Transporting Goods in Crates

Equipment such as electrical switchboards and panels, office machines and precision instruments can easily be damaged by bumps and jolts during transit. These items should be packed within a crate to prevent impact damage and any movement within the crate. Crates must have a solid timber structure all over, including the top, so that they can be strapped and load restrained without the crate collapsing.

A well crated item is a welcome sight for freight handlers and is often recognised at first glance. The timber frame may be supported by metal strapping. Foam may have been used to protect the items from moving inside the crate. In fact, foam serves an additional purpose in that it protects the contents from any potential damage caused by impact or movement.

A Few Guidelines for Timber Crate Construction

  • Wherever possible, screws should be used when constructing timber crates/cases (not nails or staples). Additional metal strapping to reinforce the structure is recommended.
  • Timber crates and cases must be constructed of solid timber (preferably hardwood), and be designed to adequately contain and support its contents.
  • Timber crates need to have bottom lift points to allow for forklifting. The forklift pockets need to be wide enough for the forklift tynes and strong enough to be lifted at these points without making the crate collapse or causing any distortion to it.

A Few Guidelines for Packing Items in Crates

  • Timber crates should have a safe weight limit that exceeds the weight of the contents.
  • Make sure you create an even weight distribution when packing your crate. Where this is not possible, the supplier must ensure that the centre of gravity and hoisting positions are clearly marked on two sides to ensure safe handling. This is especially important where the case or crate conceals the internal goods from view.
  • The contents must be secured within the crate, by tying or bolting them down so that the items will not move inside the crate.

Poor Packaging Examples

Poorly packaged freight is a danger to freight handlers and can result in extensive damage to the items themselves and their surrounds. Without taking the necessary precautions and using an appropriate transportation method you can risk:

  • A crate collapsing in transit: The freight is too heavy and the crate itself is flimsy. Additionally, the have not been sufficiently restrained by strapping, which means that when they move around, the crate collapses. Only use structurally sound crates, don’t exceed the safe weight limit and secure your contents within the crate.
  • A machine breaking out of one end of the crate: poorly restrained item inside the crate. Machinery ideally should be securely bolted and blocked in crates to prevent movement.
  • Exposed metal, paintwork, dials and delicate instruments: items like these can easily be damaged during handling and should be in a fully enclosed crate to ensure proper transit.