Assuming that your goods will reach the delivery point unscathed with no proper packing materials is the biggest pallet shipping mistake you can make. No exaggeration, just facts.
Packing materials depend on the items you're shipping, but regardless, protecting your goods in transit is crucial; crates give items the best chance at arriving in pristine condition.
The question is, how do you know whether to crate or not? Well, it's easier than you think.
Wooden crates come in various structures and sizes and are used for different things, the most common being pallet shipping:
- Frame Crates - these are A-frames of wood, showing the contents of what's inside. Frame crates are used to transport material and heavy machinery that doesn't need any surface protection.
- Open Crates - constructed using wooden planks, open crates have ventilation gaps to prevent produce from spoiling in transit.
- Closed Crates - fully enclosed with no openings, closed crates are perfect for any items that risk spillage or scathing to other pallets.
- Stitched and wire-bound crates - thin pieces of wood stitched or wired together. They are primarily used to protect plants and trees during their journey.
Selecting the right crate is a task that requires careful consideration, and dismissing them is just not worth the risk.
Packing items of value into crates is possibly the safest option you have.
You can shield goods in endless layers of shrink wrap and strap them to a pallet, but nothing will match the protection of a wooden crate!
Solid wood acts as a shield between other pallets and your goods, so if anything falls onto your pallet, the crate will prevent any items inside from damaging. Clever, right?
Well, they've been popular in logistics for as long as we can remember, but for whatever reason, there came around a myth that pallet couriers don't accept crates through their networks - and myth that is!
Most pallet couriers do accept crates as long as they're on a pallet, hence the words 'pallet courier'. Of course, they also need to be heat treated and wooden, simply because these are the most widely reused and recycled.
Uncrated goods aren't necessarily at a higher risk of damage in transit, as it depends on what items you're shipping, i.e. heavy machinery can be strapped to a pallet and wrapped or put in a crate to minimise the risk of anything tipping over.
Crates aren't only for the safety of your goods, but for other pallets, too.
Let's say you want to ship six tins of paint, and you don't have a crate; you'd need to find absorbent rags and wrap each tin in several layers of shrink wrap. But, even that's risky!
With a closed crate, any accidental spillages won't spoil other pallets.
But then again, it depends on the items you're shipping, their risk to other pallets and their likeliness to become damaged.