In order to properly package goods for air freight, you must have a solid understanding of the product and distribution ecosystem. You must also understand packaging materials, and have the patience it takes to ship your goods properly. Understanding, as well as following these pointers will help you ensure your goods remain damage free while in transit.
Understand the Hazards of Air Freight
First, you must understand the hazards involved in shipping goods internationally on air freight:
- Punctures and abrasions: when the product shifts, or has insufficient internal packaging.
- Compression: stacking, shock, vibration, or tie-down straps all generate compressive forces that can cause product damage.
- Shipment handling: proper packaging must be able to protect the contents from the drops and impacts that are common with handling operations.
All of these can be minimized with proper packaging and preparation before air freight shipment of your goods. Here’s a few ways to accomplish that.
Packing Materials Perfect for Air Freight Shipments
Using Corrugated Fiberboard boxes:
Commonly mislabeled as cardboard cartons or boxes. CFB’s are the most commonly used shipping container, but an overwhelming majority of people are unaware of the package’s strengths and weaknesses. The greatest point of compression on the box is within 1” of the edges that are created by two of the adjacent panels.
CFB can also degrade over time– by up to 50% of its strength within 6 months. A humidity of 90% has the ability to weaken CFB packaginging by as much as 60%. These often aren’t strong enough to be reused and should be treated as single use packages.
Wood packaging for Air Freight
Crafting your shipment for air freight can help protect your goods, allowing for damage-free transit if done properly. Here are some do’s and don’ts of packaging with wood:
- Always use interlocking corners on wooden crates
- Don’t put fasteners into the end grain of wood– fastener resistance can be reduced by 35% when placed in the endgrain; place them in the side or edge grain of your container
- Knots should not be larger than 30% of the surface area they appear in
- Do not place fasteners in knots
- Use diagonal braces on each panel to increase strength
Air Freight Pallets
Pallets are commonly made out of either wood or plastic. Pallets make moving packages more efficient by assisting in the consolidation and handling of packages. Using pallets also allows shipments to be moved without direct contact to packages, reducing exposure to damage. Here’s some things to note about air freight pallets:
- Pallets should be large enough to accommodate shipments without overhang
- Broken pallets should not be used
- Protruding fasteners should be removed before packages are placed on pallet.
- Pallets on any shipment are required to have a floor-bearing load of more than 100 lbs per square foot.
- Know the rated capacity of your pallet; never exceed it.
Following these general best standards will keep your international shipments safe and secure while using air freight. It’s a good idea to properly cushion goods as well as to reduce the effect that shock has on your goods.