Shipping Basics: Packaging Freight

At the ShippingDiscounts.com freight desk, we often receive questions about packaging. Here is our guide to the major types of packaging used in freight shipping applications.

Pallets. Sometimes called “skids,” these flat structures stabilize freight and allow a forklift to fit easily underneath. Most pallets are wood or plastic. There are no standard pallet dimensions, but the most common pallets in the US are 48×40 inch “grocery” pallets. Smaller items sometimes ship on “half-pallets.”

Crates. Most crates are made of wood. Crates are generally used for large, awkward items, such as machinery and motorcycles. A shipment of one or two crates is ideal for LTL freight. Usually, a crate will need to be built specifically for an item, whereas pallets can be reused for a new shipment.

Shipping Containers These colorful containers are typically used in ocean freight and rail freight shipping. Due to their large size, they cannot be shipped as LTL freight. Shipping containers can be filled with pallets, boxes, and even vehicles.

Drums- Drums are most often used to ship industrial liquids, although sometimes personal belongings like clothes are shipped in a drum. Often, drums of liquids are secured to a pallet to keep them upright.

Boxes. In the LTL freight world, shipments with multiple boxes are usually attached to a pallet for ease of transport. However, loose boxes can be shipped in small numbers. Household and personal items are commonly shipped in boxes. Electronics, foodstuffs, and printed materials are often both boxed and palletized.

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