As the shipper, you are the responsible party for the packing and loading of your cargo into the shipping container(s) it will be transported in for export from the U.S. While you have the ability to pack and load your cargo as you see fit, you should be aware of proper loading practices.
Improper loading can lead to damage of your cargo. Customs may examine your container and if an x-ray shows improper and unprofessional loading, this may raise red flags as a sign of concealing unusual items inside of the container. This will cause an intensive exam of your shipment which may lead to additional delays and significant expenses. Household and personal effects shippers should be particularly careful with loading since they have less experience with proper loading practices.
Important factors to consider when properly loading a container:
- Weight Distribution
- Utilize Container Space
- Stowage of Cargo
The weight of your cargo should be spread evenly over the entire area of the container’s floor. If the weight of your cargo is densely concentrated, distribute its weight with bedding. You may not exceed the maximum weight/mass capacity of a container (payload) with the freight you load into it.
Utilize Container Space
Make sure to use the whole space of the container, wall to wall, filling empty spaces with dunnage. If the container is packed tightly, it will help keep cargo secured in place so it does not move around and become damaged. Straps may also be used to secure cargo. For example; do not stack cargo all the way to the top in the back half of the container and load over the entire area of the floor in the bottom half of the container. Also, make sure not to put direct pressure on container doors.
Stowage of Cargo
Careful attention must be paid to the stowage of varying items in a shipping container. The weight, size, density, and properties, such as solid or liquid, of cargo even odors of certain commodities are factors to be considered when loading your goods into a container. Cargo considered ‘hard to damage’ commodities can be damaged if loaded improperly. Heavier items should never be loaded above items of lesser weight for risk of crushing. High-density packages loaded next to low-density packages also create risks of crushing or damaging cargo. To help prevent crushing or damaging, cushioning material should be placed between items and dunnage used to fill voids. This will help prevent movement during transit. Wet cargo should not be loaded above dry cargo in a container. When stacking goods, cargo tiers should be made the same level.
Before loading your cargo into the container, careful planning should be completed prior. There are special regulations and laws that you are responsible to know and adhere to especially in regards to the shipping of hazardous materials.
For more information, please contact our ocean freight export department today.