Author Archives: Oliver Pusch


Is Custom Industrial Packing Worth It?

Do you need to ship items for yourself or your business?  If so, then you might be tempted to cut some corners by going with standard cardboard packing for your shipment.  While shipping can be very expensive, cutting corners on the packing that you use can be even more costly.  After all, what happens if the items that you are trying to ship end up arriving broken, damaged or unusable?  Here are some reasons why you could benefit from using custom crating and industrial packing on your next shipment or transloading freight move.

Items Are More Secure in Packing Built for Them

Is it possible to find a box or existing packing material that is pretty close to the size of what you are trying to ship?  Of course it is—the issue becomes about what to do with all of that empty space that needs to be filled around your items.  Fragile items are particularly sensitive to packing materials that might be slightly too large.

Having a crate custom built for your shipment means that the packing material was designed with your items in mind.  If they are fragile, extra care can be built into the packing to ensure that your items have little to no chance of getting damaged.  The amount of empty space around your items is minimized, and can easily be filled up with packing material to ensure your shipment won’t move or shift in transit.

Wooden Crates Offer More Protection

Cardboard is a cheap and low cost way to move items.  The problem is, it isn’t very sturdy; it can’t hold up when things are spilled on it.  It also tends to be easily crushed if it is mishandled.  Therefore, you should ask yourself this question: just how much do you trust the driver who picked up your shipment?

A wooden crate offers a multitude of protections for your shipment.  It can be built to keep items up off of the ground so that spills don’t affect them. Wood is much sturdier than cardboard and can take some manhandling before it breaks.

Overall, your items and your shipment are much safer in a custom crate.

Odd Sized Items Are No Problem

Are you trying to ship an oversized, odd sized or exceptionally heavy item?  That isn’t a problem with custom packing.

Since your packing is being built specifically for the item that is being shipped, you don’t have to worry about it not fitting.  The crate can literally be built around the item so that it fits perfectly.  This will ensure that you don’t have to settle for something that is much too large or for no packing material at all.  Any special need that your item might have can be taken care of by having custom packing built for it.

Trust Cratex Group for Your Custom Packing and Transloading Needs

Make sure that you are giving your next shipment the best protection it can have by having Cratex Group build a custom crate for you.

Want to know why the weight of your shipping container is so critical when shipping or using transloading for sea freight? Here are some reasons.

Why Container Weight Verification Matters

There are many steps involved in shipping freight overseas. If you aren’t using an air freight carrier, then you will be shipping by sea. One of the most important regulations when shipping by sea is ensuring to obey the weight restrictions. That is why there are so many regulations concerning it.

Not only is important for the safety of your cargo, but it can be vital to the safety of the whole vessel. Here is a quick description of the process, and why it is important.

The Process

As you may know, shipping containers have a specific weight that they are allowed to carry. That weight is specified on the shipping container on what is called the CSC plate. This limit can vary from container to container.

When an empty container is brought to your warehouse for loading, there will be an expectation that the weight of the cargo does not exceed the weight limit published on the CSC plate. Unfortunately, you may not know what this limit is, and you can accidentally overload the container. This may simply be a result of not weighing your cargo, or it may be a misunderstanding on your part.

After cargo is loaded into the container, the weight is then officially declared on the bill of lading. Again, if the process is misunderstood, then an overweight container can be mis-declared as having the wrong weight on all of the official documentation.

Since the freight carrier is not aware that the container has been overloaded, they plan the layout on the cargo ship as if the container weighs what the declared weight is listed as. Since most sea faring cargo vessels have thousands of shipping containers loaded on to them, there is a very detailed plan as to where each one goes. This helps balance the load on the vessel.

Finally, the overweight container is loaded onto the vessel for shipment.

What Can Go Wrong

You may be thinking that with thousands of containers loaded onto the vessel, “What’s the big deal if you are a couple hundred pounds overweight?” After all, that number must be small compared to the total weight on the ship. Unfortunately, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Cranes – Shipments are loaded onto a cargo ship using freight cranes. Each cargo container will be picked up by a crane and lowered onto the ship. When picking the crane to use, the weight of the container is a critical number. This means the hook, supports and cabling are all based upon the listed weight. If the container exceeds the weight, the crane can fail, causing the container to drop.

Ship Balance – Sailing on the ocean is not like driving a car. The ocean moves up and down tossing a cargo ship in many different directions. If several containers are all overweight, this can throw off the balance of the ship causing it to capsize.

Considering Transloading for Your Next Shipment?

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Unsure what the purpose of your bill of lading is? It's an important document for transloading, intermodal or any other type of freight shipping.

Bills of Lading: What Are They Good For?

While Edwin Starr asked the same question about war, you might be asking just why you need this complicated document called a bill of lading. The bill of lading is a very important document for shipping that has several different functions. It actually can be the critical document you need if something goes wrong with your shipment. Here are the basic functions of a bill of lading, and why you should ensure that yours is in order before signing for your shipments.

It Contains the Carrier Contract

The bill of lading proves that you have a contract with the carrier. It state the terms, explains who the cargo belongs to and also identifies who is going to be moving the shipment. These are all very important details when shipping your freight.

The technical term is that the bill of lading is Evidence of Contract of Carriage. It is a legal document that shows you have given your freight to the carrier company and that they are responsible for delivering it to a certain location, also specified on the bill of lading.

Finally, it contains the specific time period that this carriage is due to occur. It will have defined start and end dates usually defined as the days that the cargo is picked up and dropped off. This could change depending on the terms of the contract.

Proof of Receipt of Cargo

The bill of lading also serves as a document of transfer. This means that when you need to prove that your freight was handed over by you to the carrier you have chosen to transport it, the bill of lading will reflect that information.

Along with proof of transfer, the condition of the cargo container that the freight was in will also be documented. Why just the condition of the cargo container? Unless the bill of lading specifically calls out for the carrier to perform an inspection of the cargo, or if there is some other reason that the cargo can be inspected (open container, out of gauge cargo, etc.), then most carriers do not have permission to open the cargo container. This helps the carrier. If they do not have access to the cargo, then they cannot be at fault if there is damage inside the container.

Finally, the bill of lading can help prove that a container that has not arrived at its destination was indeed picked up by the carrier. Sometimes containers go missing. The bill of lading is important in tracking them down when they do.

Receipt of Shipment

Finally, the bill of lading identifies who is to receive the cargo when it arrives. It also specifies the manner in which the cargo is to be handled by the receiving party when it does arrive at its destination.

Cratex Group Can Help with Transloading and Custom Crating

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Wondering how lower fuel prices can affect moving freight with a transloading provider? Here are some ways that fuel prices affect the freight business.

The Effects of Gas Prices on Shipping

Since the beginning of 2016, gasoline prices have been at their lowest point in the last few years. As compared to the price of gasoline last year at this time, the world is seeing much lower prices overall at the pumps—so what effect does that have on the freight industry? Let’s take a look at three of the most common methods of transporting freight and see how the lower gas prices have affected each of them individually. You might be surprised to find out what the effects really are.

Air Freight

Traditionally shipping by air is one of the most expensive methods of freight transport. Of course, this is linked to the high cost of airplane fuel as well as the limited space available for air freight. Since the price of oil per barrel is going down, you might expect to see a slight dip in the cost of air freight. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

What translates to lower commercial air fares doesn’t really translate over to the freight side. Most airlines operate just at the edge of making a profit. This means that they are reluctant to lower prices when fuel prices drop. They take advantage of the slight uptick in their profits and sock them away to be able to suffer through one of the more lean times—so if you were planning on taking advantage of lower air freight prices to speed up delivery times, you might want to think again.


Unlike air freight, trucking is much more sensitive to the prices of fuel. Since most trucking lines spend a majority of their overhead on gas, lower prices quickly translate to lower freight prices overall. The lower prices are also a great way to breed competition between carriers. This also benefits someone looking to ship freight as you are now able to play companies off of each other to get the best prices for your shipment.

Overall, expect some savings if you are planning on shipping overland by truck. Just beware oil prices when they go on the rise. It might not be very soon after that truck carrier costs rise to match the new price of fuel.


This is one place that doesn’t see much advantage when fuel prices drop. The whole idea of using intermodal transport is to lower your cost by picking several different carriers who will transfer your freight from one mode to another, say train to truck. The penalty is in time, as cargo must be unloaded and loaded, sometimes several times, to reach the final destination.

Unless you are shipping freight by sea, trucking ends up being much cheaper than intermodal. That is because of the competition and direct correlation between fuel prices and truck freight prices.

Trust Cratex for Your Transloading Needs

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Are you thinking of using transloading services for your next freight shipment? Here are some tips to help you on your way, courtesy of Cratex.

Transloading Tips

Are you looking for ways to move your freight more efficiently? Then you have probably considered using transloading, a great way to effectively manage freight by leveraging several different modes of transportation. Instead of trucking to a distribution centre and then further breaking a shipment down there, a transloading company like Cratex can do the sorting for you and get your shipments to where you need them quickly and cheaply. If you are thinking of leveraging transloading for your freight needs, here are some tips, courtesy of Cratex.

Choose Your Transportation Wisely

The whole idea of transloading is to use multiple modes of freight transport. If you have a land based trucking firm move your shipment to a transloading site only to have it put back onto trucks, then you are not thinking along the right shipping lines.

Transloading should involve rail, sea and truck based shipment—maybe not all three in one freight shipment, but some combination of two (or more) should be on your radar.

Pick the Right Transloading Provider

Make sure when you are looking for transloading companies that you pick the right one. Your provider should have access to multiple shipping carriers and offer services that can enhance your freight carrying. Cratex offers services like custom crating, shipping consolidation and land to sea loading along with many years of experience in the field.

Take Time to Plan

The longer you wait, the more your freight shipment is going to cost. Unless there is a good reason for you to wait until the last minute, get your planning done early. Transloading providers can get full very quickly depending on factors like time of year or economic climate. This means that waiting until the last minute can limit your choice of providers or end up costing you much more. Give at least six months to fully plan ahead if you can. The more time you leave for planning, the better off you will be.

Factor in Transloading Times

Remember, the transfer from one carrier to another does not happen instantaneously. Often there can be 48 to 72 hours of delay between the time that a shipment arrives to a transloading provider and it getting shipped back out again. You should factor at least that much time (or more) into your shipping time estimate for your customers. Otherwise, you might find yourself dealing with angry customers with late shipments.

Do the Math

Transloading is not right for everyone. You should sit down and run through a rough estimate of the numbers to ensure that you are going to be seeing the right amount of savings when using a transloading provider. After doing the calculations, you might find you are better off picking options like LTL freight rather than using transloading. Pick what is best for you and your shipment to ensure that you are getting the most out of your investment.

Contact Cratex Group for Your Transloading Needs

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International Shipping Tips

Shipping domestically is relatively easy. You load up your items into their custom crates or shrink them onto pallets, have a freight carrier pick them up and off they go for delivery. There are a few more moving parts, however, if you are going to be shipping things internationally.

International shipments can go from relatively complicated to nearly impossible depending on where you are shipping to and what the local laws are. Here are some basic tips for shipping large (crated) items internationally. Being aware of these simple things can be the difference between a successful shipment or a disaster.

Is It Worth It?

If you have never shipped before, then you may not be aware of just how expensive it can be to ship large items internationally. It really is the size that matters in a lot of these cases. Relatively inexpensive items (on the order of hundreds of dollars) can end up costing you thousands to ship internationally. Before you set up an international shipment, check into just what the cost of that shipment is going to be. You may find out that the value of the item simply isn’t worth the amount of money it is going to cost to ship it (or receive it) internationally.

What Are the Shipping Rates?

Shipping domestically means that you are going to have flat rate shipping. Domestic companies will charge for distance (typically the further, the more expensive), but the rate is flat and doesn’t vary much after that. International shipping is much different.

Once you cross an international border, charges can go up quite a bit. New rates are applied, taxes and tariffs might be levied, and government approval forms need to be signed. These are typically all added into what is called “landed costs,” which is what the full amount of shipping into another country is going to be. Before you ship, be aware of what your landed cost is going to be so that there are no surprises.

Know the International Law

Did you know that it is illegal to import calendars into Vietnam? If you didn’t and you were trying to send a crate full of novelty calendars there, it might end up being a big problem. Before you try to ship something into another country you need to know what their local laws are regarding the items that you are shipping. You don’t want to find out after the shipment has arrived that it is considered contraband or is illegal.

Consider Using Fulfillment Services

Some companies are able to help you monitor shipping internationally. They are aware of all of the fees that are involved and can help to ensure a shipment arrives where it should and when it should. Make sure to utilize any monitoring services you can to ensure delivery of your shipment.

Trust Cratex Group for Your Custom Crating and Transloading Needs

Looking for a custom crate for your next international shipment? Contact Cratex group to see what we have to offer.

If you are thinking about shipping using a wooden crate, then you should know about the different types that are available. Not all crates are created equal.

Not All Crates Are Created Equal

Take a look at all of that cardboard sitting in your warehouse. Is it really providing the protection that it should to the things that you are packing inside of it? The truth is that while cardboard is cheap, it is quite often not the best option for shipping. Cardboard just doesn’t provide the support, protection and safety that your shipment might need.

Having wooden crates custom built for your shipment might be more expensive than cardboard, but you have to balance out the benefits. Wooden crates will help to ensure that your shipment arrives intact and in perfect condition.

If you are thinking about shipping using a wooden crate, then you should know about the different types that are available. Not all crates are created equal.

Closed Crates

This is probably what you think of when you consider a wooden crate. It is a fully closed crate made typically of ply wood. There are no openings in the crate at all, and it is typically nailed or screwed closed.

These crates are great for transporting items that have no need for ventilation. They are also good for carrying items that are a risk of spilling things that could contaminate or damage other items around them. Spills in a closed crate tend to stay self-contained and will isolate any damage to the contents of that crate alone. Spills outside of a closed crate have a hard time getting inside, so your goods remain protected.

Frame Crate

Unlike the closed crate, a frame crate is probably something that you would never think of when trying to picture a shipping crate. Frame crates are exactly what the name suggests. They are a constructed frame of wood that is nailed together. A frame crate has no top or sides (called sheathing). You can see directly inside of the crate to see what is stored there.

Frame crates are typically used to transport things that need support but don’t need protection. Large machinery, custom metal parts and other heavy gear are candidates for frame crates.

Open Crates

An open crate is a crate that is constructed of wooden planks instead of sheets of plywood. A frame is constructed and the planks are attached to the frame either by nails or screws. Open crates are still closed on all sides, but there is typically a gap between the planks that will allow airflow into the crate.

Open crates are great for shipping things that need air and ventilation. Produce is a good example of items that would typically be shipped in an open crate.

Stitched and Wire Bound Crates

These “recycled” crates are typically made of pieces of thin pieces of wood that are held together using wire or banding for support. Triangular corners are used to add strength and reinforce weak spots.

Trust Cratex Group for Custom Crating and Transloading Services

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Here is some advice from your transloading partners at Cratex Group on how to avoid dry run fees.

Understanding and Avoiding Dry Run Fees

The shipping industry is an alphabet soup of abbreviations, acronyms and other terms that have no meaning in the real world. The problem is, many of these terms are associated with rather high fees, penalties and other charges that can add a significant amount to the freight charges. Understanding what these fees are and why they occur is a key in helping to avoid them and paying the least amount that you can for those freight charges.

Let’s take a look at what dry run fees are, why they are assessed and how you can avoid getting them.

What Is a Dry Run Fee?

The dry run fee is something that is assessed when a freight carrier shows up to pick up a delivery, but the freight wasn’t ready. There can be several reasons that this happens. The freight isn’t ready for pickup at the time that the carrier arrives. The shipper was not aware that the pickup was going to occur at that date/time. The freight is ready, but not in a state that the freight carrier is able to pick up. This could be due to the freight not being palletized in a way that the carrier can pick up or that it is just not ready to go per the freight agreement.

Quite simply a dry run fee happens when the freight carrier shows up and leaves empty handed. “Dry Run” is a tongue in cheek way of saying they were practicing driving from the carrier to the shipper.

How Can You Avoid Dry Run Fees?

Of course the easiest way to avoid the fee is to make sure that the freight carrier doesn’t show up until the order is ready to go. This can mean several things.

First, the order must be completed, boxed up and palletized. A freight carrier is there to pick up and go, they are not going to assist in packing the order. They are also not going to have time to wait around while the order is completed.

Secondly timing between the shipper, receiver and freight transport company is critical in ensuring that this does not occur. If the receiver is the one who is arranging shipping, then any delays that the shipping company is experiencing must be communicated properly and in a timely manner. This is also true if the shipper is the one arranging the freight. Communication between all parties is critical to ensure that the timing works out properly.

Not All Is Lost

Sometimes freight carriers will not charge a dry run fee. This is simply good will on their part for not wanting to raise freight charges unnecessarily. If you have a freight carrier that chooses to do this, do not abuse them. Try to make it a one-time occurrence.

Trust Cratex for Your Industrial Packing and Transloading Needs

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