Shipments should always be properly packaged or boxed to safeguard the product during transit. In addition, multiple packages should then be palletized/skidded or crated to maximize protection. A clear understanding of the hazards of the distribution chain will better enable the customer to provide the best type of overall packaging to ensure the safe transportation of their goods.
Some of the normal risks of the distribution industry are: shipment handling, shock, vibration, compression, punctures and scrapes, and environmental exposure (moisture, dust, dirt, etc).
Shipment handling includes, but is not limited to, the movement of freight by a forklift, pallet jack, dolly, conveyor belt, as well as human hands. Freight should be packaged in such a way as to protect the contents from drops and impacts of common handling operations. Shock can happen during the handling and transportation of the goods. This occurs by the dropping of a package, impact with machinery, or even the truck movement/shifting caused by potholes or other road hazards. Properly cushioning the product within the chosen packaging will minimize these risks.
Vibration occurs in all transport vehicles; trucks, planes, ships, and even forklifts and conveyor belts. Fragile products should always be cushioned within the packaging to absorb the vibration and alleviate any damage.
Compression is a result of external forces applied to the sides or corners of a package. Tie-down straps, material handling equipment, stacking and vibration can all generate compression forces resulting in the breakdown of the packaging material. Protection against compression is best offered by utilizing proper packaging materials.
Punctures and scrapes occur during normal shipment handling operations, when packages shift or come in contact with other packages or with material handling equipment. These can also be a result of improper or insufficient internal packaging, thus allowing the product to shift or the package to be unable to contain the product.
Environmental Exposure runs the gamut from high and low atmospheric pressure in air transportation to common dust and temperature extremes. Certain conditions may be hazardous to the product or the internal or external packaging. High and low humidity and extreme temps can adversely affect certain products, as well as the performance of the packaging materials, sometimes dramatically. If a product or packaging would be considered to be damaged by any of these environmental hazards, then the shipper is responsible for taking precautions to ensure the packaging can withstand these hazards, and protect the product during transit.