October 9, 2012

Shipping Via Freight

Items packed onto 40x48 pallet to be shipped via freight.
Shrink wrapped and banded pallet - ready to ship!
Freight shipping is a great option if your item(s) weigh more than 150 lbs., which is too heavy for a parcel service to transport. You may need to ship one large, heavy item (a chest, a chair) or maybe you’re shipping many items that have a combined weight of more than 150 lbs. (boxes, small furniture). 

In both cases, the items should be packaged carefully and then shrink wrapped and banded onto a standard 40x48 pallet. This secures the items together to the base, which is then moved onto a truck by forklift or pallet jack. If your shipment contains many boxes, this is a great way to ship them all together in one snug group, rather than separately with a parcel service – there is less chance for damage or loss, and everything arrives at the same time.  

For small household moves, it may be less expensive to ship your items via freight than with a traditional household move (if you have less than a truckload (LTL)). Shipping costs are based on weight and dimensions, so after your items are banded to a pallet, it can be weighed and measured, and an accurate quote can be ascertained.

Freight shipments primarily deliver to the curb. Any extra services required at destination, such as indoor delivery, lift-gate service, or specific day/time delivery, will incur extra fees for each accessorial service. A failed delivery attempt will also cause an extra fee.

In order to register a freight shipment, there is specific information needed in order to ensure proper delivery: 

1.       shipper and recipient’s name, address, phone number, email address

2.       Does the recipient require lift-gate service or is there a dock at destination?

3.       Does the recipient require indoor delivery?

4.       Can the destination address safety receive a tractor-trailer delivery?

Insurance valuation is an important option to think about when shipping via freight. Generally, insurance valuation for regular household goods shipments is $.50 per $100, but you must check this with your freight carrier when scheduling.

July 16, 2012

Packing Fine China for Shipping

Anyone who regularly sees shipments come and go through UPS or FedEx can attest to the fact that the packages being shipped don’t always arrive in the same condition they were sent in.  On its journey to the destination, the package may be tossed, tipped over, tumbled or stacked with other boxes on top of it.  However, with the proper packing practices and the right supplies, you can ensure that even your set of fine china can be shipped without any damage during the journey to its destination.

To start packing your dishes, lay them out on a table according to size and type – plates in one pile, cups in another, and larger trays and heavier items in another.  The largest and heaviest items should be packed individually with three or four layers of bubble wrap, depending on the fragility of each piece.  The same goes for irregularly shaped items that do not stack well together.  This manner of packing ensures that there are many layers of bubble that will act as a buffer between each item. 
For plates, bowls and saucers that are all uniform in size and shape, we recommend that they be wrapped in small stacks of four or five.  In order to do so, however, it is necessary to place a buffer between each plate.  Thin sheets of foam wrap will serve for this purpose, as they do not add any significant weight but will still work well to protect the surface of each plate.  Once you have your stack of alternating plates and foam sheets, it is ready to be bubbled into a single bundle.  For stacks like these with multiple items together, four layers of bubble should protect them sufficiently.
Once you have everything wrapped in bubble, you must select a sturdy box.  Cartons known as “dish packs” or “dish barrels” are ideal for shipping fragile china items – they have a double layer of corrugated cardboard and are a little taller than a regular shipping box.  Depending on how large your china set is, you may decide on a different size box instead of a dish pack, which measures in at 18”x18”x28”.  If so, a comparable double layer carton is highly recommended.  In addition, a layer or two of bubble wrap on the top, bottom, and all four sides of the carton will help protect the contents from external impacts.
Of course, the heaviest and strongest items should be placed at the bottom of the box, and the lightest and smallest on the top.  Items such as trays and plates should be placed in the box edge-on so that they are vertical, not flat.  If necessary, you may want to consider adding a couple of layers of bubble in between layers of china for additional buffering as you stack them in the box.  If there is any extra space to fill in between bundled items or at the top of the box, bubble wrap or peanuts are good options to do so.
Now that you’ve learned the procedure for packing your china set, you can rest easy knowing that you have done everything possible to ensure your package arrives with its contents fully intact!

April 18, 2012

Box Basics

A box is a box . . . right? Well, not exactly. Those of us who work with boxes every day know that the quality of a box determines whether a shipment will arrive at its destination safely or not. It is simply not worth it to use an inferior box and risk possible damage to a customer’s belongings during shipping or storage.

Corrugated boxes are manufactured in single, double, and triple “walls” (see above picture). Most items can be packed in a single-wall box, but if an item is very heavy or bulky, a heavier duty box is recommended. Tri-wall boxes are very large boxes generally used for transporting oversized, heavy items or a collection of boxes/suitcases/duffle bags.

Packing fragile items brings on a new set of requirements. For example, if you were packing a crystal bowl or several dishes in a box, you could use a single-wall box with plenty of bubble wrap around each dish. But, if you were packing an entire set of dishes/china in one box, you would definitely want to use a double-wall carton (such as a “dishpack” or “china barrel”), and of course, plenty of bubble wrap.

Be aware that if you are shipping an item in its product box (for example, a kitchen blender or a set of pans), the product box is not a suitable shipping box, even if you repack the item in the same packaging it came in.  For shipping, it should be repacked with bubble wrap and fitted into a slightly larger box meant for shipping. Those product boxes are very thin and have no protection again the rigors of truck transport and conveyor belts.  

For an excellent description of all the different standard moving boxes, click here.

Remember that shipping rates are determined by the weight and dimensions of a carton. The larger the carton, in general, the higher the cost to ship, even if it only weighs a few pounds. 

To see our previous post on portable self storage, click here.

March 13, 2012

The Art of Lifting

In the transportation industry, we lift objects all day long. Obviously we lift a lot of boxes – small and large boxes, oversized boxes, heavy and light boxes. We lift furniture, appliances, household items of every shape and size, heavy and light items. We lift office equipment, machines, chairs, desks, filing cabinets. We lift sculptures, oversized artworks, crated objects – you name it! 

We move all of these items up stairs and down stairs. We move them down long passageways, through tight doorways, up ramps and down ramps, out of basements and into basements. 

There is a lot of bending and lifting that goes into moving these varied objects, but one constant remains the same – how we protect our bodies when we lift ANYTHING.

Lifting 101
  • You have heard this a million times, but it is the holy grail of lifting – do not lift from your back, lift from your legs. Be sure your footing is solid, and keep the object as close to your body as possible.
  • Every time you lift, be aware of what you’re about to do. Don’t lift without thinking, because it’s those sudden lifting movements that cause most injuries.
  • Test the weight of the object before lifting it so you are prepared for a heavy or light load.
  • Lifting a large or heavy piece with someone else takes the load off both of your backs.
  • Keep your eyes open for anything sharp that may cut you – nails, splinters, sharp edges.
  • Pull your stomach in while lifting to protect your lower back.
  • If you need to turn while you’re lifting, move your feet instead of twisting your back/waist.

February 3, 2012

International Shipping

Sending a package to an international destination is a little more involved than the typical domestic shipment within the U.S.  When you ship anything other than documents overseas, some other critical factors come into play.
1.  An itemized invoice or declaration of goods is required. This form clearly identifies the contents of the package, providing a description of each item, their quantities, country of manufacture and values.  Customs requires this document, and they have the authority to open your package and verify what is listed on the invoice if there are any questions, or if there is no declaration of goods form affixed to the package. Duties and taxes associated with your shipment will be charged depending on the values associated with the package and are paid by the shipper or recipient (or even a third party), depending upon how the shipment was originally set up.
2.  Prohibited commodities.  Keep in mind that each country has its own unique import restrictions of items that will not be accepted through Customs. Some examples of generally prohibited commodities include firearms, dangerous goods, hazardous or combustible materials, pornography, and perishable goods or plants. China – animal skins, antiques and jewelry;  Mexico – gambling devices and playing cards; Jamaica – coffee; Japan – furs, military equipment.
3.  Telephone numbers.  The sender’s and recipient’s phone numbers are required information, along with their full addresses. Certain countries’ mail services require that the carrier be able to contact the recipient directly in order to deliver the shipment.  This is especially vital in countries that may have “extended service areas,” which are outside of the carriers regular service areas.
4.  Tracking number. Once your local shipper has registered your shipment you will receive a tracking number associated with the transport company. You can enter the tracking number on the carrier’s website and can follow where your package is in transit, whether it has been held up at Customs, and if so, the reason(s) it was held.
5.  Restricted countries – The USA is restricted from shipping items to the following countries:  Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Mayanmar (Burma)
If you arrive at your local shipper fully prepared with the above information, you have done everything you can to assure that your package arrives smoothly without any unforeseen issues.

January 3, 2012

Don't Transport These Items!

When you are planning to move, keep in mind that there are certain items that should NOT be transported by your moving company.
Flammable, Hazardous, Corrosive or Explosive Items
Anything that falls into this category is illegal for moving companies to transport. Hazardous materials include explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives, and radioactive materials. Examples:
  • Acid
  • Sterno
  • Darkroom Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Motor Oil & Gasoline
  • Charcoal
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Fertilizer
  • Paint & Paint Thinner
  • Car Batteries
  • Matches
  • Nail Polish & Remover
  • Ammunition
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Aerosols
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Chemistry Sets
  • Fireworks
  • Loaded Weapons
  • Ammonia
  • Lamp Oil
  • Propane & Kerosene
  • Poisons
  • Oxygen Bottles
  • Auto Repair and Maintenance Chemicals
  • Radio Pharmaceuticals
If you are transporting garden tools/equipment, be sure to drain the oil and/or fuel from them. Also disconnect and remove batteries as well. Oil, fuel and batteries should be disposed of properly at your local collection center.
There are special exceptions for small quantities (up to 70 ounces total) of medicinal and toilet articles carried in your household goods and certain smoking materials carried on your person. You must check with your movers in order to be compliant.

Perishable Goods
Perishable foods are not allowed on a moving truck, so they should be disposed of before moving day. If you are taking your refrigerator and/or freezer with you, they should be emptied, unplugged and cleaned at least 24 hours before moving them. This will prevent any leaking, mold or foul odors.

The U.S. DOT allows plants to be transported if the trip is less than 150 miles and transport time is under 24 hours. However, some states quarantine plants at all times. Overall, moving companies cannot ensure proper care for transporting plants and cannot be held responsible for their final condition.

Personal Items
It is highly recommended that personal items (such as currency, coins, jewelry, silverware and silver service sets, crystal, family photos, figurines, furs, objects of art, computer software programs, rare documents, deeds/wills, manuscripts, comic books, baseball cards, stamps, and other collectible items or collections) be transported by you and not the movers. Keep your moving documents with you, also.

Happy moving!