What the heck are they,
and what are they used for?
"A picture is worth a thousand words."
SEFCO-Export Management Company's
Pallets; what are they? Plastic shrink wrapping; what is it good for?
Boxes and packing material; where can I buy them at reasonable cost?
Learn more about techniques used by overseas moving professionals.
Learn practical information about international shipping -- "no bull".
LCL-less than container-load
export packing and shipping guide
Sefco Export Management brings you up to speed with shipping
industry jargon and commonly known methods for safely transporting your
property to destinations abroad.
Learn all about pallets, shrink wrapping, and packing material
--used in shipping goods overseas. This is part of SEFCO's on-line guide
about some of shipping's most rudimentary elements: the pallet, packing
techniques, shrink wrapping, cartons and boxes.
Overseas moving made easy and understandable.
If your pre-packed cartons are already secured onto a
pallet or skid - and staged at a place that is readily accessible,
we can obtain a lower rate from our truckers for
your pickup. |
Pickups can be arranged from anywhere in the US by our network of common carrier
truckers, on relatively short notice. When cartons are placed on skids and secured with straps and
plastic shrink wrap, its a much safer way to transport. Better yet, place all "loose" cartons into a larger "super box".
Here's a typical wooden pallet, made to shoulder burdens
"like the camel or burro of olden days".
Pallets, crates and liftvans are better for smaller
LCL-Less than Container-Load shipments. However, sending your items as loose-packed cartons and furniture
(not on skids or in crates) is OK when you will have your own exclusive-use FCL-Full Container Load shipment.
Pallets, also called "skids" come in various sizes. They are used when you are sending a
partial container load (LCL).
They help to "unitize" the freight being shipped, lifting cartons @ 6-inches off the possibly wet and dirty floor.
Their platform provides a flat even base for the goods, so the weight is evenly distributed. Truckers prefer to move freight
in this form because its safer and easier. We get lower trucking rates, when people don't have to touch or handle individual
pieces of freight.
Instead of shipping many small individual cartons, which are then loaded into an ocean consolidation container,
the palletized shipment is easier to handle. Shipments consisting of many cartons or packages can often be built into a couple
pallet-loads, depending on how much you are shipping. Eventually, when palletized, everything will be fit together to form a
You've probably seen empty skids at grocery stores, but just never really thought about what they're used for, until now...
A typical skid of personal effects can be built up into a square size of perhaps 60+ cubic feet. Example:
one skid, 40"length x 48"width x 60"height = 60-cuft. Length x Width x Height (in inches) divided by 1728 = the cubic footage.
The loose cartons are basically stacked on the pallet in a square, then you'd roll some plastic shrink wrap around it all,
to keep things together. Strong tape, plastic or metal bands can be used to secure everything on the pallet.
Transparent stretch-wrap is the most commonly used variety. Opaque or black plastic wrap is also often used shield the nature
of the high-value contents.
We can send your goods "as is" or upon request, we can arrange Export-Origin Packing Services
to better protect your property. We can instruct our receiving warehouse to have the pallets shrink-wrapped and
banded together for added protection. This pre-packing can either done by us or by you. If we do it, on average
the cost will be $ 2.25 per cubic foot, with minimums depending on the origin place of receipt (@ $125 min, covering labor
and material). This doesn't include the cost for "pier delivery" from the packing warehouse to the export terminal.
Most shipping and receiving warehouses use a pallet-jack, high-low, fork-lift or some other powered loader.
These devices help speed loading and unloading of trucks and ocean containers when they are at the shipping terminal's loading dock.
All across the US and throughout the world-- the special warehouses employed for receiving and shipping goods internationally,
are called "CFS" Container Freight Stations.
It is more labor intensive and expensive when movers have to manually
load and unload large quanities of
individual cartons, checking off each item from your packing list. When crating is required, this is often done
beforehand in the movers warehouse before being delivered to the CFS export warehouse.
Most CFS warehouses receive and ship goods when they are already in a clean, neat and packed form.
Freight moves on a signature to signature basis. When goods come in to the warehouse and, for example,
the warehouse foreman signs for "one piece", a single pallet stc (said to container)
X-number of pieces of personal effects, it is a very quick and simple process. One, two or three pallets is easier to
receive and ship, rather than 100-loose cartons. Clean, neat, square freight, all together in one, two or three "lots",
works pretty well in the freight business.
Pallets are made of either
Don't have a fork-lift on hand? So how do you lift a pallet?
Try using a pallet jack
A pallet jack will lift a skid and move it to the truck.
To see a photo of a liftgate truck, click here and also here.
Most of the common carrier truckers that we utilize, go primarily from "dock to dock".
This means they pickup and deliver palletized cargo from commerical warehouses that have "bays"
and "loading docks" that are at the same level as the back of the truck.
That's usually several feet up, off the ground. We have to pay extra for what they call
"accessorial fees" when the trucker picks up from or delivers to a "non-standard" location.
The two most common accessorial fees are:
(1) for residential location pickup. The trucker usually has to take a while longer to find the house, at a non-commerical location.
Cost: Typically $85 min extra, to the normal "line-haul" trucking charge.
And, (2) ground level pickup. This is where the trucker must have a special "lift-gate" pneumatic lift at the back of the truck,
to receive cargo from ground level, and lift up to the truck's cargo level.
Cost: Typically $45 min extra, to the normal "line-haul" trucking charge.
You can find a further explanation of such things on
our "origin service" rate guide.
On our next "pallets and packaging page (2)"
you can find more information about packing techniques,
photo's and commentary on freight handling. We also feature quite a few "courtesy links"
to actual wholesale vendors who sell cartons and all sorts of packing material.
Many accept credit cards and will ship packing material to your door by UPS.
Pallets and Packaging
The two lift-vans pictured below,
are 200-cubic feet each.
Here's a fork-lift stacking a wooden liftvan.
These can be used for SIT-Storage In Transit,
while being held in a movers warehouse.
LCL-less than container-loads consisting of furniture and fragile items can be packed into standard wooden lift-vans.
They have the same platform base as a pallet, and also have wooden walls so everything is encased. Sometimes the
inside walls are lined with heavy-duty plastic.
Lift-vans are easily lifted and handled by "high-low" fork-lift equipment. This means less possible risk to the freight.
When you pack goods into a liftvan, the gross shipping volume will be larger than if shipped just as loose cartons, by about
20% from net (inside) to gross (outside) volume. This is called the crating expansion-factor. When loose cartons are
palletized, the "expansion factor" can average about 10%. |
The cost for lift-van packing or crating is more than the cost for simple palletization and plastic shrink wrapping.
When the need arises, if you plan to ship smaller quantities of PBO-Packed By Owner personal effects-in cartons,
we can instruct our receiving warehouse to receive your loose-cartons "as is" -- and then handle everything onto
pallets to be shrink-wrapped and strapped together into a unit --
better suited for containerized shipping. Depending on the origin drop-off location, this
origin service can be arranged for a reasonable extra cost. If packers don't need to touch the freight,
the cost to you will always be less.
This cost for export packing - origin services is added to the basic shipping/handling charges.
If no one needs to touch or prepare the cargo,
then the cost will be limited to just basic point to point transport charges.
If you can do the origin-work yourself, you can save money.
If you need us to help arrange for origin services,
we will be available to help get the job done.
Buy a big box and ship it [box and ship]
wooden pallets - special advice
Some destinations have quarantine and fumigation restrictions against use of wood packing.
Australia has always been strict about this, and mainland China is instituting new guards against conifer
eating pestilence brought in on wooden pallets. Brasil also has new import rules concerning the use of
wood in packing material. Some US lawmakers are urging fumigation of pallets coming into the US to combat the long-horn beatle.
Affected countries have instituted special import controls to guard against a dangerous and harmful pest called
Certain insects and worms attack indigenous conifer tree forests and can be brought into a country
by shipments using solid wood packing materials.
Brazil now requires fumigation of liftvans in certain cases. Australian authorities often select
inbound shipments for fumigation at a cost that is borne by the importing consignee.
Mainland China requires certification that the pallets used are free from such pestilence.
If planning to export to mainland China,
[click here] to access the U.S. Department of Agriculture's APHIS-Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service site which gives further details about these new import restrictions.
Very Intensive Care - read some notes from our clientele, regarding how to
keep things clean and easy - going into places like New Zealand. [reminder]
If you are a commercial shipper to Brazil or mainland China and need alternatives to
wooden pallets, visit this site:
"Pallet Solutions". Buy plastic pallets for under $ 15, and avoid need for wood fumigation/certification.
We also recommend LITCO International
for special export-use pallets. Inca Gold Pallets are acceptable for import into
Germany, Australia, New Zealand, China and Brazil; as well as many other countries.
No additional treatment for overseas shipping is necessary because the high heat manufacturing process burns out all infestations.
Some companies may prefer to use a
full service pallet management firm.
Pallet Solutions can make life easier for traffic managers
needing new pallets, recycled skids, and pallet disposal.
Think Sefco can be of help to you?
We'll be happy to respond to your particular need.
Just let us know more about your situation, and we'll take a look.
If our resources match your requirements,
we'll quote you a rate for your specific task.
You can be sure that your shipment will be taken care of
professionally, with an eye toward both security and affordability --and with a positive attitude.
Teamwork, competence and reliability.
Sefco Export Management Company, Inc.
OVERSEAS MOVING SPECIALISTS
Want to buy a new pallet?
Visit the Pallet-Mall
for nationwide sources to buy pallets,
vendor contacts and more information on using pallets.
This particular site is almost like visiting the Pallet University of America,
including in-depth tutorials reviewing almost every aspect of pallet and material handling techniques.
Its got everything you'd ever want to know about pallets.
Want to buy a
Pallet Jack ?
$189.52 retail cost. ISO9002 CERTIFIED.
Easy to maneuver with 210 degrees turning radius.
Grease fittings at all pivotal points to ensure long life and easy control.
Special lowering valve to control the rate of descent
load by-pass valve to make the trucks more durable.
Reliable oil leak-proof hydraulic system.
Click here for specifications.
Would you prefer to RENT EQUIPMENT ?
Hertz Equipment, and many other companies, will rent you the equipment you may need.
Items they have on-hand, at locations across the US, include:
Jacks (click here), Cranes (click here),
Industrial forklifts (click here),
hoists and much more. Also try
Penske Truck Leasing, with locations through the US.
Next subject: LIFTVAN Gallery