Shipping items can be a pain. Between the stress of finding a shipping company, the worry of damage in transit, and decisions regarding packaging, transporting goods from A to B can be seriously time-consuming. And that’s if you’re transporting individual, low-value goods. Bulk transport of expensive electronics sensitive to shocks, temperature swings, liquids, and other physical damage creates additional challenges. The good news is that shipping electronics doesn’t have to be hard work with the right expertise. With approximately 2.13 billion units of electronic devices projected to be shipped in 2022, it’s possible to get your electronic equipment to its destination with minimal hassle and damage.
When sending a large shipment of electronic equipment, you’ve got two options. You can attempt to package the items yourself, risk damage during transit, and make yourself vulnerable to delays or potential fines due to incorrect paperwork. Or you can package your electronic equipment with everything it needs to stay intact and guarantee a stress-free, safe arrival. For the second option, you’ll need the help of a crating company.
How to pack electronic equipment for bulk transport
The first step in shipping electronics is packaging them properly, and packaging a large electronics shipment requires expertise and, most importantly, suitable materials. So what exactly are the right materials? There are a few things to consider.
Electronics are often odd-shaped and vulnerable to water damage, so flimsy non-water-resistant packaging is a no-go. In addition, you’ll need insulation in your package to protect the equipment from damage from shocks or water and prevent scratches along its journey.
The solution? Foil bags, vapor barriers, and foam. Foil bags and vapor barriers provide excellent protection from water or moisture damage.
Vapor Barriers and Foil Bags
Anything you ship internationally is susceptible to water vapor, moisture, and even salt water. In the case of electronic equipment, these damaging substances can lead to corrosion or render the items unusable. Vapor barriers and foil bags prevent corrosion and water damage by serving as a layer of protection against water and humidity. Once your items are put into these bags, the air is vacuumed out, and the bag is sealed shut.
So, where does foam come in? Foam lining provides cushioning for fragile items and acts as a shock absorber for any turbulence throughout the journey. Foam comes in several varieties and thicknesses, such as egg crate foam, anti-static bubble wrap, and rigid or soft foam. When searching for a crating company to help pack your valuable electronics, look for a company that can utilize foam in various densities and thicknesses to best keep your product safe.
When shipping valuable, breakable equipment, wooden crates are unparalleled as the best packing material. Wooden crates are incredibly sturdy and offer little fluctuation in internal temperature or conditions – ideal for goods such as electronic equipment sensitive to temperature or humidity changes.
If you’re shipping items in bulk, they’ll likely undergo plenty of moving and lifting, including by machines, so they’ll have to be able to withstand it. Packaging your bulk electronics in wooden crates will make life easier for ocean container loading, using pallets, and other methods of moving packages in bulk.
Heavy-duty wooden crates can carry up to 7000 pounds of weight, so if you’re transporting large volumes or heavy individual pieces of equipment, this type of packaging will guarantee their safe arrival. The best part? Since wood is a sustainable material and the crates are recyclable, they’re an eco-friendly choice too.
How to ship electronic equipment in bulk
Organizing the bulk transport of electronic equipment involves various stages. Once you’ve packed your items with the help of a crating company, shipping electronics to their destination is the next hurdle.
Consider a couple of things before you select a shipment company. Here’s a handy checklist of things to establish before shipping your equipment.
Are you shipping overseas?
Shipping overseas requires extra paperwork, and if you’re sending the electronics for commercial purposes, you’ll need a commercial invoice. Plus, the rules around importing certain products differ from country to country, so you’ll need to check which items are legal to export to your destination country.
Another thing to consider when shipping overseas is tariff rates. Tariff rates are taxes on imported goods to help control the number of items produced domestically versus those made abroad.
You’ll have to pay tariffs on your items if you send your equipment from another country to the U.S. Usually, the rates associated with electronics aren’t hugely expensive, but depending on the materials used, your rate may be high. Steel and gold wiring, for example, have special tariff rates that are more expensive than average.
Are you shipping hazardous materials?
When you hear the phrase hazardous materials (also known as hazmat), it’s normal to imagine harmful chemicals, weapons, and nuclear waste. However, the reality is that most hazardous materials are everyday products, including items such as nail polish, hand sanitizer, and aerosol sprays.
Before you ship your items, it’s worth checking whether any of the equipment you’re sending is considered a hazardous material. To check whether your electronics count as hazmat, consult this list. If they do, you’ll need to work with a crating company specializing in packing hazmat.
Not only will the materials need to be packaged safely, but they’ll also require specialist paperwork to avoid any delays on their journey or a hefty fine.
Does your electronic equipment contain lithium batteries?
Many electronics, such as laptops, computers, and cell phones, contain lithium batteries. U.S. Customs has strict regulations that determine the types and quantity of lithium batteries you’re allowed to ship. Failure to comply with those regulations can result in huge fines.
The main concern about shipping lithium batteries is safety. If batteries are shorted or leaking, this can cause overheating, hazardous waste issues, and even fires. Plus, if you’re shipping multiple items in the same box, you’ll damage adjacent goods.
Lithium metal batteries shipped separately (not installed in an electronic device) are also not permitted as cargo on a passenger aircraft.
Which shipping company should you use?
If you search for shipping companies online, you’ll likely find hundreds of results claiming that they can get your parcel safely to its destination in the quickest time. So rather than spending hours comparing prices and searching for the most reliable courier, communicate with your crating company.
Some crating companies partner with shipping companies so they can handle your product’s journey from start to finish.
Tips for the bulk transport of electronic equipment
Consider ocean container loading services
It is common for items shipped overseas to be sent in an ocean container. Loading an ocean container with wooden crates is no easy feat, and it takes expertise in the proper ways to block, brace and load these containers to ensure your item arrives in perfect condition. If you’re shipping fragile electronic equipment at risk of damage during its journey, opt for a crating company with experience loading ocean containers.
Keep cables safe
Most electronic equipment comes with cables or plugs, and if you’re shipping several items at once, it’s easy to forget which cord goes with which item when they arrive at their destination. To avoid cable chaos upon arrival, organize your cables, so the cables arrive with the correct piece of equipment. Or keep all connectors in one separate crate in labeled plastic boxes or bags, so you can easily match the cables to the corresponding electrical items upon arrival.
Look after small components
Items like computer mice, chips, microphones, and sim cards can easily be lost or damaged during shipping. To avoid these small electronic components getting scratched or damaged, package them individually using bubble wrap and other cushioning, then place them in a padded area of the shipment.
Use accurate labels
Once your items have been shipped, their fate rests in the hands of the courier. To make their life easier – and protect your items – accurately label the package with instructions on how best to handle your goods. Labels such as ‘fragile,’ ‘handle with care,’ or ‘this way up’ let people involved at every point in the process know how best to handle your goods so they can reach their destination safely.
Opt for on-site crating services
Whether relocating your office overseas or shipping electronic orders to consumers, it might be more convenient to have your electronic goods crated on-site at your office or warehouse. On-site crating avoids the risk of damage while moving your goods from one place to another, and it has the added benefit of removing tasks from your responsibility list. If you’d benefit from having your goods packaged on your premises, work with a crating company that offers on-site crating services.
Look for machinery removal expertise
If you’re relocating the electronic equipment in a laboratory, factory, or warehouse to a new location, it’s worth opting for a crating company that offers machinery moving services. By choosing one company that can crate, palletize, and coordinate the transportation of your items, you’ll save valuable time and hassle.
A crating company that works hard, so you don’t have to
Here at South Shore Crate and Pack, we take our duties seriously. We know that shipping high-value items can be nerve-wracking, so we’ll save you time and money by using our expertise to package your items safely.
We specialize in packing valuable items in wooden crates. In addition, our contacts in the shipping industry allow us to plan the safe transportation of your goods. So whether you’re shipping hazmat, auction items, or goods for commercial use, we’ll ensure your items reach their destination in tip-top condition.
Contact us today for more information on how we can support your crating needs.