There may be instances when your shipments are not sufficient for a container. If you wait until your goods are sufficient for a container, it may take too long to complete. Most shippers will advise you to avail of the port to port shipping service. Door to port shipping service might be available, depending on the location and accessibility. It will cost more since you are paying for the extra service of picking it up from your location. You should compare this to the cost of securing a van (if you don’t have one), loading it into the van and bringing it to the port. However, large items, like furniture, might require hiring a truck to bring it to the port. Make an assessment of the effort and resources required and do some initial computations. Take note that shippers normally do not handle door to port service if the goods are less than a container. Check first with the shipper on their standard services, and what would be the added cost if they do exception service for goods less than a container.
When your shipment consists of boxes, shipping is done by palletizing. It involves placing the boxes securely on a flat transport structure called a pallet. The goods are secured by strapping, stretch wrap or shrink wrap and shipped in that fashion. Pallets can support goods in a stable fashion and are lifted by forklifts, front loaders or other jacking device. Be sure the boxes have the proper markings and labels as it may get misplaced in transit. Boxes normally have several standard sizes to choose from so it can be fitted and secured to the pallet. It is up to you to ensure that the items in the box are protected against mishandling. Be sure your boxes are sturdy. You can also use large suitcases, trunks or strong plastic bins as long as the size is pallet shipping quotes within standards. The boxes are placed on pallets and measured against the whole pallet. The palletizing fee is usually by pallet and shipping fee is determined per cubic foot, not by weight. The boxes are stacked on a pallet and shrink wrapped with plastic. The base pallet is about 42 inches by 40 inches and it can be stacked about 4 to 5 feet high. Palletizing is used to keep all the boxes together. It also facilitates loading and unloading with a forklift. Once the palletizing process is completed, the pallets are placed in a dry, sealed, metal container and sent to the shipping terminal.
If your items are fairly large, like appliances and furniture, it is advisable to have them crated. The shipping warehouse can provide that facility. It is better you let them handle it since they are experienced and familiar with the crate sizes. They also have the necessary material to make the crates. You should wrap the big goods in moving blankets or plastic to prevent dirt and scratches and deliver them to the receiving and loading warehouse. The delivery might need a large truck or several trips, depending on the number of large items. It is doubtful if you can stack them like boxes, since they are just wrapped in blankets. The warehouse may provide the service of making a custom-made solid, wooden crate for your valuables and furniture. There is a standard wood size to ensure they will not break or crack when they bump and hit each other while being transported. Crating is ideal for furniture and valuable goods since they will be secured and protected against scratches and accidental damages.