Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Packing Freight

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Greg Plemmons

Don’t skimp out on the packaging.

That’s a critical message that we’re telling our customers as they prepare their freight to move through our LTL network. It’s a critical step that is often overlooked. Cutting corners and eliminating protective packaging on your freight is a short-sighted decision that can cost you more in the long run. Even with an industry-leading low claims ratio, we know that a shipment’s journey to its final destination in our network endures multiple touchpoints and strong forces in the back of a trailer. Your best claims prevention is smart packaging.

Here are five common mistakes we see shippers make when packaging their freight for an LTL carrier to move:

1.  Leaving off outer packaging.

With the growth of ecommerce and shippers going direct-to-consumer, shippers have the temptation to leave off critical outer packaging components like cardboard and an extra layer of protection. More and more shipments are being sent ready to be put on the shelves, and the temptation is just to shrink wrap, which is not enough.

2.  Not enough shrink wrap.

Shrink wrapping certainly is an important component of packaging. It should start at the floor, around the pallet, and have several layers to secure the freight. A single layer is likely not enough.

3.  Cartons overhang off of the pallet.

Your freight should be bound to the dimensions of your pallet. Overhanging off of the pallet risks puncturing cartons and not a sufficient amount of support. Investments in good, sturdy pallets that contain your cartons may be more expensive upfront but will save you in the long run.

4.  Skimping on inner packaging with no bracing.

Space is the enemy when packing your freight. You want your product secured and tightly packed with materials like packing peanuts or bubble wrap that fill space. This will eliminate crushed cartons and provide a stronger shipment.

5.  Not consulting your carrier or packaging engineer.

We recognize that you may not be a packaging expert nor have the time to learn. Consulting with your carrier, often your sales rep or the carrier’s field services team, will give you tips and considerations for improving your packaging techniques. We rarely see a shipper use too much packaging.

We know there are pressures to reduce costs in shipping. This is often the driver behind many shippers’ decision to cut back on packaging. But, this can be much more costly in the long run with issues such as claims, breakage, lost opportunity, and a strained relationship with your customer. By making the investment upfront in smart packaging, you can ship with peace of mind.

Need More Information?

Contact us by email or simply call 1-800-235-5569 to be connected to an Old Dominion customer service representative.