Choosing a Shipping Container

cargo containers on a freight shipChoosing the right shipping container is key to ensuring your shipment arrives safely and undamaged. There are a number of issues that have to be addressed when you’re selecting a container, and you should be careful to consider all salient points before moving forward.

What to look for when inspecting your shipping containers

Exterior Pre-Inspection

Before you even pack your container, check to be sure that the Safety Approval Plate is valid and up to date. Be sure that there are no holes or breaches in the exterior walls, or damage to side rails. Make sure that the doors function properly, with all hinges and gaskets functioning as they are intended.

Roof bows on open top containers should be all present and work smoothly, and for containers with hard tops, there should be no damage to the roof, which should lock securely. Make sure that any labels or other markings on the container are correct and proper; remove those that don’t apply to your shipment.

Interior Pre-Inspection

Inspecting the interior of the container is as important as the outside. Enter the container and close yourself in. If you can see light, the container is not properly sealed. Be sure that the inside is completely free of foreign substances such as grease, dirt and grime, and is dry.

Be sure that there are no unwanted stowaways like mice or insects inside the container, and make sure that there are no odors or fumes that can contaminate your shipment.

Post-Loading Inspection

Your inspection doesn’t end after you load your shipping crates. After you’ve got the cargo inside, make sure that it is properly and securely arranged to avoid damage from bumping, rocking, or other impact situations, paying extra attention to any cargo near the doors.

Make sure that you have a detailed roster of everything inside so that customs can properly inspect the shipment if needed. Ensure that the doors and roof are secured with sturdy cables and locks, and be sure that you have the proper seal of approval and meet all ISO guidelines.

Be certain that if your shipment requires environmental controls, these are at the proper setting and showing a consistent temperature. Keep your labels at a minimum, so as not to attract attention from less-than-savory people; stick to only the required and necessary placards.

Pre-Unloading

When your cargo reaches its destination, be certain that a qualified shipping professional takes the time to examine the container before unloading. Make sure that the locks and seals are still secure, that the temperature is still stable, that all labels, placards, and crate aspects match the documentation from the point of origin.

Check for any new damage to the exterior of the container that may have resulted from shipping, and document as appropriate. Finally, check the contents against the shipping manifest to be sure everything is where it needs to be.

If you need help choosing the right shipping containers for your cargo, we can help. Feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.