Oh, the trials and tribulations of the infrequent shipper. As if finding the best rates from trustworthy carriers who can deliver your shipment on time weren’t enough, you also have to package your shipment so that it arrives safely (and doesn’t make the freight terminal workers LOL when they see it).

Honestly, it’s not like you need to become a freight packaging genius, you just need to learn a little bit about freight packaging basics and apply common sense. Without that level of effort you could end up in remedial freight packaging training school, or, even worse, have your shipment featured in a collection of epic fails like this one.

Feel free to laugh as you view these images, but keep in mind that these episodes were not at all humorous to the people involved when they happened; some were quite expensive. As it turns out, packaging freight is not an intuitive skill.

1 – We Couldn’t Make This Up

Whoever was responsible for this packaging job must have become a little confused. It looks like they tried to create a hybrid packaging system—part pallet, part crate—by strapping a machine to a pallet and then building a wall of shrink wrap around it. How’d they do?

Close, but not close enough. There is no way those walls could sustain any significant impact should other shipments shift in transit. And shrink wrap was not intended to be used to create protective walls.

Keep it simple. When you put a piece of machinery on a pallet, strap it to the pallet and wrap the machinery with shrink wrap. If the machinery has some delicate pieces expose, consider blanket wrapping as well. Very straightforward.

2 – Maybe Three Isn’t The Charm After All

Ask 10 people what they think is the subject of this photo and you’ll probably get 10 different answers. A 21stcentury bobsled? Art? Fortunately, there are no wrong answers. Also, there are no right answers.

Whoever packaged this had a very real problem. Apparently, they didn’t have a long enough pallet for the shipment. Their solution was to get a second and a third pallet and let the shipment itself hold everything together. What we see here is a case of the pallets being strapped to the goods instead of the other way around. We’ll give them points for originality and the strapping job, but this is no way to package freight. Seriously, how can a driver move this with just a pallet jack? Answer: They can’t.

These goods need to be strapped to one continuous pallet and then shrink wrapped. Yes, getting an unusually long pallet can be expensive, but having the carrier refuse to ship your package comes with costs as well.

3 – Business Is Busting Out All Over

This crate is a little on the rough side, but probably would be fine if not for one little problem: the entire machine needs to be inside the crate. It looks like our shipper tried to cut corners here by making a crate that’s just a little too small. Within a properly-sized crate, the machinery should be held firmly in place so it doesn’t bang against the crate. Making a crate large enough would also allow for the sides to be continuous pieces of wood, rather than the hodgepodge we see here.

Imagine what kind of damage the parts sticking out of the crate could do if the crate came loose. This is just a terrible accident waiting to happen, also, it’s a shipment the carrier wouldn’t carry.

4 – Are You “Down” With This?

Is this perfect or what? Here we have a cabinet stuffed with pillows.

Let’s try to follow the shipper’s thinking. The cabinet is like a crate, except that the walls are made of glass instead of wood. So, you stuff the inside with pillows and crisscross blue painter’s tape on the glass, just like they taught you in hurricane preparedness classes, right? Umm, no.

I hope the shipper showed this photo to a shipping expert before having it put on a truck so they could learn the two best ways to package this cabinet.

Have a proper crate made for the cabinet.
Use White Glove service that will give the cabinet special attention. iTransist can arrange White Glove service for you.
Given those two options, the shipper would then be free to choose the answer most appealing (and affordable) to them.

5 – Kayak-ak-ak-ak-ak-ak-ak

This was a really sweet thought, but this shipper was paddling up the wrong … oh, you know.

The first thing we see here is that both ends of the kayak extend beyond the surface area of the pallet. Hard and fast rule: freight must never extend beyond any of the edges of a pallet. Period. To be clear, it’s just like breaking the plane of the end zone with the football: no matter where the football crosses that plane, it’s a touchdown. Freight cannot break the plane of the pallet edges, anywhere. There are no extra points.

And in this case, the pallet is totally superfluous. Kayaks get shipped in boxes, not on pallets. This kayak should have been wrapped in lots of bubble wrap and then boxed for safe shipment. There should have been enough layers of bubble wrap to protect the kayak even if the box were dropped or brushed by another shipment on the same truck, and no space should have been left between the outside layer of bubble wrap and the box. Using lots of shipping tape on the box is always recommended.

The Final Answer

If you’re shipping through iTransist and you aren’t sure if you packaged your item correctly, call your agent and email them a photo of what you’ve done. They will be happy to give you an “Atta boy!” if you did a good job or tell you what you need to do differently. And if doing it yourself is just not the right solution for you, iTransist will be happy to recommend a third party that can package the shipment for you. Helping customers with proper freight packaging is just one of the ways iTransist goes the extra mile for you.