Understanding the packing materials and taking adequate time throughout the packing process will help minimize the risk of damage when shipping with air freight.
Hazards to Look Out For with Air Freight
The main hazards to pay attention to when shipping your goods internationally with air freight are:
- Punctures and scrapes. This occurs when the package shifts and doesn’t have the proper packing materials.
- Compression. Compression forces can occur from the vibrations of the airplane, or from the stacking and tying down of packages.
- The handling of packages. When packing for air shipment, proper materials and packing methods should be used. This is done to limit the damages that come standard when packages are being handled by humans.
Preferred Packing Materials For Air Freight Shipment
1. Corrugated fiberboard boxes
These are often mislabeled as cardboard boxes. Though they are commonly used, the majority of people pack corrugated fiberboard boxes (CFB’s) without knowing its strengths and weaknesses. The weakest point on a CFB is within 1” of where two adjacent panels meet.
CBF’s can also lose their integrity over time. They may lose up to 50% of their strength within 6 months, and when exposed to 90% humidity, up to 60% of strength can be lost.
2. Wood packaging
When packed properly, wood packaging can be allowed for damage-free air freight. Here is a list of some things to consider when using wood packaging:
- Use interlocking corners on wood crates
- Do not put fasteners into knots or the end of the wood, as this can weaken the wood significantly
- Check for knots, as they should not fill more than 30% of the area in which they appear
- Diagonal braces should be used on each panel to increase strength
3. Packing on a pallet
Pallets for air freight are generally made of wood. The packaging on a pallet can be far more efficient, as it groups a single exporters belongings and allows everything to be handled as one. It can also limit how much the package shifts because it’s far more stable, and all goods are being supported by others.
Here is a list of some things to consider when packing on a pallet:
- Avoid overhang. For the safest shipping, all goods should fit on the pallet without hanging over the edges
- Do not use a cracked or broken pallet
- Remove any fasteners that are sticking out before packing the pallet
- Pallets are required to have a floor bearing load greater than 100kg
- Never exceed the rated capacity of the pallet you are using
Following these tips for any of the packaging alternatives will help ensure the safest and most secure air freight shipping. Regardless of your packaging method, proper materials and cushioning are important to minimize the risk of damages.