When it comes to transporting goods, proper load restraint is essential. When goods are not adequately secured in place, they can shift in transit and end up getting damaged on their way to their destination. This can lead to significant costs in product replacements as well as potentially causing reputational brand damage.

In addition to the risk to the cargo, inadequate load restraint can lead to injuries and even death, as falling cargo can land on personnel who load or unload the goods, as well as shifting the weight of the load altogether, which can result in overturning vehicles.

Thankfully, there are solutions available in the modern shipping industry to ensure that loads are properly secured and cannot shift or topple during transportation and handling. If implemented correctly, proper load restraint using adequate solutions can effectively negate any risk of goods falling or moving around ‒ even on rough seas or bumpy roads.

Man opening shipping container with falling goods

Here are 7 load restraint principles that you should always apply when shipping cargo. Following these principles will ensure that your goods arrive in one piece, undamaged and reducing risk of injury.

1. Always Make Sure That The Load Is Properly Restrained

Use whatever load restraint solutions you need to ensure that the cargo is properly secured and immobilised in the container. This is one aspect that you should always focus on. Inadequate restraints can lead to catastrophic failures, including health and safety impacts and potentially expose you to legal complications.

At X-Pak Global, we offer high-quality solutions including lashing straps, tarps, dunnage bags, and ratchet straps, along with all of the necessary accessories and tools to make sure they are applied correctly.

2. Ensure That The Weight Is Evenly Distributed

Strapping everything down is not the only thing you need to worry about. Properly distributing the weight of the load is also essential to maintaining balance and stability when being transported. Uneven weight distribution can lead to instability of the load, thus making the container more prone to tipping or swaying en route.

As you can imagine, a toppled container could pose a significant safety risk and also significantly damage the contents inside.

3. Use Appropriate Restraints Where Needed

Selecting the right type and strength of restraints based on the weight, size and characteristics of the cargo being transported is critical. Inadequate restraints can fail, causing the load to fall, shift or slide in transit.

Different types of loads require specific types of restraints to ensure adequate support and prevent shifting. X-Pak Global has load restraint specialists available to come to you for free consultations if you’re unsure.

4. Inspect and Maintain Your Load Restraint Equipment

Before every trip, inspect all load restraint equipment for signs of wear, damage, or weakness. Since most load restraint solutions are reusable, this is absolutely critical. If you notice any issues with your gear, replace any damaged or worn-out components to ensure that the effectiveness of the load restraint system remains uncompromised.

In many cases of load restraint failure, the failure occurs due to worn-out components. These could include damaged buckles, frayed straps, or leaking dunnage bags, among other possibilities.

Lashing through reefer hook

5. Always Comply With Load Restraint Regulations And Standards

Depending on whether you’re shipping goods by road or by sea, local and international regulations and standards exist to ensure a standard of safe practice in terms of proper load restraint.

These regulations and codes of good practice are there to ensure the safety of both personnel and the goods themselves, so it is important to ensure that you maintain complete compliance throughout each phase of the process. Failure to comply could result in not only accidents but potential legal consequences as well.

6. Take Note Of and Protect Vulnerable Cargo

Not all cargo can be packed and handled the same way. Some types of cargo may be more susceptible to damage or movement during transit than others. These types of fragile or vulnerable goods should be packed with extra care. To ensure that these goods are adequately protected, additional measures such as dunnage, tarps, or bracing should be used.

7. Know and Anticipate Dynamic Forces

It is critical to recognise and accept that during transportation, the vehicle ‒ whether it is a truck or a ship ‒ will encounter various dynamic forces along the way. These could include things like rocking back and forth, acceleration, braking and cornering. Sometimes these forces can be sudden and severe.

To counter this and ensure that your load is properly protected, ensure that the load restraint system can handle these forces without compromising cargo stability. If needed, add additional solutions, such as non-slip mats, to increase the stability and add an extra layer of protection.

For access to a wide range of high-quality load restraint solutions of various kinds, as well as all of the necessary accessories and tools required for applying them correctly, contact us at X-Pak Global today!

Our expert team can provide you with custom advice on your load restraint needs and ensure that your goods arrive intact at their destination, safely.