A freight shipment can weigh in the thousands of pounds, so packing and preparing should be left to the professionals. If you must prepare your freight shipment yourself, or need to supervise your packer, read our helpful tips below.

Preparing Your Shipment

You will first need to place your shipment on a pallet. Try and find just the right size pallet to accommodate the boxes or materials you are palletizing. Doing so will help minimize the cost and keep the plastic film firmly on the sharp corners of the pallet. You will be able to find both new and used pallets; be sure whatever you use is in decent shape so that it does not fall apart in transit. Place the items on the pallet as close to one another as possible. If they have room to shift around after you’ve applied the shrink wrap, the entire unit will become loose and ineffective. Brace items against one another.

Set your pallet to be wrapped on top of other empty pallets. This will make it easier to wrap since you won’t need to bend over so far. It helps to set your pallet diagonally at a 45 degree angle rather than square on the stack (so that the bottoms of each corner overlaps the top edge of the stack beneath). Make sure the pallet does not wobble up there!

Wrapping the Shipment

Take your shrinkwrap roll and peel out a couple of feet of wrap. Squeeze 8 inches or so of the end together into a loose rope shape and thread this through and around one corner of the pallet. Don’t try tying a knot. Simply hold the end snug as you fold the rest of the yard over it. The plastic sticks to itself so this should be sufficient to keep it from pulling loose when you begin to wrap.

Wrap around the base of the pallet in the same direction that was begun when you made the fold. Ensure that you wrap the base enough times so that your plastic will not slip off. This is the most important step since the goal is to keep your goods on the pallet. Wrap that base at least four or five times, being careful to allow the edge of the wrap to go underneath the corners. Pull the roll tightly just before going around each corner.

Basically you want the entire pallet to feel like a unit. Everything should move as one, without wobbling. With that in mind, work your way up from the base so that the bottom boxes are first to be “married” with the pallet. Continue wrapping so that the next layer is joined firmly to the first and so on. Be sure to take as much stretch as possible out of the plastic film while you are wrapping.

When you reach the top of the pallet you can either end there or wrap back down the pallet again. To decide what is needed, try pushing the upper boxes to see if the load seems tight or loose. If you see the plastic ripple or the stack wobble, you either didn’t wrap tightly enough or it needs more layers. Go around it a few more times, working your way back down to the base.

When the stack is firm, tear the film apart from the roll and fold the end of it under the edge of one of the wraps at the side of the pallet.