Improperly packaged freight shipments can result in denial of a filed claim if loss or damage occurs while in transit. You can ensure that your freight shipments are properly packaged by following these tips.
NMFC Packaging Guidelines
The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) provides design specifications for hundreds of packages. Guidelines for some of the most common packaging mediums are below.
Corrugated Fiberboard Boxes (CFBs)
- Check the age of the box. Corrugated fiberboard boxes degrade over time, losing up to 50% of their strength in only 6 months.
- Treat as single-use packages. Most CFBs do not maintain enough strength and integrity to be reused.
- Check the Box Maker’s Certificate (BMC). BMCs state the maximum size and weight the box can hold. Exceeding these limits could result in a denied claim. BMCs are typically located on the bottom flaps of the box.
- Place fasteners in the side or edge grain of the wood. Placing fasteners in the end grain of wood or plywood can reduce holding power by 35%.
- Check for knots. Do not place fasteners in knots of the wood. Knots cannot be larger than one-third of the board’s surface.
- Use Diagonal Braces. Each panel should have a diagonal brace to increase strength and integrity.
- Construct crates with interlocking corners. Crates must be constructed with three-way locking corners, where members will be joined with nails or stapes driven into side grain of joining members.
- Use a standard crate for weight exceeding 500 lbs. If the weight of the commodity exceeds 500 pounds a standard crate must be used instead of a wire bound crate.
- No broken boards or protruding fasteners. All fasteners must be flush or below the surface before loading packages.
- Minimize gaps between deckboards. Make deckboard spacing as narrow as possible to prevent forklift damage.
- Always use 4-way forklift entry pallets. The pallet must be elevated at least 6” from the ground and allow forklift access from all sides.
- Use adequate size & rate capacity. Pallet should be large enough to house the shipment without overhang and exceeding weight capacity.