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PALLETIZING AND CRATING IN LCL OCEAN FREIGHT

This page mostly related to shipping international LCL ocean freight. LCL is an abbreviation commonly used in the international cargo transportation industry to nominate Less than Container Load ocean freight service offered by international shipping companies, i.e. shipping boxed, crated or palletized cargo from the USA overseas.

This page should be useful for reading by non-commercial international shippers that do not have a loading dock, appropriate equipment and experienced staff to prepare its ocean freight to the international shipment , i.e. for individual shippers, shippers of household goods etc. However also we suggest reading this page to smaller enterprises that intend to be involved in international shipping and trade, export or import goods from the USA.

International LCL ocean freight can be shipped as follows:

  • Loose items
  • Palletized and shrink-wrapped
  • Crated 
  • Mixed

All international ocean freight shipping methods above have advantages and disadvantages. Shipper has to decide which way he/she is going to prepare cargo to the international shipment by sea in advance. 

SHIPPING LOOSE BOXES BY SEA USING INTERNATIONAL LCL OCEAN FREIGHT SERVICE FROM INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING COMPANIES

shipping boxes in international ocean freight

Advantage: Shipping international LCL ocean freight as loose items is the most economical way to ship freight from or to the USA because the total ocean freight shipping cost will be calculated as a straight sum of volumes of all shipped items in cubic meters (or cubic feet).   
 
Disadvantages: Shipping loose items using international ocean freight is not always safe for your import or export.

Since every single box will be loaded and offloaded in/from an ocean freight container by hand it could be damaged during it handling by the international ocean freight shipping company. It may be spread out in a warehouse(s) and/or in the ocean freight container(s) and even partially lost during the international trip. Loose items are less protected from thieving during the international ocean shipment well.

NOTICE: If you are shipping up to 4-5 boxes, then your goods may be shipped loose. However, if you ship many boxes OR any one box or shipping unit exceeds 100 lbs then the international ocean carrier may require to palletize your loose items anyway, no matter either you did or did not request to palletize your shipping boxes from the international shipping company or not. 

PALLETIZED AND SHRINK-WRAPPED CARGO IN RESPECT OF INTERNATIONAL OCEAN FREIGHT SHIPPING

Pallet in international ocean freight

Advantages: When you are shipping boxes overseas from or to the USA using international ocean freight service, palletized and shrink-wrapped cargo has much higher probability to reach destinations without damages or loss. During the international trip forklifts will safely handle palletized ocean freight. Since all shipping boxes are kept together in a pallet(s) then a partial lose in your international ocean freight shipment is not possible. Palletized ocean freight is much better protected from potential theft on any stage of the international shipment as well.

Disadvantage: Additional charges for palletized ocean freight will appear.

  1. Cost of pallet(s) and labor;
  2. A charge due to extra chargeable volume for palletized ocean freight

As a rule you may ask an international ocean carrier's shipping warehouse, which you deliver your lose boxes to, to palletize your shipping boxes directly at the ocean carrier's shipping warehouse. Then your should pay for the palletizing service directly to the ocean carrier freight terminal. These charges will not be included in an international shipping company's freight invoice. Charges on palletizing may vary depending on the warehouse and type of used pallets from $35 to $55+ per skid including cost of pallet. 

When palletizing, your shipped boxes will be stacked by the international ocean freight carrier's terminal on a pallet(s), as many as it can fit. It can be stacked up to about 4 to 5 feet high and should not exceed 60" (1.52m). Then the whole things should be shrink wrapped by a plastic film.

The size of standard U.S. pallet (also known as a "skid") is 48"(1.2m) x 40"(1.0m) x 6"(0.15m).

However in the international ocean freight industry it is permitted to use a variety of pallets with different sizes and forms. Must important is that froklifts can handle pallets/skids. I.e. its bases should be accessible for pallet-jacks on two sides with a minimum clearance of 3.5". All pallets must fit into a 40' multimodal ocean freight container.    

CALCULATING OF YOUR FINAL CHARGEABLE (GROSS) VOLUME IN THE INTERNATIONAL OCEAN FREIGHT INDUSTRY:  THE LONGEST, WIDEST AND HIGHEST POINTS OF YOUR SKID WILL BE MULTIPLIED. 

calculate international ocean freigth cost in LCL

For example: a 40 x 50 x 50 inch skid for the ocean freight would equal 1.65 gross cubic meters (or 58 gross cubic feet).
 
GUIDELINES FOR PALLETIZING OF INTERNATIONAL OCEAN FREIGHT:

  • Wooding packing restrictions: Always keep in mind wooding packing restrictions for ocean freight shipments when use wooden pallets for shipping ocean freight from or to the USA. Find more about these restrictions in our website.     
     
  • Addressing and Labeling: Before palletizing, label two sides of ALL individual cartons/shipping units within the skid(s) whenever possible. Remove or mark through old labels. It will help to recognize your shipping boxes in event if your skid would be broken during its international ocean freight shipping.  
     
    Then label two sides of each skid. Include in the labels an ocean freight carrier's booking number and your consigner and consignee's contact info. I.e. names, addresses and phone numbers both at origin and destination on your international ocean freight shipment.

    However DO NOT write anything about commodity in your shipping boxes. You will describe it in your shipping documents which will be submitted to an international shipping company used for your ocean freight shipment. 
     
  • Size and Weight: Skids exceeding 2,200 lbs. or exceeding 70" in height or 119" in length or 80" in width may require a prior approval. 
     
  • Loading and Stacking: Distribute weight evenly. Stack boxes squarely corner-to-corner to the skid's edge to maximize compression strength, but do not allow shipping boxes to hang over the skid.
     
    Keep the top of the skid flat to minimize loss or damage to cartons; do not pyramid-stack.
     
    Place angled fiberboard (angleboard) between shipping boxes to prevent crushing. 
      
    Cover by a plastic film the top of skids to protect your freight from weather damage.
     
  • Securing: Wrap ocean freight in 70-gauge stretchwrap. Pass at least two bands (tightly secured) through the skid voids and around all cartons. If possible use steel, rayon, polypropylene, nylon or polyester strapping to band the ocean freight. Use shock-absorber connections or cushioned skids, if applicable, when bolting.

CRATED CARGO FOR AN LCL OCEAN FREIGHT SHIPMENT

a crate for international ocean freight

 

Crating cargo for the international ocean freight shipment, export or import, may be considerable expensive. Crating cargo shipped using international ocean freight service is necessary when you ship something like furniture, big items or certain kind of irregular or fragile commercial goods. A standard or custom-made solid crate can be purchased from a packing company. Check your local yellow pages or order online. You may consider a quality loading service from professional packing companies as well. 

We suggest you always asking your packing company if they are familiar with packing regulations (including wood packing regulations) for international ocean freight shipments.

Crates same as pallets, must be forklift accessible and suitable for the load into a 40' ocean freight container.

a large wooden box for the international ocean freight

IMPORTANT!: Always keep in mind wooding packing restrictions when shipping international ocean freight. Find more about these restrictions on our website.      

MIXED CARGO IN INTERNATIONAL OCEAN FREIGHT

Depending on what you ship, sometimes it is the good idea to ship international LCL ocean freight mixed. That means that you can palletize and shrink-wrap small shipping boxes, crate most valuable or fragile items and leave oversized items loose. This approach can give you peace of mind and save on gross chargeable volume of your international ocean freight shipment.   

Shipping Loose Items by sea | Palletizing in ocean freightChargeable (Gross) Volume | Crates | Mixed Cargo

 
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