Are you New to Shipping? Here is Shipping 101.

Understanding the Seasonality of Freight

The shipping world, believe it or not, is dictated by a wide range of factors that greatly affect times, costs and other factors.  These factors are seasonal and may drastically affect your business’ costs and time frames.  As your premier industrial shipping company specializing in packing and crating, here is an overview of the seasonal shipping calendar and how you can adjust to it to save your company money and time.

Like any type of business, the shipping seasons are dictated by the simple rules of supply and demand and are often broken down into 4 distinct seasons or quadrants.

The Quiet Season

The quiet season for shipping falls between January and March.  Typically, this season sees lower freight volume as the holiday season is rolling into the new year.  Although shipments by road may be difficult because of unpredictable winter weather, freight usually gets to its destination on time.

The Produce Season

The produce season sees freight volume begin to pick up and is traditionally seen as the months of April to July.  As the market gets more competitive and trucks become harder to find, the capacity and rates can change drastically from the rates of the quiet shipping season.  The higher paying loads such as peaches and other produce shipments tend to increase both the cost and capacity of the shipping world.

The Peak Season

The peak shipping season falls between August until October.  This season sees the “back to school” season as well as the beginning stages of the ultra-competitive and busy upcoming holiday season.  Sales are typically up and companies are moving stock in and out of their facilities to ensure proper supply for the holidays.

The Holiday Season

The holidays are here:

  • Thanksgiving weekend.
  • The Christmas season.
  • New Year’s.

Shippers are rushing to get their inventory out to their clients before the end of the holiday season.  This season obviously sees the highest rates for freight and the lowest availability for carriers.  Be sure to thoroughly plan for this season and even start to get your shipments out as early as possible to beat the holiday rush.

These four distinct seasons will affect the cost and time frame of each or your shipments.  To ensure that your freight arrives at its destination on time and undamaged, it is very important to work closely with your shipping company.

As your premier industrial shipping company, we understand the pressures and the distinct seasons of the shipping world.  Our professional and knowledgeable staff will work diligently and endlessly to ensure that your freight is delivered on time and in the same shape that it left your warehouse.

Boxes Vs. Bags

Your packaging choice is an often overlooked but extremely important part of your business.

Transportation

The most important factor that will determine your packaging choice should be transportation.  If you are shipping goods a long distance it is important to fit a large amount of product on each pallet.  Your packaging choice should be as light and compact as possible to keep weight and bulk to a minimum.

Boxes are lightweight and can be easily stacked.  Crates can be manufactured to fit the dimensions of your product.  However, you may need to provide extra protection on both inside and outside the crate to prevent any damage that may occur during the shipping process.

Bags are easily compressed and take up far less space than a box.  Vacuum packing or adding air can provide the necessary protection needed during shipping.  You will need an extra layer of outside protection or some type of tertiary container to place the bags.

Sustainability

Sustainability is quickly becoming one of the determining factors for consumers when it comes to buying products.  Many consumers want reusable or recyclable packing materials which means that your packing decisions should be sustainable.

Boxes are easy to break down and are recyclable and reusable.  Bags on the other hand can be great to seal in freshness and protect from the elements but may not be very environmentally friendly.  There are some biodegradable options available if bags are your only shipping option.    

Prestige

There is a reason why they are called “unboxing” videos and not “unbagging” videos.  There is definitely something more special about opening up a box and removing an item from a well-packed inner layer.  It indicates that more care and thought has gone into the product and its presentation.  Whereas opening an air-filled bag and removing a product just feels a little less special.

The type of product you are shipping and the type of product you are selling will determine your packaging choice.  If your main clientele is looking for a higher end product and environmentally conscious, a cardboard box with sustainable packaging should be your packaging choice even if your shipping costs are a little higher.

If the product you are shipping needs to be fresh or must be protected from the elements, then a plastic protective layer or bag may be essential to the quality of the item.  Custom-made wooden crates are essential for shipping industrial goods and freight.

If you are still unsure about what the best option for your packed goods is, please contact us today.  We would love to help you with your shipping needs, questions and concerns.

Pallet, Skid or Crate?  Which one is Right for You?

We know that your shipping needs are unique, therefore we are equipped with a wide range of shipping services and methods to meet your needs.  Regardless of what you are shipping, there are some basic questions that can quickly be answered that may not only save you money in the long run, they may also expedite the shipping time and prevent freight damage.  One such question is should you be using a pallet, a skid or a crate for your freight and what makes them different from each other?

Although all three of these terms are used interchangeably, and all are made of wood, there are distinct differences between each and are times when you should choose one over the other.  This is especially true if you are using a variety of methods of shipping or transloading for your freight.  Here is a definition for each and an explanation of when and why one item should be chosen over the other.

Pallet

A pallet is probably the popular and most utilized way of shipping and storing freight.  A pallet has both a top and bottom deck and thus can be easily moved, loaded or unloaded by a forklift.  A pallet is the ideal for all of your transloading needs because of its stability, its ease of stacking and its ease of mobility.  Other important facts about a pallet include:

  • Can carry up to 1000 kg.
  • Typically 48” X 40”.
  • Harder to drag – more friction than a skid.

Skid

The skid is the original pallet and lacks the bottom wooden decking.  The absence of the bottom deck and the use of less materials makes the skid a cheaper version of the pallet.  Because of a skid’s mobility, they are often used as permanent foundations for heavy machinery.  Another advantage of skids is that they take up less space than pallets when they are not in use and can be stored quite easily.

Crate

A crate is different than either a skid or a pallet because it is essentially a wooden box.  A crate not only has a floor, but four walls and offers your freight far more protection than either of the other two shipping methods.  A crate can be built to fit any type of freight and thus can hold a huge volume of goods.  A crate also provides a stable platform for any goods that need to be securely stored or shipped.

The sheer amount of materials that are needed to make a crate typically makes a crate ideal for stacking but makes them bulky and slightly more challenging to transport.

Which is right for you?

Depending upon what type of freight you are shipping, any one of these three shipping methods may be right for you.  We have been specializing in a wide range of shipping services for over 40 years and pride ourselves in our customer service as well as our ability to save you money and speed up your shipping times.

Plastic Vs. Wooden Pallets

Pallets move the world.  They are an integral part of the modern shipping arena and are essential for both storage and transportation.  As the premier shippers for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to offer you the following review of plastic and wooden pallets and which one is right for you.

Plastic Pallets

Plastic pallets are not as prevalent as wooden pallets and are designed for certain shipping and storage needs.  Typically, plastic pallets are used for transporting food items as well as pharmaceutical goods or any other type of shipment that has strict hygienic standards.  Plastic pallets are perfect for this type of shipping because they are not porous and are easy to clean, wash and sterilize.

The main benefit of plastic pallets is that they have a significantly longer lifespan than a wooden pallet and can be reused many times without breakage.  They are sleek, light weight and splinter free, making them perfect for manual handling and stacking.  They are also durable, making them ideal for pallet wrapping.

Other advantages include:

  • A very long shelf life – can be used over 250 times with a life expectancy of over 10 years.
  • Easy to clean and will remain fungus free for its entire life.

The major drawback of a plastic pallet is that it is not biodegradable and must be melted down if it breaks.  Plastic pallets also cost 3 times what a wooden pallet does, so depending on what you ship or where you ship they may not be economical.

Some disadvantages of a plastic pallet include:

  • They are not suitable for loads over 1,500 lbs.
  • Their sleek surface makes them slippery and less stable to stack.
  • May not be economical.

Wooden Pallets

Most items are shipped on wooden pallets.  They comprise between 90-95% of all pallets used in the industry because they can be easily reused and repaired.  Wooden pallets hold more weight than plastic pallets (1,500 lbs. – 3,000 lbs.) and are fully biodegradable once they have reached the end of their lifespan.

Some of the advantages that wooden pallets enjoy include:

  • Lower costs.
  • Hold more weight.
  • Easier to stack on

Wooden pallets are more flammable and do not have the same fire rating as plastic pallets.  Make sure to check the building fire codes when deciding what type of pallet to use.

Some of the drawbacks of wooden pallets include:

  • Not ideal for fragile items such as paint.
  • Average lifespan of a wooden pallet is 5-6 trips.
  • Heavier and more cumbersome.
  • Not hygienic and can be difficult to clean. Needs to be sprayed to keep away mold and funguses.

Your decision on what pallet is right for you needs to be based on a combination of factors.  These include the product you are shipping as well as the industry that you are working in.  You should also look at your shipping budget, any shipping regulations and finally the long-term economics.

If you have any more questions about what type of pallet is right for you or how we can help with your shipping needs, please contact us today.

Shrink-Wrapping

Sometimes traditional shipping methods, such as crates or boxes may not be the most effective or efficient way to move your goods.  There are other less traditional approaches that may meet your shipping needs and can prove to be more beneficial.  Here are some reasons why you should consider shrink-wrapping your cargo and how this approach can be an asset to your shipping needs.

Versatility

The main advantage to shrink-wrapping is its versatility.  Regardless of what type of item you are shipping, you can shrink wrap it.  Shrink-wrapping is the ideal answer for items such as:

  • Oversized or bulky items that will not fit in traditional crates or boxes.
  • Cars and other items that may corrode or scratch as it is shipped.
  • Fragile items that may break or become damaged.
  • Electronics that corrode if exposed to the elements.

Shrink-wrapping is also an ideal way to ship your freight whether it is rail, truck or boat.  All of the items you need to be moved can be shrink-wrapped and then attached to a pallet to make your shipment transloading compatible and easy to unload, offload or transfer.

Protection

Shrink-wrapping also offers your freight an extra layer of protection.  Not only will your freight be protected from scratches or abrasions, shrink-wrapping also protects your goods from the sun and prevents water damage.

A Great Companion

Shrink-wrapping can also be used alongside traditional shipping methods, such as boxes and pallets.  Shrink-wrapped pallets provide more stability by preventing boxes from sliding or tumbling over.  Stable pallets mean that your freight will arrive in one piece and is less likely to be damaged as it is shipped to its destination.

The extra protection that shrink-wrapping provides also helps to keep packages together and prevent small pieces of your freight from falling out of any damaged box or crate.

Speed it up

Keeping your freight in one piece and intact on its pallet throughout its journey is a key piece to having it arrive on time.  In the ultra-competitive shipping world, time is money, so it is important that your freight arrives on time.  Shrink-wrapping makes the entire shipping process more efficient, which will save you time, money and provide customer satisfaction.

All in all, shrink-wrapping just makes sense from a shipping point of view.  Stop by today and let us show you how shrink-wrapping can protect, enhance and compliment your individual shipping needs.  We look forward to working with you soon.

Benefits to Transloading Services

For many businesses across Canada, shipping is an important part of their day to day operations. While there are many different types of shipping that you could choose, perhaps your most beneficial choice is to choose transloading services.

Transloading is a form of shipping where your items are moved between two different forms of transportation, such as from a truck to a boat. While this may seem complicated, choosing transloading for your shipping needs can actually strengthen your business in several ways. Learn more about the benefits of using transloading services and find out how you can schedule transloading from a trusted source in Vancouver.

Reducing Costs

The biggest benefit of choosing transloading for your business’s products is that it’s extremely cost-effective. Transloading allows you to choose the most inexpensive shipping method so that your prices stay as low as possible. For example, in a situation where shipping by train is cheaper than by truck, transloading allows you to primarily ship by rail and then move your products to a truck when it is time for them to be delivered.

If you are looking to control your business’ shipping costs, choosing transloading Vancouver is a great solution.

Improve Your Operations

As mentioned, transloading allows you to employ multiple shipment methods. Not only does this help with your shipping costs, it can also help you expand the reach of your business. Having access to shipping via planes, trains and trucks allows you to transport your products to diverse geographic locations, increasing your customer base and the strength of your business.

With transloading, you can ship your products anywhere in the world.

Maximize Efficiency

When you run a business, you are constantly looking for ways to improve your efficiency, which is one of the biggest benefits of transloading services. By choosing transloading, you can store your business’s products in a storage facility, and when an order comes in you can notify the storage facility and have it shipped directly to your customer.

This both improves your shipping time and cuts out the waste that comes from having to transport your products to a shipping facility every time you receive an order. For businesses focused on improving efficiency, there is no better choice than transloading.

Simplify Your Shipping

If your business deals in heavy, bulky products, finding an effective shipping method can be extremely difficult. However, when you use transloading services, you can ship your heavy items with the greatest of ease. Unlike traditional shipping methods, transloading gives you the option to consolidate your shipments. Consolidation makes it easier to transport your shipment and can also reduce some of the expense that is common when shipping large items.

Schedule Transloading Vancouver

When you’re looking for a method to ship your business’s products that is both effective and affordable, your best option is to choose transloading services, and your best source for transloading Vancouver is Cratex Industrial Packing, LTD.

Cratex specializes in handling hard to ship products, and we can provide your business with the convenient transloading services that you need and deserve. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can meet your transloading needs.