We work hard to protect our customers’ freight from damage during transit — from thorough training and careful loading techniques to unique processes and safe driving.
However, highway driving presents an unpredictable environment that can impact freight if it’s not properly packaged and secured before it ever leaves your warehouse or place of business.
Therefore, claims-free service is a team effort. Here are some of the common structure and security issues we see with freight and the related National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) standard you can reference for more information.

Overhanging the pallet

Even if the items you’re shipping seem strong and durable enough to not need full support along the bottom, overhanging the pallet can cause issues when lifting the freight with forklifts and loading next to, below, or on top of other freight within the trailer.

NMFC Item 680-7.(b.)

Lack of inner and outer packaging

If the individual items or boxes being shipped aren’t properly secured, the common rattling caused by highway vibrations or the potential compression from how the pallets are stacked can cause damage.

NMFC Item 680- 1.(a.)

Lack of properly securing boxes or product to the pallet, resulting in shifting

Simply stacking boxes vertically and shrink wrapping them to the pallet is not the most secure way to ship freight. Saia recommends the column stack for the most strength, but an interlocking stack is also acceptable if the individual boxes have secure inner/outer packaging to prevent compression issues.

NMFC Item 680- 7.(c.)

Precautionary markings not displayed on two adjacent sides

If an item being shipped requires special handling, it’s critical that the precautionary markings are clearly visible to dockworkers coming at the freight from any angle. Common markings we see missing include:

  • Top heavy
  • Protect from freezing
  • Directional arrows
  • Do not stack
  • Stack height
  • Fragile
  • Do not load with poison

NMFC Item 682

Pallets and/or skids not designed with adequate strength to support the load

Though it may appear your pallet or skid is adequately supporting a heavy load in your warehouse, remember that the pallet needs to withstand the rigors of forklift handling and highway driving. For that reason, properly constructing pallets with top decks and multiple runners and blocks is critical.

MFC Item 265 or 270

Crates improperly constructed

When the weight of the item being shipped exceeds 300 lbs. and/or the size of the item does not fit within the max allowable size per the NMFC, a crate should be used. There’s flexibility around how a crate can be constructed; however, the NMFC does provide requirements, such as:

  • Using seasoned, sound lumber
  • Ensuring the outer framework consists of upright and horizontal members with additional diagonal and horizontal support
  • Utilizing three-way locking corners

NMFC Item 245

Looking for further assistance? Give us a call or email us for a free packing quote. We share what steps we’re taking to protect your shipments and best practices we use for preparing your freight.