Category Archives: Blog

5 Ways to Lower Your Freight Costs

Chances are that shipping costs are a significant portion of your company’s expenses.  As the premier packing and crating company in the Lower Mainland, we would like to offer you the following 5 ways to lower your freight costs and save your business money.

Maximize your Loads

The more you ship, the less you will pay for each load.  Before sending your next container, make sure that it is filled and you have made the most out of the container’s space.

Choose the Right Transportation Method

Maximizing your shipping load is only part of the solution.  It is important that you choose the right transportation method as well.  Sometimes the cheapest mode may not be the most cost efficient.  Some factors to consider when determining the right method for you include:

  • The type of product you are shipping – Is it fragile? Does it have an expiration date? Is it seasonal?
  • Your product’s destination –national, local or international.
  • Will you need multiple transportation methods and transloading – air/boat/rail/truck or a combination of the three?

Consolidate your Cargo

Consolidating your cargo or making it part of a larger shipment with other companies who are shipping to a similar area may be a great way to cut shipping costs.  Even if it means that your freight is travelling in a less direct route, it may make sense from a cost benefit perspective.


Part of the total shipping cost can also include storage fees or time in a warehouse.  It is always better to get your product to its destination sooner rather than later.

Time it Right

Try to ship your cargo to its destination at non-peak shipping times such as major holidays.  You will typically pay more for shipping costs around busier times such as Christmas or Chinese New Year.  Many carriers are at full capacity at these times and your shipments may be delayed or charged premium fees.  Plan accordingly.

Reliable Partners

Find a reliable shipping partner that you trust and has your best interests in mind.  A responsible and competent partner should be able to help you consolidate your cargo and find you the most efficient and effective transportation method for all your specific shipping needs.  The right collaborator should also be flexible and have multiple contacts regardless of what type of transportation you are using.

At Cratex Group, we understand the unique world of shipping and work on a personal level with all our clients to not only reduce shipping costs, but to provide the tools and equipment necessary to ensure their freight arrives on time and in the same condition it left the warehouses or factories.  We look forward to working with you soon.

Plastic vs. Wooden Pallets: Which One is Right for You?

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.





Shipping Heavy Haul

Heavy haul is a term that is given to oversized or wide load freight.  Heavy haul may require special permits as the load exceeds the legal limits for weight, height or width and can be more complex than regular freight.  Your heavy haul freight may require transloading partners as well as different permits and routes.  We understand the heavy haul process and would like to offer you the following tips on how to ship your heavy haul freight.

Know Your Dimensions

Before starting the heavy haul process, make sure to know the dimensions of the freight you are looking to ship.  Believe it or not, a few inches can make the difference of the cost, route or even the permits required to ship your load.

Here’s the deal:

If the proposed dimensions or weight are different than the actual dimensions and weight, your freight may be held up, as permits will have to be changed or re-applied for, all at your cost.

Plan Ahead

It is also advisable that you set out a timeline and be somewhat flexible with this timeframe.  Allow for time to secure the necessary permits and make the arrangements, especially if multiple carriers or transloading is involved.  It is also important to allow time or prepare for the unexpected.


Construction or weather can drastically change shipment times and dates and need to be accounted for. Be patient and allow extra time for the minor inconveniences.

Seek out Professionals

Once you know the dimensions of the freight and a timeline, the next step is to find a shipping company that is reliable and can take care of all the other details such as:

  • Do you need any special machinery to load or unload? Make sure that your shipping company has cranes or forklifts and can unload and offload your freight.
  • Are there other special requirements? Requirements such as: braces, tie downs, flagging pallets or crates.
  • Can your shipping company take care of the necessary paperwork? Make sure that your carrier can handle the necessary permits and that they are included in your shipping costs.

The more factors that you and your shipping company can account for, the smoother the shipping process can be.  Preplanning can save you not only time but also money which will lead to a better bottom line for you and full customer satisfaction for your customers.

At Cratex, we understand the complexities that come with heavy haul shipping.  We provide state of the art specialized equipment that will get your freight on and off the trucks and safely to its final destination.  We will work with you to ensure that your freight is delivered effectively and efficiently as possible, regardless of its limitations.  When you are looking for a shipping partner for your heavy haul needs, remember Cratex.  We look forward to working with you soon.

How to Properly Pack your Freight for Shipping

It is important to keep in mind that a carrier’s job is to move your freight from A to B, not to prepare it for shipment.  It is up to you to ensure that your freight is properly prepared and packed if you want your goods to arrive at their destination undamaged. Here are some tips on how to pack your freight regardless of whether your goods are being shipped across town or via multiple transloading methods.

The Right Packaging Materials

Using quality proper packing materials is essential if you want your freight to arrive undamaged.  Make sure to use:

  • Quality Boxes.
  • Quality Pallets.
  • Quality Shrink Wrap.
  • Quality Tape.

Packing Boxes

The first line of defense is the box that you are using to pack your goods. Use many small boxes rather than a few large boxes.  When you are packing your goods, make sure that all your boxes are full and there is no empty space.  Space will allow your boxes to collapse and your items may get crushed or damaged.

If there is extra room use packing peanuts, bubble wrap or even newspaper to take up the extra volume.  Make sure to use enough quality tape to seal each box so that the box will not tear open when being shipped.

Properly Stack Your Freight

Once you have packed all your freight into the desired boxes, it is time to pack them on the pallet.

Here’s the Deal:

Always use a pallet to stack your freight.  A pallet provides a stable and sturdy base that will keep your freight off the floor, away from water.  A pallet is also easy to move if you are transloading your freight.

When stacking your boxes, ensure that your boxes are stacked evenly and that the weight of each pallet is evenly distributed.  Stack all the heavier items at the bottom and lighter boxes on top to prevent any of your boxes from being crushed.  Make sure that no boxes overhang or jut out from the pallet as these boxes will be damaged or may dislodge making your pallet unstable.

The Final Touches

A well stacked pallet should not be the end of your freight packaging.  A few final touches will really set your freight apart and ensure a safe and undamaged arrival at its final destination.

  • Applying a layer of flat cardboard every few boxes can help solidify and strengthen your freight pallet and ensure that the boxes that you are stacking remain even and aligned.
  • Cardboard corner beads are a great way to add an extra layer of strength to your freight.
  • Shrink wrap your pallet. Make sure to add at least 3-5 wraps of quality shrink wrap. Twist the wrap to add strength and do not wrap the bottom of the pallet as it will interfere with the forklift tilt.

These tips will ensure that your freight is ready to be shipped and you can rest assured that your goods will arrive undamaged.  If you would like more information on how to properly pack your freight or the shipping options that we can provide, please contact us today.


Avoiding Freight Damage

Although rare (less than 1%) damaged freight is a reality that can have a huge impact on your business.  Luckily, many of the accidents that damage freight are preventable.  Here are some helpful tips on how you can prevent and avoid freight damage of your goods.

Start with a Pallet

When it comes to preparing your freight for shipping, do not cut corners.  Regardless of what you are shipping, we recommend using a pallet as a base.  This is especially important if you are planning on using transloading as part of your overall shipping method.  A pallet is neither expensive nor hard to use and provides a stable base that is easy and can be wrapped or bound to protect your cargo.

Protecting Fragile Freight

A pallet is just the beginning of how to avoid freight damage.  If you are shipping fragile freight, here are some great ideas on how to ensure that your freight remains undamaged throughout its journey.

  • Add extra packing on the inside of each box to protect individual items.
  • Pack items in smaller boxes or individually.
  • Add an extra layer of shrink wrap to the outside of the pallet and boxes. (We can help with this process if needed).
  • Pack it in a crate for optimal protection.

Here’s the Deal:

Even if you take these extra steps, the most important part of ensuring that your fragile freight remains undamaged is to correctly label it.  Make sure that your labels are bright and can be easily read when they are stacked.  A fragile label goes a long way and will reduce the chances of freight damage.

Other Strategies to Avoid Freight Damage

Even if you are shipping standard materials, there are many strategies that you can employ to minimize any freight damage.  These include:

  • Pack heavy boxes at the bottom of your pallet and lighter boxes on top.
  • Distribute weight evenly on your pallet and stack your boxes evenly as well. Make sure that no boxes overhang or jut out as these will definitely get damaged.
  • Use cardboard corners around the pallet to strengthen your entire load.
  • Do not use damaged boxes as they will collapse and could potentially damage your freight.


Always use a quality adhesive when packaging your freight.  Incorrectly sealed packages are one of the top reasons that freight gets damaged.  Make sure that the tape is at least 2 inches thick and is durable enough to hold up against water damage.

By following these tips, you should be able to minimize or even negate any freight damage.  Undamaged freight will not only save your business money, it will also lead to customer satisfaction.  If you have any questions on how we can help you protect your freight, please call us or stop by today.  We have been delivering all types of undamaged freight for over 40 years and would love to be a part of your shipping process.






How Green Shipping Can Save You Money

We live in a global world.  The rise and demand for goods and products has forced many businesses to think larger than locally or even nationally.  In order to reach these new found markets, you may need to rethink and develop new cost-efficient shipping methods.  What you may not realize is that often green shipping or sustainable shipping methods can be some of the most cost efficient ways to reach these new markets.

As the premier transloading and shipping company in Vancouver, we would like to offer you the following ways to take advantage of sustainable shipping methods and why they are right for your business.

Why Use Sustainable Shipping?

Sustainable shipping is part of the larger green initiative that is influencing how companies choose to do business and is a major selling factor for consumers.  Businesses that choose to take the extra responsibility of sustainable practices are going to be rewarded by consumers and markets for their choices.  Besides a market perspective, other reasons to choose a more sustainable shipping method include:

  • The high cost and amount of waste of extra and often excessive packaging that comes when you use more traditional means of shipping.
  • Emission rates and extra and often unnecessary shipping costs. These can quickly be paired down by employing transloading to your shipping methods.

How Can You Save Money?

Less is more

Reduce the amount of packaging and material that you are using to ship your products.  If you cannot reduce your packaging, look at greener packing choices, such as:

  • Replace all plastics with paper or other bio-degradable, environmentally friendly packaging materials.

Green inside and out

  • Try to use 100% recyclable materials for your shipping packaging.
  • Reuse packing and packaging if possible to save money.

Ship in bulk

  • If possible, try to ship as many products together to maximize your freight space and weight. This is not only a more sustainable way to ship your goods, the efficiency will also save you money.

Review your shipping methods

  • Take the time to review your shipping partners. See if there are ways to save money by either consolidating freight or if you are a small company, perhaps collaborate with another business that is shipping to a similar or the same destination.
  • See if by choosing sustainable shipping methods there are any savings, rebates or taxes that can be found through greener shipping choices.

The green movement is here to stay.  By choosing more sustainable shipping practices new, you are not only choosing a more responsible way to conducting business, you are also showing consumers that you are putting the environment and earth first.

We would love to help you with your shipping needs and be a part of the new, sustainable shipping market.  Contact us today to see how we can help.





Pallet vs. Skid vs. 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 definitely times when you should choose one over the other.  This is especially true if you are using different 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.


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.


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.


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.  Call or stop by today and let us help you determine whether a pallet, skid or crate is right for you.


How is an Expensive Sports Car Shipped?

Here you can see many hours work in a few seconds, the step by step work that goes into preparing an expensive sports car for shipping.

Cratex Group animated gif of packing and crating Mercedes BenzThe animation will repeat in a few seconds. It is part of the 4 minute video on the homepage of our website.

Every item we handle demands a different method of blocking, bracing, and crating.

Sports cars, for example, are very delicate items. They are made to move, and to move fast. But they can’t move inside the crate while being shipped.

We can expertly pack and crate anything you can throw our way, including products requiring environmentally friendly shrink wrapping and corrosion protection. We’ve been developing our own systems and expertise for packing and crating for 40 years, and we know what we’re doing. We will take on any challenge.

Contact us today to talk about your special shipment.

The Benefits of Custom Crating

Not all crates are created equally.  Regardless of what you are shipping, you want your goods to arrive at their final destination as quickly as possible and undamaged.  One of the best ways to protect your freight throughout its destination is to use a crate.  Custom crates offer even more protection and can be more beneficial if you are using transloading as your main shipping means.

Here are some of the many benefits of using custom crating.

Built to Suit

The main advantage to using a custom crate is to prevent damage.  It can be built to the exact dimensions of your goods.  Custom crating is ideal for all types of cumbersome goods or items that are too large for conventional crates.

At Cratex, we take custom crating to another level to ensure that your goods are protected at all times.  This includes:

  • Determining the exact requirements regarding the shape and size of your freight.
  • The amount of protection required.
  • The fragility of your goods.
  • Whether or not there are any environmental concerns to be considered.


A custom crate will also consider the weight of the products that you will be shipping.  This means that your custom crate will be able to support and protect your goods regardless of the method of shipping.  Using a custom crate will give you piece of mind that it will not break on its way to its destination.

Easy to Move

Because a custom crate protects and supports your freight, it can be loaded and offloaded as many times as necessary without concern of damage.  These crates can also be customized to make them stackable.  The mobility of a custom crate adds a new dimension to your shipping and will allow a more streamlined and faster shipping time.

Prevents Shifting

Custom crates also prevent any shifting that may occur as your freight is being shipped.  Using braces or blocking, a custom crate will ensure that your freight will not be damaged or move as it travels to its shipping destination.

At Cratex, we offer other ways to protect your goods as well.  We can work with you to find the perfect blend of custom crating and protections, such as shrink wrapping to ensure that your freight arrives in the same condition it left our warehouse.

We bring years of experience to every custom crate we make and understand the unique needs that you may require for your precious freight.  We can help you understand and meet all of the rules and regulations of various destination points and ensure that your goods arrive on time and undamaged.  Please contact us today and see how custom crating can help you with your shipping needs.

Cratex Group - Industrial Packing

Shrink-Wrapping–A New Approach to Shipping

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.


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.


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 final 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.