Monthly Archives: September 2017

Helpful Tips to Find Pallets for Sale

If you use pallets to keep your business running smoothly, you need a good supplier to ensure you get a quality product that matches your specific needs. Many companies choose to purchase used pallets. To ensure you purchase what you need, there are several points to educate yourself about when researching a supplier to meet your business’ needs. Continue reading

International Shipping: Requirements for Your Shipping Crate

Texture of wooden shipping crate
There is a significant opportunity available for businesses prepared to join the international shipping frenzy. Sales of products shipped to international destinations are growing exponentially, and perceptive companies work carefully to prepare marketing plans aimed at acquiring international business.

Preparing an international shipment requires a little more than just putting product in a box. The proper shipping crate is of the utmost importance, not only to meet regulations but also to protect your shipment.

Each import and export country has their own set of government requirements and customs regulations. To do business confidently in this global economy, it is essential you know what these requirements are.

Customs

Nothing makes a business look worse than shipments being delayed or turned back by customs. Occasional delays are to be expected due to fluctuating factors such as weather, but the grace period only lasts so long before your customers start to look for another supplier.

There is so much to know about the entire customs process. Therefore, before you start, it is best to consider where you will be shipping to. Without careful checking, there is the possibility of your customer being a restricted trading party or embargoed country.

Additionally, restricted and prohibited commodities vary widely between countries. For example, Vietnam considers it a crime to import calendars for commercial use.

Documentation

Any documents for shipping crates internationally need precision and accuracy. The smallest mistake can lead to delays that cost both you and the customer money. The following documents are generally required for shipping so you should familiarize yourself with them, even if you are using a broker:
1. Bill of lading
2. Commercial invoice
3. Consular invoice
4. Inspection certification
5. Destination control statement
6. Certificate of origin
7. Certificate of insurance
8. Warehouse and dock receipts
9. Export packing list
10. Export license (if needed)

Should You Use a Customs Broker?

When you are first starting out, a customs broker may not be required. If you will be shipping internationally on a large scale, choosing a customs broker just makes good sense.

A customs broker is an expert in compliance rules, item classifications, various procedures, trade and tariff agreements, and other foreign restrictions. The biggest benefit is the time and money this will save your business.

They will take care of preparing all the proper documentation for each country. If any problems arise during shipping, or once the importing country has been reached, the customs broker will take care of them.

A good broker will also ensure your shipment reaches its destination as quickly as possible.
Wooden Crates

The “Bug Stamp”

Otherwise known as IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), most countries accepting international shipping crates constructed from wood require this stamp. These rules apply to both supply and packing materials that contain wood.

Packaging material includes items such as wooden drums, crates, pallets, cases, and dunnages used as cargo cushioning.

The purpose of the ISPM 15 rules is to prevent the possible spread of various diseases and pests that come from plant-based materials. The introduction of pests from one country to another can potentially have devastating consequences and is a real cause of concern to the United Nations.

After the use of heat treatments or fumigation to kill fungi or insects, raw wood packaging may receive the stamp. Any shipment containing materials using raw wood will not be permitted to enter destination countries or cross borders of IPPC participants without inspection for the stamp.
Global logistics network Concept of air cargo trucking rail

Height and Weight

There are also restrictions on the height and weight of shipping crates and pallet containers. Forty-eight inches by forty inches by six inches is the standard size for U.S. pallets. The pallet height should not exceed five feet or sixty inches.

The most important consideration is the ability for forklifts to handle the skids or pallets easily. For example, there should be a minimum clearance of 3.5″ on two sides of the base to make them accessible to pallet jacks.
International LCL (Less than Container Load) shipping rules also require that skids on pallets must fit into a forty-foot standard or multi-model ocean freight container.

If they are unable to be moved from one location to another, your shipment will be returned or just sit on the dock.

Your shipment will likely require a prior approval permit from your shipping company if any of the following apply:
1. The skid exceeds more than one-thousand kilos or twenty-two hundred pounds in weight.
2. The skid is more than eighty inches in width.
3. The skid is in excess of one hundred nineteen inches in length.
4. The skids are more than seventy inches tall.

Final Thoughts

There is plenty to think about when shipping crates internationally: weight, height, construction materials, and paperwork.
If your intention is continued growth in your specific industry, it is to your company’s advantage to export. Learning how to do this properly will see all of your shipments go smoothly on the global stage.

It’s in the Bag! All About Super Sacks, FIBC, and Bulk Bags

Sugar bags product handling by forklift inside warehouse for export
Those who work in the shipping industry must use many different tools and techniques to transport goods. It is important to select the right materials and products to safely transport items. Some items require boxes, bins, or other containers.

When shipping, some items can be transported in Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers, which are known as FIBCs in the shipping industry. These useful and cost-effective containers resemble a big bag and are good for storing and transporting many products.

History

The history behind FIBCs is not entirely known. Records show they were likely first used in the 1940s. At that time, FIBCs were made from PVC rubber and used within the rubber industry to transport carbon black.

After polypropylene was developed in the 1960s, this was combined with advances in weaving to create the types of bags still used today. FIBCs were quickly put into use by a variety of oil and chemical companies. They could use FIBCs to store powders and similar bulk products.

FIBCs soared in popularity during the oil crisis of the 1970s because they allowed for the transportation of large quantities of cement to the Middle East, which was needed to quickly develop infrastructure in oil-producing countries.
White big bags with goods

Construction

Today, FIBCs are often constructed from thick, flexible fabric such as woven polyethylene or polypropylene. The fabric can be coated or uncoated, depending on its intended use. FIBCs have various components, such as fill spouts and closures.

They are usually large, measuring up to 48 inches in diameter. They can vary in height, up to 80 inches, and they have a capacity of up to 2,000 lbs., although the bag itself may weigh only 5-7 lbs. There are many types of FIBCs available, and they are constructed in different ways. They are often described according to their construction (such as 4-panel or U Panel).

Typically, FIBCs are loaded and transported on pallets. For unloading, in some cases, FIBCs can be lifted by loops. They are often made with either one, two, or four lifting loops. When the bags need to be emptied, it can be done through a special opening in the bottom (such as a discharge spout) or by just cutting the bag open (if it is not going to be reused). They can be folded and stored flat when not in use.

Usage

Currently, FIBCs are involved in a quarter-billion ton of transport each year. They are used to handle, store, and move all sorts of products, ranging from food to industrial items. FIBCs continue to be popular because they are cost-effective, recyclable, and versatile.

FIBCs are made in different shapes, sizes, and types for different uses. Some FIBCs are specially designated to contain food or food items. Some FIBCs are certified with UN Certification when they meet certain requirements and pass testing procedures.

Innovative individuals continue to look at ways to improve FIBCs and make them useable in more applications. For example, FIBCs can be used to load sand and control water flow in flooding conditions. This is a very helpful but a typical use outside of the shipping industry. Research is also working to develop FIBCs that can hold and filter fluids.
Old hemp sacks containing rice placed stacked in a row

Bulk Bags/Super Sacks

FIBCs are also known as bulk bags and super sacks. These are classified as intermediate containers because of their large size. Typically, bulk bags cannot be moved by hand, but they are not large enough to be considered a full bulk container (in contrast to a truckload or railcar).

Bulk bags and super sacks can be used in a variety of industries including food, chemicals, and even pharmaceuticals. Depending on the types of material to be transported and the needs, bulk bags can be made from materials such as polyamide (commonly known as nylon), types of metallic foils, carbon infused plastics, and polyester.

Another key piece of information to know when using a bulk bag or super sack is its Safe Working Load (SWL). This is the amount of weight the bag has been designed, rated, and tested to hold. It is important to also know the Safety Factor Ratio (SFR) of the bag. A standard bulk bag is typically 5:1 SFR, meaning it can hold 5 times the amount of the bag’s SWL.

Some may wonder if bulk bags can be stored outside. They can, if needed, for a short time, but UV exposure may degrade the materials. To prevent this, bulk bags can be treated with Ultraviolet Inhibitor to assist in protecting the bag (and its contents) from harmful UV rays.

Final Thoughts

FIBCs are a versatile container option for storing and shipping a range of products. They vary in container designs and material for more applications across a variety of industries. This multipurpose container compacts to a fraction of its filled size when not in use, so does not require a lot of storage. They are an economical option for shipping merchandise, too, because they do not require additional packaging and have a low tare weight. They are also a breeze to unload with their lifting loops and discharge spouts.