Packing and Shipping Heavy, Awkward, Fragile, or Expensive Goods

Some items require extra thought and care when packing and shipping.  From heavy machinery to expensive artwork we are the experts.  We have put together a step by step guide for some of the items that need extra care when traveling across town, across the country or even across the world. 

With over forty years’ experience we know all the techniques to keep your items, your staff, and the general public safe during transit of your heavy, awkward, fragile, or expensive goods, and are happy to share this information with you.

Let’s start with the extra heavy, awkward stuff.


Packing and shipping heavy or over-sized freight presents challenges that are far different than standard freight shipments.  Many of these logistical problems can be solved with the right shipping materials, such as skids.

What is a Skid?

The skid was the main shipping foundation for all freight in the 1930’s.  They were used extensively in World War 2 because of their ability to be pulled by a truck through all types of terrain.  With the advent of the double-faced pallet, the skid became primarily a shipping foundation for over-sized and heavy freight.

Skids are not pallets. There are some important differences as well as advantages to both, depending upon what you are shipping.  The main difference between a pallet and skid is:

  • Pallets are constructed with a top and bottom deck whereas skids lack a bottom deck.
  • A pallet can provide more stability than a skid, especially for lighter freight.

The reason a skid lacks the bottom deck and rests on pedestals is twofold:

  • The skid’s unique design allows it to be highly mobile and easy to move from all sides.
  • Skid’s are stronger than pallets so they can accommodate a wide range of heavy or over-sized freight.

How a Custom-made Skid Can Help

Because heavy, over-sized, and awkward items are shipped less often, they almost always require custom shipping preparations.  This is where custom skids come in.  A custom skid is designed to account for not only the unique size and shape of your freight, but also any special lifting device or any other transportation hurdle that your freight may encounter.  In short, a custom skid allows your over-sized or heavy freight the opportunity to become more easily mobile.

Custom skids can also be used to provide a permanent and stable foundation.  This can be especially important if you need to move or relocate heavy machinery around a job site.  Custom skids are designed to be stable and reliable and take up little space when not in use because they are stackable and easily stored. Depending upon your shipping needs, a customized skid may be right for you.

Know Your Dimensions

Heavy Haul goods are more complex to handle than regular freight. The route for shipping usually has to be planned carefully, and may require special permits as the load likely exceeds legal limits for weight on the road. Your heavy haul freight may also require shipping partners with special transloading equipment.

Before starting the Heavy Haul process make sure you know the exact dimensions of the freight you are looking to ship.  If it requires special packing or protection during transit you’ll need the dimensions after it’s been packed. Even a few inches can make a crucial difference in the cost, route and permits required to ship your load.

If the proposed dimensions or weight is different than the actual dimensions and weight, your freight may be held up as permits are changed or even re-applied for. Resulting delays, unexpected fines and storage fees can increase your shipping cost dramatically.

Plan Ahead

The more time and effort you put into planning your shipment the less delays you’ll confront along the way. For long trips it’s advisable to check with the Department of Highways about major road construction or bridge work on your route. And if multiple carriers or transloading is required we recommend you contact each shipping partner in advance to ensure they have the time on their schedule and the equipment to provide the service you need when you need it.

  • Do you need special cranes or forklifts to load or unload?
  • What about braces, tie downs, flagging pallets or crates?
  • Do you have adequate insurance to cover damage or loss?
  • Do you need to hire a surveyor to assess the full value and supervise the entire shipping process?

Road conditions are more important for Heavy, Awkward, or Over-Sized loads. We recommend you check with the weather office to see if unexpected weather may reduce road conditions which could cause delays.

The more factors you and your shipping company can account for in advance, the smoother the shipping process will be.  Preplanning can save you time and money, which will lead to a better bottom line for you and satisfaction for your customer. Other pre-shipment preparations include:

  • Removing detachable parts and securing them.
  • Disconnecting batteries and draining fluids.
  • Thoroughly cleaning the equipment and doing a proper safety check to make sure everything is in working order.


Above you can see many hours work in a few seconds, the steps that go into preparing an expensive sports car for shipping. The animation will start again in 7 or 8 seconds. It is part of the four minute 40th Anniversary video on this page 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. But they can’t move inside the crate.

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 in packing and crating for 40 years, and we know what we’re doing. We will take on any challenge.


shipping glass - fragile

If you’re a manufacturer of expensive or fragile equipment you know how stressful it can be to find the right shipping methods for your product. Without the right shipping strategy you run the risk of having your important products damaged in transit, possibly angering your customers and harming your reputation.

Fortunately, with the right information you can safely ship your expensive and delicate equipment so that both you and your customers have peace of mind. Here is some advice for shipping fragile products and advice for hiring a trusted Vancouver transloading service for your most important shipping jobs.

Bubble Wrap is Key

If you’ve ever shipped a delicate product in the past chances are that you protected your merchandise with bubble wrap. While almost everyone is familiar with bubble wrap, fewer people are aware that there is a proper way to use it.

Your bubble wrap should create a one-inch barrier around your shipping items. This will be adequate for most sensitive items that you’re shipping.

Mark Everything

An underrated factor in shipping equipment that could be damaged during transportation is letting your Vancouver packing and crating company know your items need an extra level of protection. While you’ll be able to notify your shipper when planning your services, you should also clearly mark your packages with information about their special shipping needs.

Add large, bright stickers to your packages that indicate they are fragile. In addition, always indicate if your items need to be stored in a certain orientation. Properly marking your packages is one of the best ways to increase the chances of a successful shipment free from serious damage.

Documentation Protects Your Investment

Unfortunately, despite our best precautions, there are some things beyond our control. It’s still possible that your expensive materials will be damaged during shipping when they’re out of our hands. If this ends up happening, you will need to file a damaged item claim, which means you’ll need to prove they were damaged while being transported and not before.

The best way to protect your investment is to document their condition before shipping. Take pictures of your items as you pack them. This will make it much easier for you to determine if they’ve been damaged during transport. If you must file an insurance claim, you’ll be glad to have this evidence on your side.

If you need help packing and shipping your delicate items, then you need to seek Vancouver packing and crating services through Cratex Industrial Packing, LTD. At Cratex, we specialize in hard to pack and ship products. We can help you make sure your expensive and sensitive items are packed correctly to arrive to their destination unscathed.


Whether you are in a band, the owner of a music shop or part of a symphony orchestra, safely shipping your musical instrument can be stressful to say the least.

In General

All the general rules of shipping apply regardless of what type of musical instrument you are looking to ship.  These rules include:

  • Use quality packing materials, packing tape, bubble wrap, and a sturdy wooden crate.
  • Invest in a good case – be sure that your instrument fits securely in the case to prevent any shifting during transit.
  • Insurance – take out an insurance policy on your instrument before shipping.


For stringed instruments such as violins, guitars and basses:

  • Loosen the strings – remove the tension before packing. This will ensure they don’t snap or damage your instrument in transit.
  • Properly wrap the headstock. Use bubble wrap or soft cloth to wrap the neck of your instrument as it needs extra support.


If you are in the market for art, have just found your favourite masterpiece, or are looking to ship a valuable piece to a dealer, the most important part of any shipment is making sure it arrives at its destination undamaged.

Custom Packing and Crating

Some paintings can be shipped in a tube. But most requires custom packing and crating by experienced professionals like we have at Cratex. Don’t do this at home. 🙂 The crate needs to protect the piece from any kind of damage during transit. Before starting the wrapping process it is important to measure your artwork’s weight, length, width and height so we can estimate the cost of your custom crate, and your shipping costs.

You may also need to consider what protection your piece needs from temperature and moisture. Does your artwork need to be Shrink-wrapped?

By following these simple guidelines, you will be able to ship any type of art with the piece of mind that it will arrive in the same condition that it left.

At Cratex we understand the complexities that come with heavy haul shipping. We have state of the art specialized equipment that will get your freight on and off the trucks and safely to its destination. We will work with you to ensure that your freight is delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible, regardless of the requirements.

If you have any questions on shipping extra heavy, fragile, awkward and expensive items, anything about wrapping, packing, crating and shipping these items we are the experts. We’d also be happy to do it all for you. Please contact us today.