to your shipment. Failure to have things in order can lead to delays and hold-ups at the border.
Along the same lines as customs, be sure you are prepared to pay applicable fees such as duty. Consult your transportation provider or customs broker if you’re not sure about what this could look like for you.
Sometimes, cross-border pallet shipping can be delayed due to planned disruptions such as holidays or construction. This can lead to hold-ups up at the border and delayed delivery. Always consult tools like a departure schedule to ensure your delivery will make it on time.
Disruptions aren’t always planned, and when you’re shipping pallets from the USA to Canada you can run into weather-related delays and issues. Work with your transportation provider to discuss how weather delays can impact pallet shipping.
Of course, where your pallets are headed is going to impact your cross-border pallet shipping time. Depending on how far it’s heading, it will take longer. Consult your transportation provider for how tracking and destination can impact your pallet shipping.
What Is Flat Rate Pallet Shipping?
Flat rate shipping for pallets is a cost-effective way to ship. It's perfect for small businesses and large companies alike, as well as anyone who regularly ships products via pallet.
Flat rate shipping is a pricing model that allows shippers to pay a fixed amount of money, regardless of the weight of their shipment. In other words, you don't pay more if your package weighs more or less than the maximum weight allowed by the carrier.
What Is the Maximum Pallet Height for Shipping?
With 35% of the pallet market share, 48" x 40" standard pallets are by far the most common size of pallets available.
Although pallets standardized by Consumer Brands Association (also known as Grocery Manufacturers Association) are the most common in size, some other sizes have become very common within the industry.
Other common pallet sizes include:
- 42” x 42”
- 48” x 48”
- 48” × 42”
In terms of height, most of these pallets are able to be stacked up to 60 inches high.
Pallet shipping is a straightforward procedure, but a complicated one that can cause costly mistakes if the shipper doesn't know the steps to follow. Don't let this happen to you! Instead, work with a trusted trucking transportation company like Moto. That way, when you have questions or concerns about pallet shipping, you know you're getting answers you can rely on.;