Guidelines for Loading a container
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FREIGHT ADVISER

Guidelines for Loading a container

We have witnessed numerous occasions where valuable cargo has been lost, damaged or destroyed due to inappropriate container loading. This happens at individual and company level.It is estimated that annually up to $5 billion worth of cargo is damaged in transit. So do not be a statistic.
It is the responsibility of the shipper to make sure that the container you ship is securely loaded. Our experience is that most individuals want to take the responsibility of loading containers themselves as a cost cutting measure (which we genuinely understand). Unfortunately, most perceived savings are lost when container loading goes horribly wrong. Unfortunately, accidents do happen during the process of shipping  containers. Causes of accidents can be human error at the point of loading or mechanical error at operational level.

What to consider when loading a container

IMPORTANT: Pre-plan the stowage of the cargo in container. Last minute rush will always prove costly.

  1. Weight distribution and load security
  2. Space utilisation
  3. Cargo variation and compatibility

1) Weight distribution and load security


Your cargo needs to be distributed evenly in the container. Improper or careless packing of cargo into  a container or improper cargo securing may cause accidents which involve personal injury during handling or transportation.
Poorly packed and inadequately secured cargo may put not only the employees but also rail passengers and other innocent parties at risk. You must not exceed the maximum allowable weight

If packages are stowed loosely, chafing damage is likely to occur due to the motion or vibration of the truck, train or ocean vessel.

When planning the stowage of heavy concentrated weights, careful consideration must be given to the maximum permissible weight and the floor loads allowed in the container. The bedding required to properly spread the weight should be arranged with weight distribution factors in mind 





2) Space utilisation

Compact loading: Fill it or secure it. Use dunnage. Block it out. Leave no void spaces or loose packages on top. Smooth metal-to-metal contact should be avoided as this causes a slippery surface. 


3) Cargo variation and compatibility

If the container is loaded with packages of various commodities, give careful attention to their proper segregation and stowage. The commodities’ physical characteristics (such as weight, size, density) must be considered, as well as whether they are liquids or solids.

Improper stowage of heavy and light cargo together causes crushing and damage to contents. Heavy packages, such as cases of machinery parts and heavy, loose or skidded pieces, should always be stowed on the bottom or floor of the container with lighter goods on top.

Avoid direct pressure on doors, use a proper fence or gate to fill any void space.

Finally, secure the doors, lock and seal them, note the seal numbers for insertion on the bill of lading.

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