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Ensuring that your items arrive safely at their destination in as-shipped conditions requires multiple layers of protection.

The first layer, in many instances, is a strong wood crate. Often this is a custom-built wood crate specifically designed to maximize the protection of the assets being shipped. Customized wood pallets and skids may also be used.

But that’s just the beginning. Packaging engineers are also very strategic about the measures inside a crate that keep items from moving during transport.

What Is Blocking and Bracing in the Specialty Shipping Industry?

Craters & Freighters clients will often ask, “What is blocking and bracing?” Blocking and bracing provides another layer of protection for shipped assets. It involves the use of various means to ensure that items—particularly, large and/or heavy ones—don’t shift or move within their container during transport.

Simply filling the space around a crated item with loose material typically is not enough to prevent it from moving. A more effective approach is to get the item into its crate or onto a wood pallet and then immobilize it with wood blocks or cradles that are screwed together to create a protective framework.

For example, an item or device with casters might have blocks surrounding the front and back to prevent sliding, wood braces to prevent side-to-side movement and straps anchored to the wood base to provide even more support.

Any item—regardless of shape or size—can be effectively secured using carefully developed blocking and bracing techniques. That includes everything from large industrial equipment to one-of-a-kind artwork.

What Product-Specific Packaging Solutions Are Available?

There are several types of packaging that provide a third layer of protection for assets that will be transported. These materials are selected based on the properties of the items, and can include:

  • Specialized cushioning. With some shipped assets, it’s crucial to minimize vibration and also ensure that the items don’t come into contact with each other or the walls of the container. Customized cushioning can be used for that purpose. For light and delicate components, a polyurethane foam is often utilized. For heaver assets, a polyethylene foam is typically an excellent solution. Other materials like felt can also be used to help protect the surface finish of the units being crated. Often, it’s critical to protect sensitive devices from frequency vibrations and potential impacts experienced in transportation environments. One common solution for this is a custom-designed floating base that is attached to the crate deck with polyethylene foam and spring bolts. The engineering team at Craters & Freighters can work with any provided frequency vibration parameters to design an effective solution.
  • Anti-static material. Electrostatic discharge can damage sensitive electronics. However, many anti-static packaging materials can be used to avoid that problem. They include anti-static stretch wrap, buttle wrap, foam, and barriers.
  • Heat shrink wrapping. This plastic material can be used to cover an item and then heated and shrunk so that it forms a snug barrier. Not only can heat shrink wrapping be used to secure an item to a deck or pallet during shipping, the material is often used as an economical way to protect items that will spend time in storage.
  • Vapor barrier. Many types of items, like electronics or those with bare metal surfaces, are susceptible to damage from moisture. This is especially true when they are transported in a cargo ship. VCI (volatile corrosion inhibitor) bags are often used to protect assets during ocean transport. The bag surrounds the item and then the air is removed from inside it with a special vacuum device. Activated desiccant for absorbing moisture and humidity indicator cards for monitoring moisture can also be used.

With the three levels of protection described above in place, the risk of damage to shipped items is greatly reduced.

hard shell case

Corrugated Containers or Hard Shell Cases and Proper Packaging

For some items, the combination of a heavy duty, double-walled corrugated container combined with the proper packaging materials is an effective shipping solution. Items can also be placed inside hard shell cases lined with polyurethane, which can be custom cut to form an exact fit.

How to Know What Protective Measures Are Needed for Shipping

While your knowledge of a shipped item’s characteristics is important, you don’t have to be a specialty crating, packaging and shipping expert to get your item safely to its destination. That’s our job.

For example, at Craters & Freighters, we perform a thorough inspection of every piece of equipment, furniture, art or other asset we are asked to ship. Then, we develop a crating and packaging strategy specifically for the item.

Whether that means a heavy-duty crate and extensive blocking and bracing with specialized packaging or a corrugated container with the right amount of inner packaging, we always recommend a level of protection that ensures your assets won’t be damaged. We also offer full cargo insurance to cover shipments in the event that something unusual and unexpected happens. We’re able to offer this coverage through our insurance company because of our high standards for protecting client shipments and many years of very low claims ratios.

You simply need to let us know what you’re shipping, where it’s going and when you need it there. We handle the rest. That way, you can turn your attention to other tasks confident that Craters & Freighters is looking out for you and maximizing the safety and security of your items. This includes shipments originating at any of our 65+ nationwide brick-and-mortar locations and traveling to destinations through the U.S. and around the world.

We also provide extensive logistical support and tracking expertise, since properly packaging and crating goods is just the first step in getting them to where they are needed. If issues arise, it’s helpful that the same company that prepared a shipment can help you overcome those obstacles.

What does it cost to get superior protection for valuable assets? Less than you might think. You can learn upfront what you will pay for that protection with a no-obligation cost estimate.

vapor barrier packaging

Specialty Crating, Packing and Shipping Projects: Our Expertise in Images

What does it look like when assets are properly braced, blocked and packaged for shipping? The Craters & Freighters photo gallery is a great place to learn how a company that specializes in the crating, packaging and shipping of hard-to-move items tackles some truly unique and challenging projects.

The list of items we’ve handled in more than three decades as leaders in our field is virtually endless. From a larger-than-life metal horse sculpture and countless fragile works of art, to motorcycles and aircraft, to server racks and huge industrial equipment, there really is nothing we can’t move safely.

If you don’t see the specific type of item that you need to ship in our photo and video galleries, please contact your local Craters & Freighters location. They are happy to talk with you about your shipping challenges and how we can help you solve them.