How Often Should You Replace Your Shipping Crates?

Cargo in wooden case at warehouse

Shipping crates are some of the most durable products and containers in the world. They are designed to travel long distances and survive all kinds of conditions. But like most things in this world, shipping crates aren’t meant to last forever. If you’ve gotten in the habit of reusing your shipping crates, you need to keep an eye on the crate’s condition over the years as the container continues to deteriorate. If you’re buying used shipping crates, you need to make sure the container is still in good condition before shipping it out overseas. Learn more about the lifespan of shipping crates and how often they need to be replaced.

The Lifespan of a Shipping Crate

Generally, shipping crates aren’t meant to last more than 10 to 12 years. Of course, this all depends on how often you’re using the crate, where it’s going, what you’re shipping and where the crate is being stored. If you’re seldomly using the crate, you might be able to squeeze a few more years out of it before it will need to be replaced. But if you’re using the crate as much as possible by getting it ready for another shipment as soon as it comes in the door, you should probably stick to the traditional lifespan.

If you continue to reuse your shipping crate after its original lifespan, there’s a chance that it will break down along the shipping route, putting your products at risk. Oxidation, environmental changes and rough handling can decrease the shipping crate lifespan, so you should make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure the crate is handled with care and shielded from the elements whenever possible. Your crate will have to endure all kinds of rough situations but try to keep them in a safe place when they are in your possession.

wood storage boxes

Inspecting Your Shipping Crate

If your shipping crate is getting up there in years, you should do your best to monitor its condition going forward. When the shipping crate comes back to your warehouse, you should check the inside of the crate for any openings or leaks. Check the interior and exterior for any signs of wear and tear, including oxidation, dents and other signs of rough handling.

It’s even a good idea to inspect your shipping crate every time it comes back into your possession. You don’t want to ship out goods using a defective shipping crate or you might run the risk of damaging your company’s reputation. It’s your responsibility to move goods from one location to the next without damaging the shipment in any way. That’s why it’s always important to use a reliable shipping container that’s still in good condition.

 Used Shipping Crates

The lifespan of a used shipping crate all depends on how long it’s been used previously, how it was stored under the previous owner and what kinds of shipping routes it was traveling before it came into your possession. You should inspect the used shipping crate before shipping it out to make sure it’s still in great shape. If you’re not sure how long the crate has been in circulation, you should make sure you’re inspecting it regularly for signs of depreciation. If you happen to find a crate that’s still in great condition, there’s a good chance that you can still get another 10 to 12 years out of it if you treat the container with care.

Rugged crates at shelves in museum warehouse

How to Protect Your Shipping Crate

If you want to extend the lifespan of your shipping crates, your employees should be doing everything they can to handle the container with care. That means no sudden drops, watching out for obstacles and keeping the crate indoors whenever possible. If you’re partnering with a shipping company or handing off the crate to one of your suppliers or trading partners, you should make sure that they are taking the same precautions as your warehouse staff. You should also work to keep the crates clean, so they don’t fill up with bacteria, chemicals and other substances that can depreciate their value. Make sure the crate is secure before moving it around.

Made with strong, durable materials, shipping crates are built to last, but only if you’re doing your part to ensure the crate is handled with care. Mishandling your crate, banging it around and not keeping it clean will quickly sap the container’s durability. Keep your plastic or wooden shipping crates in great shape to extend their lifespan as much as possible.