THE 4 MOST COMMON INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENT HAZARDS & HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR CARGO FROM THEM
You can help prevent damage to your goods during transit using a variety of measures. Packaging is an important part of limiting the potential impact of the common hazards shipment face in air and ocean transportation.
Protection Starts With the Right Information
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The Most Common Shipment Hazards
It is easier to know how to adequately package and secure your goods if you understand the risks you are protecting them from. While we explored key handling requirements for your cargo in a previous article, the most common hazard for regular (non-hazardous) products during transit are:
During air transportation shipments are co-loaded with other commodities in trucks and shipping containers. Punctures and abrasions can occur when the shipment comes in contact with other cargo. This can also be the result of improper or insufficient internal packaging that does not prevent the contents from shifting/falling pressing through the exterior packaging.
Compression/crushing is the result of co-loaded cargo being loaded on top of a shipment. Unsupported exterior packaging can give way causing damage. Inner packaging must be configured to the product or dunnage used to fill the open spaces. This provides firm support to the exterior packaging and reduces the opportunity for compression.
Climate and geography can be significant contributors to product damage. Excessive moisture or water can not only damage a shipment’s contents, it can also effect the integrity of the packaging. Adhesive used in corrugated cardboard boxes can be softened by moisture fall apart in transit.
An air shipment will experience more than 8 touch points while in transit. Heavy shipment (over 150 lbs / 70 kgs) that are not palletized, requiring manual lifting, have increased exposure to drops and sliding. Palletized shipments not properly secured properly or balanced can slide or tip while being moved by the forklift.
An air shipment travels on multiple modes of transportation to move it from the shippers dock to the customers door; trucks, forklift, conveyors, airport dolly carts, etc. These modes of transportation will introduce the possibility of shock to the packaging. Damage can occur if the inner or exterior packaging cannot withstand the handling elements that a shipment encounters while in transit.
Securing Your Goods
Banding and shrink-wrap are the two primary methods of securing goods to a pallet and should be employed for outsize or palletized shipments. The types of banding to be used can include steel, nylon, polyester (PET) and polypropylene. Metal is more suited to heavier solid items whereas nylon and PET are recommended for boxes and lighter items. If using plastic strapping, ensure that it is highly durable and will create an unbreakable seal.
It is highly recommended that shippers conduct some type of package performance test to verify the effectiveness of its packaging. Testing will determine if it will withstand the normal rigors of transportation and protect its contents (product). The primary advantage of pre-shipment performance testing is it provides the opportunity to evaluate the product protection performance of the packaging and to make any necessary changes to the packaging prior to a larger implementation.
Conducting pre-shipment performance tests in a laboratory setting will assist in evaluating the package’s ability to protect the product from the common hazards encountered during transportation. When determining testing protocol, remember that shock, compression, handling, vibration, and environmental exposures can all have very different effects on your packaged product, so the testing should focus on all variables.
These methods are not exhaustive and other forms of protection may be employed, for example, foam cushioning and wooden crating. You can find our recommended packaging methods for specific commodities in a dedicated article. And why not learn how to select and make the best usage of pallets?