5 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Shipping Crate

5 Mistakes to Avoid when Building a Custom Shipping Crate.

1. The most important mistake to avoid is building a shipping crate without considering how it will fit into a truck. Often this is an afterthought, but unless you are paying for a dedicated vehicle to transport your shipment, you will be sharing space on a truck with a bunch of other shipments and LTL carriers like freight that can easily fit into their trailers. So, making your crate with that in mind can save you a lot of money for transport. And since you are most likely sharing space on a trailer, make your crate large enough to secure your shipment, but not any bigger. Extra space equals extra costs. Also, you need to keep your crate under 92” for it to be easily moved in and out a standard trailer. Some trucks use swing doors, which have a clearance up to 105” but remember the forklift will need space to pick the shipment up off the ground. If your shipment to a lot taller than that, the crate will need to be laid on its side to load, and if that can’t be done, you will need to contact with a specialty truck to transport it like a step deck flatbed. On the topic of width, most LTL carriers will start their over width pricing at 49”, so again keep it below that if you can.

2. Skimping on wood. You want to make sure your choosing wood that can easily support your shipment. For the frame, we recommend at minimum 2x4s, for the sides, ½ inch plywood to protect your shipping crate from accidental forklift contact. Also, if your shipment is traveling internationally, you must use treated wood to clear customs. Treated wood always comes with a stamp or tag on it. And while we are on the subject of building, use screws instead of staples, as screws will provide more strength when a crate is shifted around.

3. Not adding support beams. Especially if you have a long or wide crate, you want to add support beams across the top and sides. Even if you asked for nothing to be stacked on top of your crate or you put a “do not stack” cone on it, there is a good chance it will be stacked. “Do not stack” cones often get removed by busy dock workers, so always add the extra support to protect your shipment.

4. Not securing the access door. Since most crates will have an access door that can be removed, you need to make sure its secure before sending it off. Add a simple wing nut will ensure your crate will stay closed during transit.

5. Putting the forklift access on the wrong side of the crate. If you have a rectangular shaped crate, you want to make sure there is forklift access on the shorter end of the crate. So, if you have a 8’ x 4’ crate, you’d want the fork access to be on the 4’ side. This is because the carrier will want to load other freight next to your crate as much as possible to maximize the truck space. The ideal crate for transport has access on all sides, but if that is not possible make sure to build access on the correct side for ease of loading a truck.

If you need additional info or help with building a shipping crate contact Ark here.