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Editor’s Note: Cerasis focuses on North American transportation management. Further, we focus on over the road transportation management to include the modes: LTL, Full Truckload, and Small Package. However, in a global economy that we live in, we have several requests from customers, prospects, and readers to look at solutions that include international shipping and other modes. In fact, we have affiliate partners we directly work with to serve these types of requests. The focus of this blog post is about air freight packaging pointers.

Getting cargo from one place to another is big business. Nationally and internationally, whether the shipper transports the cargo in plastic storage boxes by truck, crates by train, or cases by ship, the keys to success in proper air freight packaging lie in doing the job rapidly, efficiently and safely.

The fields of Supply chain and logistics management are a constantly changing, competitive environment. Particularly important to the client is the safe, secure shipping of their product, and in no case is this truer than when it is carried by aircraft. When that cargo is packaged in drums  and strapped on pallets, the care and proper resources make a terrific difference. The process for preparing drum units for air transportation can either be a recipe for a safe, secure flight or for disaster just waiting to happen.

4 Air Freight Packaging Guidelines to Follow

Following these 4 easy guidelines will not only make your product more stable, it will give you , the client, real peace of mind.

  • The pallets should be of a strong and sturdy nature – hardwood is a better choice, as it can handle the weight and distribution better than other materials.
  • Ensure that there is only a little space between deck boards to ensure an even weight distribution and that the pallet can handle minute shifts and changes en route.
  • Use Corrugated Sheets , larger than the diameter of the individual drums as material interface between the drums and the pallet decking, so there will be a lowered chance of wear caused by the pallet decking fasteners (i.e. Nails, staples, etc.).
  • The material interface should have texture and depth sufficient for the strapping to ‘dig’ into.
    •  It will prevent the steel to steel contact, the drums slipping apart, and reduces the stresses placed on the cargo by the strapping material.
    •  Wood or heavy paperboard is recommended for this purpose, as lesser materials can be damaged and even destroyed in the process of transportation.

When placing the drums on the pallets, keep them as close to one another as possible and in such a way as to not overhang the pallet. Bundling the drums together creates a unified single unit, far less likely to become loose, get damaged, or leak. Ensure the unit has as small a footprint as possible, to facilitate strapping it to the pallet.

Shippers prefer steel strapping, due to very little stretching. Before strapping, use interface material between the straps and the drums, to reduce wear during transit. Use interface material between the drums and the pallet, between the drums, and between the drums and the strapping, to reduce wear.  Further, in order to limit the load shift on the pallet, keep the strapping as close to the sides of the drums as possible. Remember, you can run the strapping between the Deck Boards to bring them closer to the Drum sides themselves.

Being knowledgeable about these 4 best practices around air freight packaging will make simpler jobs out of your other shipping tasks. Plastic storage boxes are a snap, and  this new efficiency will make working with other storage products seem like a breeze as you can apply similar knowledge to other packaging practices.


Jake Hyet is an authority on the wide variety of storage products used in cargo transportation. Whether it is placing materials in plastic boxes or planning to ship gallons of liquid across the nation by air cargo, Our Author is a fan of Solent Plastics cargo and Storage solutions.