How To Pack, Palletize & Protect: Five Tips From Shipping Experts

Regional VP
Craig Evans

If you’re a small or medium-sized business owner, you and your team are likely wearing several hats: finance manager, salesperson, marketing team, and logistics manager, just to name a few.

We understand that means your time is valuable and you have many responsibilities. That’s why having a logistics partner to help guide you through the best shipping practices is critical, and it starts with how you package and palletize your freight. At OD, we help our customers improve efficiencies in their shipping processes by making recommendations. Your LTL carrier should be a trusted partner for your supply chain needs.

As simple as it sounds, there is an art to the packing process that, when done correctly, can save you time and money. Think about it: if you don’t pack your pallet efficiently, you could be paying for more space than you actually need, contributing to higher shipping costs. Or you may be buying full space for a pallet that is only half full. Added to that, if you’re not protecting your freight with the best packing practices, your shipments are more susceptible to damage, resulting in claims from your customers. After all, your shipment could be handled eight to 10 times on average between your dock and its final destination.

When OD picks up your shipment, we do everything we can to protect it. Each year, we invest in things like straps, airbags, plywood, cardboard, and plastic wrap. As a result, our claims ratio is less than one-half percent. But, there are still steps shippers can take to further improve efficiency.

Here are the top five packaging mistakes to avoid, so you can maximize profits:

1.) Freight isn’t properly fitted to the pallet.

When freight hangs over the edge of a pallet, not only are you charged more for the extra space, any products outside the pallet are subject to damage. Additionally, if cartons reach the edges of the pallet or you’re shipping oddly shaped freight, make sure to use edge protectors to prevent damage.

2.) No banding to secure freight to the pallet. Prevent sliding, slipping, and damage by fastening freight securely to the pallet. This is especially true for top-heavy, not secure, or partial pallets.

3.) Stacking cartons too high. If freight is stacked too high, typically above 50 inches, the price of that shipment may be higher. This eliminates the ability to utilize the space above your shipment inside the trailer.

4.) Using inferior quality boxes, packaging, and shrink wrap. While it requires more investment upfront, using high-quality packaging materials pays off in the long run for safer shipments. Also, make sure to thoroughly shrink wrap your cartons from top to bottom, including the pallet in your wrapping.

5.) Loading cartons unevenly. It’s essential to load heavier items on the bottom of the pallet to avoid tipping over and damage during transport. And speaking of weight, it’s important to have an accurate weight on the bill of lading, as a portion of the shipment charge is based on weight. When shipments are re-weighed at the Service Center, your freight bill will be adjusted.

For more do’s and don’ts when it comes to packaging, download our Packaging Tips poster.

If these guidelines feel overwhelming or cumbersome, OD is here to help. We can help our customers master packing and palletization, saving them money and helping them maintain good relationships with their customers with intact, on-time freight.

Just ask our customer service team for a complimentary packaging and palletization consultation, and our team will give you feedback on your packaging approach.

As an OD customer, you’re never alone in managing the less-than-truckload logistics for your sized business. It’s all part of our philosophy to go the extra mile to help our customers get the most value out of their business.

Want to get started with your freight packaging consultation? Get in touch with a customer service representative at (800) 235-5569 or send us an email at


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