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When It All Checks Out: 7 Things to Keep in Mind About Efficient and Accurate Cargo Measurement

Brijesh Desai

Are you using or interested in using freight for your business or personal needs? There are a couple of things you need to know about efficiently and accurately measuring your cargo and how it benefits you or your business. When you get your measurements right, you’re making the carrier’s job a little easier. It takes a lot of preparation and organization to move freight, whether it be by land, air or sea.

Accurately Measured Cargo Means Fewer Delays

Because bulk material handling requires an enormous amount of preparation and even a more detailed organization that goes into packing and shipping cargo containers, it is a good idea to make sure that you have properly and accurately measured your palletized cargo. Doing so can make for fewer delays. Some delays are unavoidable, such as weather, mechanical trouble and natural disasters. But avoidable delays are not something that you have to endure.

Make sure that you have the correct size, dimension and weight of your cargo. Check and double check it. You can even download software or an app to help you ensure accurate measurement. Loading engineers need your clear and accurate packing list in order to make an assessment. If you’re shipping outsized or extremely heavy freight, you may need to include a 3D computer model or technical drawings complete with the cargo base also.

Lashing, Loading and Lifting

No matter what you’re shipping, properly securing it is absolutely essential. It keeps not only your cargo safe but also that of other shippers. Securing the freight is part of what load planning engineers and loadmasters do. It makes transporting safer for the plane or ship’s captain and crew as well. One of the most common methods used to secure cargo is lashing. It is a simple and easy way to make sure that your cargo makes it to its destination safely, given that you provide sufficient lashing points. Check with your freight carrier for lashing specifications. Different carriers may require a certain amount of lashing points for certain sized or weighted cargo. For instance, outsized and super heavy cargo may require lashing chains to be attached directly to lashing points on the freight.

You also want to make sure your cargo meets the lifting requirement. Because cargo varies widely, come pieces require special loading and unloading equipment. Whether your shipper will be lifting your cargo with a crane, forklift or another method, you don’t want there to be any issues. Contact your shipper to make sure that your shipment is compatible with their lifting mechanisms. It is very important that you follow the given instructions to the letter so that your cargo and their crew are safe.


Shipping freight is a complex and lengthy process, but when you do your part, you make things simpler for the shipping company. The right packaging makes sure that your materials get to you in the condition that you intend, regardless of the loading process, weather conditions or temperature is fairly simple. Relatively smaller cargo can be created or packed in wooden boxes. Be sure to check your country’s or international transport rules and regulations to make sure that your cargo meets packaging requirements. The cargo inside of the box should also be immobilized for its safety. Some cargo may require a “window” in the packaging for direct access to lashing points located on the cargo itself.

If you are shipping via air freight, you do not want your cargo to be airtight. Changes in the air pressure can damage your materials or goods. “Vacuum plastic” packaging tends to expand during an aircraft’s ascent and shrink while the plane is descending.

Environmental Sensitivities

You should know if your cargo has any environmental sensitivities. Some materials or goods cannot withstand drastic changes in temperature or air pressure. If this is the case and you are shipping via airplane, you must let the company know so that the proper precautions can be made. You may need to package your cargo differently or use special packaging to safeguard against temperature or pressure fluctuations. If your cargo is subject to changes in weight or size as conditions change, you should also notify your freight carrier. In the event that this is not possible for you to do, you may need to consider using a different method of shipping. Perhaps shipping your cargo by train or boat would be safer.

Hazardous Materials

If your cargo includes flammable gases or liquids, compressed gasses, explosives or other items classified as HAZMAT, your shipment will require special preparation and packaging according to local or international transportation laws. Keep in mind that certain hazardous materials cannot be transported via airplane and therefore require the use of train or boat. Be sure to notify your shipping company that you are attempting to transport potentially dangerous cargo so that they have ample time to provide a safe solution and to decrease the chances of any delay of shipment.

Permits, Infrastructure and Manpower

When shipping by air, you need to make sure that the airport has sufficient infrastructure to accommodate your cargo. This is particularly true of outsized and very heavy cargo. Access to the proper loading and unloading machinery and tools are necessary, as are runways and parking slots. There also needs to be enough crew members to tackle the task of loading and unloading.

You may also need permission for a charter flight. Procedures and regulations will vary by country, so a country’s aviation administration will determine just how long obtaining the appropriate permits and permissions will take. Having clear and accurate cargo measurement may help to expedite any permit processes. Choosing a shipping company that is used to dealing with this will also be a big help.

Clearing Customs

If you are shipping your cargo internationally, you may require extra assistance with clearing customs or warehousing. Make sure that the shipping company you choose has experience in shipping internationally and can handle this phase of the shipping process as well. Having a shipping company that is well acquainted with multi-mode transportation is also valuable. This is another point in shipping freight where accurate cargo measurement comes into play. Each leg of your cargo’s journey will require the carrier to have its measurement and weight.

Efficiently and accurately measuring your cargo can better the outcome of your freight shipping experience. It not only helps the freight carrier move your cargo in a more timely manner, but it also can help better ensure the safety of your cargo. There are several ways to go about efficiently measuring cargo, UPS has a freight calculator that you can use to calculate the density of your cargo and there are also apps and computer software to manage your calculations. When everything checks out, your cargo will ship and arrive safely with little to no fuss.

Please note- This article has been written by Rohini and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Free Press Journal.