There are two key facets to securing bulk cargo before starting a long trip. The first is securing it in such a way that the cargo will arrive safe and unharmed. The second is securing it in such a way that the transportation process will be safe for all involved. This holds true whether you are transporting a small amount of cargo in the back of a pickup or an airplane cargo hold full of cargo.
In this post, learn current universal strategies you can use for securing any kind of bulk cargo to ensure it will arrive safe, secure and unharmed after a long trip.
Step 1: Balancing the Load
Your first step in loading in the cargo to be transported is to ensure it is balanced throughout the containment area. An unbalanced load can tip or shift in dangerous ways mid-route, endangering crew and cargo alike. Here, be sure the cargo is placed evenly throughout so no one area bears more weight. Also, avoid top-heavy stacking at all costs.
The maximum weight permitted for the type of transportation you are using is generally mandated at the federal level. However, if you need a permit because your cargo is either oversized or over the federal weight limit, you will need to apply at the state level. If you are traveling across several states, you will need to apply to each state for a cargo permit.
Step 2: Blocking and Bracing.
Blocks are used to keep the cargo in the same place throughout the trip by bracing the cargo against sudden stops, starts, swerves and other unexpected incidences. By using blocking and bracing, you ensure that your cargo arrives as balanced as when it left.
You can use blocks for the front, back, sides and overhead space to keep your cargo from shifting during the trip. Bracing is typically used towards the front of your cargo in a way that attaches to the floor or sidewalls of the transport vehicle.
Step 3: The Tiedown.
The tiedown phase is an extra insurance against cargo displacement during the trip. Sometimes called the “securement system,” you can use the blocks and braces together with straps, ties, stakes, posts, chains, latches, straps, shackles, friction mats and other tiedown tools to secure your cargo.
There are also requirements regarding tiedowns by either length or weight. For cargo within weight limits, typically you will need to provide adequate tiedowns per every 10 feet of cargo you are hauling. As well, you should have a minimum of two tiedowns even if your cargo is quite small.
Step 4: Special Loads Have Special Needs.
If you are transporting bulk cargo that includes oversized articles, dry goods, live animals, refrigerated produce or meat, hazardous materials or other special loads, you may need to follow additional precautions to ensure your cargo arrives both usable and safe.
You may also need special lighting or an escort for oversized loads.