Container stuffing is another way of saying loading up containers, and container stripping, oftentimes known as destuffing, is the act of unloading cargo from a container.  

While it sounds simple enough, container stuffing is more complicated than what meets the eye. There are guidelines that need to be followed for container stuffing, for example, each container needs to have an even distribution of cargo weight, and there are certain types of products that cannot be placed in the same container. 

On the other end of container stuffing is destuffing. Once the container arrives at the destination, the cargo within gets unloaded, catalogued, and inspected for damage.  

What Is the Importance of Container Stuffing? 

Freight forwarders can avoid as much damaged freight as possible with proper container stuffing. On average every year, 65% of damaged freight is caused by wrongly executed container stuffing. And sometimes, damaged freight can even wreck the containers. 

Damaged freight may lead to disastrous repercussions. Unexpected delays and extra fees will all lead to an increase in overall shipping costs, so it’s important for shippers to take measures to ensure the safety of the cargo being transported. 

But what types of damage can result from improper container stuffing? There may be physical damage, wet damage, contamination, infestation, or temperature sensitive freight may be exposed to the incorrect weather conditions.  

Important Steps to Take for Proper Container Stuffing 

Container stuffing isn’t just randomly placing goods into a container and hoping for the best. It’s a process that needs to be carefully planned and executed in order for the cargo to arrive safely at the destination. So what are the most important steps to take? 

  • Finding the Right Container 

There are so many different types of containers to choose from in the shipping industry, and it’s incredibly important to choose the right type for your cargo. There are dimensions and weight limitations to consider, and if shippers are trying to transport temperature sensitive or hazardous materials, different types of containers are also required. 

  • Maintaining the Container in Proper Condition 

The container chosen needs to be in good condition for the shipment to arrive at the destination safely. If the container has holes of any size, or malfunctioning doors, it will be difficult to avoid water contamination, insect infestations, and other potential damages. 

  • Understanding if the Container Can Handle the Route 

Each container will need to go through several miles of transportation (via different transit methods) in the shipping process. In that long journey, the containers have the potential to be put through various weather climates, especially if the container is travelling internationally. If there is a lack of temperature control, it may trigger condensation or rusting within the container, and lead to damaged freight. 

  • Packaging Freight Correctly 

Before container stuffing, it is crucial to package freight correctly in order to give the cargo its first layer of protection. If the cargo is packaged in the wrong way, it won’t matter how careful the container stuffing is done, as it increases the likelihood of damage. Use the correct labels, symbols, and add in additional instructions if needed (ex. fragile, this side up, etc.). 

  • Distributing Cargo Evenly Across the Container 

In order to not overwhelm a particular side, heavy cargo needs to be balanced across a container, and with a low centre of gravity to ensure a low possibility of damage during movement. And by using layers and cushioning in void spaces, most of the potential damage can be avoided.  

Need Any Assistance? SFI Can Help! 

If you need any assistance regarding freight forwarding, contact SFI today, and we’ll take care of your shipping needs. We have professionals ready to help smooth over any shipping problems you may have. Email us at info@sfi.com or call us at (909) 594-3400.