Quick Guide on How to Ship a Pallet with Efficiency

Whether you manufacture and ship cosmetics throughout New York or ship products on Amazon, eventually you’ll want to know how to ship a pallet. In fact, one of the most common questions we receive is about how to ship a pallet. 

To offer insight, we’ve created a simple, best-practice guide to palletizing shipments. Read on to learn more and don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at On Track Freight Systems for specialized logistics and shipping solutions. 

Palletizing vs Non-Palletized Items

One of the first steps is to determine if your shipment actually needs to be palletized. Palletizing freight helps multi-piece shipments remain securely together while increasing damage protection. Every pallet is considered a single piece. 

On the other hand, loose packages — like containers or boxes — that are not attached to the pallet are considered non-palletized. It’s important to understand every loose item is considered a single piece. 

Does My Freight Require Palletization?

The majority of LTL and FTL freight will require palletization; while parcel shipments may not. There are different sizes of pallets, but the most common is the standard 40×48. No matter the size, pallets are designed to protect your freight throughout transit, loading, and unloading. In addition, carriers require pallets because: 

  • They allow carriers to maximize the trailer space
  • They make unloading and loading easier and faster

Palletization may be the most ideal solution for your freight if any of the following applies:

  • You are shipping LTL and have high-value cargo
  • You have several pieces that you would like to remain together
  • You want to reduce the likelihood of damaged products
  • You desire circulation and drainage for commodities

Simple Steps for How to Ship a Pallet?

The first step in shipping a pallet is to choose a quality pallet made of either plastic or wood. These pallets can weigh anywhere from 20 to 70 lbs. Your pallet must be large enough to accommodate your shipment without freight overhanging. 

Any part of the freight that overhangs the edges of the pallet will be more likely to suffer abrasions, punctures, and damages. Here are the general steps involved with shipping a pallet.

1. Develop Your Shipment List 

Consider all of your shipment needs, including delivery and pickup times and dates. You should be prepared with the pallet dimensions as well as a description of what’s on the pallet. 

List the weight, size, and number of individual units. You will also need to include the number of pallets, their box dimensions, and their weight as well as if you require any special services, such as liftgate service.  

2. Choose the Right Pallet for Your Freight

Avoid pallets that are broken or have nail heads protruding. Pallets with closely-spaced deck boards are better, and you should avoid the rated capacity of your pallet. Consider these key attributes about pallets:

  1. The standard pallet size is 48″ x 40″. And there are two additional dimensions you should know about: 48″ x 48″ and 42″ x 42″. On the other hand, you may need a custom pallet for non-standardized freight. For instance, items like furniture may require smaller or larger pallets. 
  2. The standard wooden pallet in North America weighs 33 pounds. However, the weight of your pallet can vary based on the type of wood. The best practice is to weigh your loaded pallet before shipping for the highest level of accuracy. 
  3. Don’t over pack the pallet. The standard 48″ x 40″ pallet can accommodate up to 4,600 lbs; while a 36″ x 36″ pallet can hold up to 4,700 lbs. The 42″ x 42″ pallet and 48″ x 48″ pallet both can hold up to 3,700 lbs. 

3. Stack Your Boxes on the Pallet

The next step is to stack all stackable pieces or boxes onto the pallet. Before doing so, make sure all cartons or boxes are sealed. To achieve the greatest stacking strength, align your boxes in columns. Start by stacking the heaviest items near the base, and each subsequent item must be able to withstand stacking. Make sure to avoid:

  • Rotating layer patterns
  • Pyramiding
  • Interlocking

You can use dunnage and edge protectors to help prevent damage. 

4. Secure Your Shipment to the Pallet 

When you are preparing your freight on the pallet, you should make sure the shipment is balanced and secured. Two of the top methods for securing your pallets are strapping and stretch wrapping. 

  • Strapping Your Freight for Palletization. If you strap your freight, use a minimum of two straps. Make sure to loop the straps through the forks of the pallet. Another best practice is to ratchet or firmly tighten the straps in place to ensure a tight, secure fit.  
  • Stretch Wrapping Your Freight for Palletization. Another popular method of wrapping pallets to reduce damage is to use stretch wrap. When looking for the best stretch wrap for palletizing loads, go for a 60 gauge stretch wrap at a minimum. Depending on the type of shipment, it’s best to make at least five wraps around the pallet and shipment. This simple step will help ensure the entire pallet and shipment is in a solid piece. 

Contact On Track Freight Systems

At On Track Freight Systems, we are a leading trucking company offering fast Next-Day shipping throughout the New York, New Jersey, and Long Island area. In addition to LTL and FTL shipping in the metro area, we also offer services such as: 

Simply put, On Track Freight Systems will meet your unique logistics and shipping needs at every turn.  

Contact On Track Freight Systems today.