STUFFING THE CONTAINER
12-1. INTRODUCTION. Proper container stuffing meets two main objectives: using all, or as much as possible, of the container's cube capacity; and protecting the cargo from loss or damage during transit.
12-2. GENERAL PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS. Cargo handlers must plan each container load for ease of unloading or "stripping" at destination. When cargo for more than one consignee has been consolidated, the cargo for each stop should be physically separated by partitions, dividers, paper, or plastic sheets. Cargo to be stripped first should be stuffed into the container last.
- Place forklift openings in pallet or skids facing the door of the containers.
- Provide a lift clearance at the top (minimum of 4 inches) for items to be handled by the forklift.
- Avoid wedging or jamming cargo into containers.
a. To further facilitate stripping, cargo handlers will-
b. Place heavy items and wet commodities on the bottom with light and dry commodities on top. Do not stuff dangerous cargo with incompatible items already in a container. Make sure the weight distribution is even throughout the container so that the container is properly balanced. Stow cargo tightly in the container so shifting will not occur and cause heavy items to be thrown through the container walls. If the cargo does not fill the container, block and brace the cargo. Stuff all containers as though they were going to be stowed on deck. This will ensure that containers are watertight and capable of standing greater stress and strain than if stowed below deck.
12-3. CARDBOARD CARTONS. Cardboard cartons are probably the easiest type of cargo to stuff in containers, especially when the cartons are of equal size. Because of their routine nature, however, basic stuffing techniques are often overlooked. Cargo handlers should preplan the load and establish the stuffing pattern. The weight should be evenly distributed throughout the container. Cargo handlers should ensure that, if possible, the load is tight and square from front to back and from wall to wall. The cases should be either turned or staggered when stuffed to produce lacing effect, which gives the load more stability and reduces shifting. Figure 12-1 shows the bonded block stuffing method, which is highly recommended when stuffing loose cartons.
12-4. PALLETIZED CARGO. Cartons and cases that are unitized are normally the best cargo for stuffing, unstuffing, stabilizing in transit, and warehousing. As with a manually-stacked load, the cases should be interlocked in each unit to reduce shifting. Unitized cargo should be secured with banding or shrink wrap. Cargo handlers will use uniform pallet-load heights to obtain maximum use of container cube when palletized loads are placed in containers (Figure 12-2). Better cargo cube capacity can be obtained by using a pallet-load height of 43 inches instead of the 54-inch pallet-load height used in break-bulk shipments. The pallet-load height of 54 inches is too high for double-stacking in a container and results in the loss of valuable cargo cube capacity.
Figure 12-1. Bonded block method of stuffing cardboard cartons
Figure 12-2. Cube utilization
a. Cargo handlers ensure that cargo consisting of bags, sacks, and bales is laced on dunnage--either racks, pallets, or packing material. The cargo should be stuffed in cross-tiers as shown in Figure 12-3. The cross-tier method provides the most stability. It is customarily used for less-than-full container loads of bagged cargo, and for a full load at the rear, to minimize the possibility of cargo shifting.
b. As with most other types of cargo, container loads of bagged material should be braced across the door to prevent the bags from falling out when the container is opened. Cargo handlers should also-
Figure 12-3. Cross-tier stuffing
- Use sufficient dunnage layers on the container deck to provide a sump area for condensate drainage.
- Separate bags, sacks, or bales from other cargo by using partitions or auxiliary decks.
- When stuffing bales, provide dividers between rows and tiers to prevent chafing and friction between metal bands or strapping.
- Flatten Bags.
a. Place drums tightly against each other to avoid shifting (see Figure 12-4). Drums and barrels containing petroleum products are not shipped in the same container with general cargo.
Figure 12-4. Drums stuffed
tightly to prevent shifting
b. If there is any unused floor space, brace the load with chocks to prevent the drums from tipping or shifting. Drums should be placed upright with the bungs on top, packed tightly, and, preferably, palletized. Personnel will use flatrack containers, if available, for high-density loads since unstuffing is facilitated with this type of container. Consistent with the weight limitations of the container and individual state highway restrictions, it may be possible to double-tier palletized drums depending on the commodity density. These drums must, however, be properly stacked and tied down.
c. When double-stacked drums are not unitized, place dunnage between tiers. This dunnage increases the amount of weight-bearing surface and reduces sliding. The drums on the second tier must also be packed tightly.
d. Handle pails and fiberboard drums in the same manner as regular drums. However, since most pails and fiberboard drums have ridged, interlocking chines, do not use dunnage between tiers so that the top and bottom rims can interlock.
e. When checking fiberboard drums, personnel should be aware that banding can sometimes cut the drums. It is recommended that fiberboard drums be chocked by use of a bulkhead (Figure 12-5). On double-stacked fiberboard drums, personnel may use a stand chock. The bottom tier should be tight to give support to the stand chock.
Figure 12-5. Bulkhead constructed
to support load
12-7. WOODEN BOXES AND CRATES. When stuffing a container with wooden boxes and crates, place the heavy items on the container floor with the pallet access openings facing the container door. If the crates are of uniform size and weight, they should be stacked directly one on top of the other. Personnel should never place a heavy box or crate so that it rests on top and inside the four corners of the box beneath it. Dense crate loads may require dunnage over the lower level of crates to prevent damage.
a. Stuff small, unpalletized boxes and crates in much the same manner as cartons and place them on their sides or ends to maximize space, provided vendor instructions do not prohibit it.
b. As a general rule, place boxes and crates containing liquids that may leak on the bottom of the load. As with other types of cargo, the load should be braced to prevent boxes and crates from falling out when the container is opened at destination.
c. Figure 12-6 shows stuffing arrangements of various sizes of boxes and crates.
Figure 12-6. Methods for stuffing various
sizes of wooden boxes and crates (rear view)
12-8. MACHINERY AND HEAVY-END ITEMS. Loads must be carefully preplanned when machinery and heavy-end items are to be stuffed into containers. In addition to equipment that may be irregular in shape, high-density components may reach the weight capacity of the container or the highway limitations imposed by individual states and countries before achieving the desired cube capacity of the container.
a. Extreme weight will not in itself hold the cargo in place. Ensure that heavy cargo is securely braced and blocked on all sides to prevent any lateral or lengthwise motion, since its concentrated weight will cause major damage if the load shifts. Deck cleats and chocking should prevent lateral and fore-and-aft movement. The use of tie-downs and metal strapping should prevent vertical movement.
b. All shoring and bracing must bear on a structural member of the container and not on the panel sides of the container alone.
c. Heavy cargo, though requiring no extra crating or boxing, should be placed on cradles or skids so the extreme weight is further distributed over a larger area (see Figure 12-7).
Figure 12-7. Distribution of
heavy loads in containers
d. In some instances, extremely dense items may need to be bolted to the container floors. Personnel should not do this without approval of the carrier.
- Load vehicles into the container facing out to allow for quick loading.
- Place vehicles in gear with the hand brakes set.
- Disconnect battery and tape the cable terminals.
- Drain the fuel level to no more than 1/4 tank.
- Remove or protect breakable parts such as exterior mirrors and antennas.
- Secure vehicles to the floor to include chocking the wheels on all four sides so that lateral or lengthwise movement is possible.
Stack small vehicles in a standard container to obtain maximum cube use.
- Never stuff a commodity giving off an odor with a commodity that would be affected by an odor. Certain cargo can be contaminated by contact with oil, dust, or vapors.
- When stuffing commodities with different packaging (cartons with crates), be sure to use dunnage between the different kinds to separate them and prevent damage (Figure 12-8).
- If wet and dry cargoes are stuffed in the same containers, use dunnage to separate the commodities.
- Container doors are not to be used to secure loads. You can use bullboards wedged in container doorposts and plywood sheets or pallets to prevent mixed or boxed cargo from contacting the container door.
- Do not stow hazardous materials of different classes in the same container if any segregation requirements are shown in the IMDG code for the different classes involved.
a. Along with the general stuffing techniques listed throughout this section, the following guidelines should be followed when stuffing mixed commodities:
Figure 12-8. Dunnage separating mixed commodities
b. Sound judgment is the most important basis for determining when commodities can be mixed and what stuffing method is the best to be used to ensure the arrival of cargo at its destination without any damage.
12-11. PERISHABLES. The refrigerator container should be inspected for cleanliness and should be precooled before loading. Some containers have drain holes in the bottom for cleaning purposes. Since these holes permit the entry of outside air and affect the temperature, they must be plugged before cargo is loaded in the container. The cargo should then be loaded as quickly as possible into the container, normally without lathing or dunnage placed between rows or layers of cargo. The cargo should not be packed tightly to the interior roof of the containers or hard against the doors, because sufficient air space must be left to provide proper air circulation within the container (Figure 12-9). Chapter 8 has more information on stowing refrigerated cargo.
a. Frozen foods do not generate heat. Stowing boxes of frozen commodities tightly will prevent heat entry and surround the items with a blanket of cold air (Figure 12-10).
b. When loading is completed, the clerk closes the doors and affixes the seal. On the record chart, the clerk writes the date and time of loading, temperature setting, and the name and voyage number of the vessel on which the container will be loaded.
Figure 12-9. Stuffing perishable commodities
Figure 12-10. Frozen food stowage
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