Shipping Tips

Shipping Tips

The likelihood of an intact and complete delivery begins with proper labeling, packaging,
and an accurate piece count and proper completion of the bill of lading. The following
references and tips are provided to assist the shipper in ensuring their shipment
is properly packaged to withstand the normal rigors of transportation and properly
labeled to ensure the shipment arrives at the proper destination with all pieces
properly accounted for.


Clark Freightways requires that each piece in your shipment be labeled with the
name, and complete address of the shipper and consignee. Proper labeling is required
to ensure the shipment arrives on-time with all pieces accounted for. The shipper
is responsible for ensuring the names and addresses contained in the freight labels
matches the names and addresses of the bill of lading. Failure to properly and accurately
label your shipment may result in loss or delay of your shipment without liability.

Piece Count / Handling Units

The shipper is responsible for ensuring the piece count is accurate and matches
the bill of lading.

The piece count is the total number of loose pieces shipped. For example five (5)
loose cartons is five (5) cartons. Five (5) cartons shrink-wrapped to a pallet is
one (1) skid containing five (5) pieces. Our drivers will sign for your shipment
in the following manner;

Shipping Tips SWS Containing 5 Pcs

In another example if your shipment consisted of two-hundred and twenty (220) cartons
on seven (7) skids and the cartons are not verifiable by our driver, he will sign
for the shipment in the following manner;

7 SWS STC 220 Pcs

The SWS notation stands for “shrink-wrapped-skids” and the STC notations
stands for “said-to-contain”.

Clark drivers are trained to sign with a STC notation when they are unable to easily
verify the piece count because of the configuration of the handling unit(s). Once
a driver signs with a STC notation, Clark Freightways commits to transport and delivery
your freight intact at destination without tampering to your shrink wrap. If the
shrink is broken down during the transportation process, Clark Freightways takes
responsibility for the number of pieces noted on the bill of lading.


Proper packaging is a must. Don’t ship your goods without proper protection.
Shippers are responsible for ensuring their freight is properly and adequately packaged
to withstand the normal rigors of transportation. Numerous damage claims arise due
to inadequate packaging which limit or even eliminate the carrier’s liability.

Shipping machinery or large irregularly shaped products will almost always require some kind of crating. The extent of crating required
will most often depend on the value and configuration of the shipment. It is recommend
that good quality lumber be utilized and that three-way locking corners or diagonals
be used to provide structural integrity to the crate. You must ensure the product
is adequately packaged prior to pickup. If the driver does not believe the product
is secure enough to withstand normal transportation and handling, the carrier may
refuse to pick-up the shipment or insist the shipment moves at the Owners Risk of
Damage (ORD).

Pallet Packaging Tips:

  • Always use pallets that are in good condition. Damaged or worn pallets may result
    in damage to your freight during handling or shipping.
  • Do not overload a pallet with weight, height or volume as it may result in the failure
    of the pallet and damage to your product.
  • Adding a layer of cardboard dunnage on to the pallet prior to stacking greatly increases
    the protection of the bottom row of cartons from crushing.
  • When shrink-wrapping your pallet after stacking, always start the shrink-wrap from
    the bottom of the skid for increased strength and always ensure the pallet is also
    included in the wrap.

When loading pallets for shipping, refer to the examples below:

Most Recommended

  • Maximum structural strength of the boxes is maintained by vertically aligning the
    cartons on the skid.
  • There should be no overhang of cartons over the edge of the pallet.
  • Inserting a layer of cardboard over the empty pallet is an excellent way of protecting
    the bottom row of cartons from crushing.
  • The top of the skid should be flat. Ideally a piece of cardboard would be placed
    over the top layer of cartons.
  • The cartons should be secured to the pallet with shrink-wrap, from the bottom, up
    for maximum strength.

Most Recommended
Avoid Pallet Overhang

  • Avoid stacking cartons with an overhang on the pallet.
  • A half inch (1/2in) overhand results in a 30% loss in the strength of a carton.
  • The bottom cartons will often fail simply as a result of the compression from the
    stacked pallet.
  • The loss in strength is even more significant for pallets stacked with products
    in bags or other shipping modes.

Pallet Overhanging
Avoid Interlocking Cartons:

  • A common misconception is that interlocking cartons on a skid provides the most
    secure loading method.
  • In actual fact, stacking in an interlocking pattern result in a loss of strength
    to the load of 50%.
  • Using a vertical stack pattern results in a slightly
    less stable configuration but considerably more compression strength. Proper use
    of shrink-wrap will secure a vertically stacked skid.

Misaligned Cartons:

  • Using a vertical stack pattern, but misaligning the cartons results in a loss of
    compression strength of 30%.
  • In addition, the pallet once shrink-wrapped will have significantly less stability
    during transportation.

Misaligned Cartons
Double Stacking Pallets:

  • When pallets are double stacked incorrectly there is significant compression placed
    on the bottom skid.
  • In order to ensure the weight of the top skid is uniformly distributed, a layer
    of cardboard dunnage or plywood should be used on the top of the bottom skid.
  • This ensures uniform the uniform distribution of weight over the entire top row
    of cartons on the bottom skid.
  • Without a layer of dunnage, the top row of cartons on the bottom skid will almost
    certainly display signs of crushing.

Fragile & Perishable Products

Clark Freightways maintains reefer temperatures for all cooler products at a standard
operating temperature well above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However, depending on the
placement within the trailer some fragile products such as live plants, peaches,
etc, may be susceptible to air-chill through the standard operation of the reefer.

For this reason it is incumbent on the shipper of these types of products to ensure
their shipping containers have adequate protection for their products from risks
of air-chill. Plants and produce should never be shipped without the tops of the
shipping container being enclosed and insulated with a layer of cardboard.