The Basics of Loading a Shipping Container Safely
If you are planning to use a shipping container to export goods, products, or materials of any kind, it is essential to ensure that it is loaded properly. In addition, you also need to make sure you are using the right kind of shipping container in the first place.
For the export of goods of all kinds, it is only possible to use standard ISO shipping containers. These are the standard-sized containers that measure 20 feet or 40 feet in length and can be either 8tf 6 (standard height) or 9ft 6 (high cube) in height.
While there are also many containers measuring 10 feet and 30 feet in length, they will not be accepted by most shipping companies. As it would cost significantly more to ship a shipping container of a non-standard size, it is usually more cost-effective to purchase a standard-sized container to export goods than to pay for the excess.
In addition to the above, the shipping container you use needs to have a valid CSC (Container Safety Convention) plate to be accepted by a shipping company. This is essentially the equivalent of an MOT for a shipping container, indicating that it is safe to use and fit for purpose, having been regularly inspected and maintained.
How to Safely and Efficiently Load a Shipping Container
The specifics of how a shipping container should be loaded will always vary on the basis of what is being stored or exported. Even so, the basics of loading a shipping container safely (irrespective of cargo type) are as follows:
- Start by measuring the dimensions of your items and comparing them to the dimensions of the container. This will help you determine how much space you have to work with and how many items you can fit inside the container.
- Prepare your items for packing by cleaning them and wrapping them in protective materials such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts. This will help prevent damage during transport.
- Start packing the heaviest items first, placing them at the bottom of the container. This will help keep the container stable during transport.
- Next, pack your lighter items on top of the heavier items. Use packing materials such as foam or cardboard to fill in any gaps and keep your items securely in place.
- Use straps or tie-downs to secure your items in place. This will prevent your items from shifting during transport, which can cause damage.
- Make sure to label all of your boxes and items so that you know what is inside each one. This will make it easier to unpack your items when they reach their destination.
- Pack the container to the top, but do not overfill it, make sure that the door can close and be sealed properly.
- Before closing the container, inspect it to ensure that everything is properly packed and secured. Make sure that there is nothing blocking the door or preventing it from closing.
- Once the container is packed and sealed, you can arrange for it to be transported to its destination.
- Finally, make sure to keep a detailed inventory of all the items that you have packed in the container. This will make it easier to track the whereabouts of your items and ensure that nothing is lost or damaged during transport.
It is important to note that containers can be quite heavy and may require special equipment to move them. It is also vital to ensure that the container is placed on a level surface throughout the loading process, to prevent it from tipping over.
Irrespective of its contents, packing a shipping container requires proper planning, preparation and attention to detail.