Ensuring that your cargo arrives safely and reaches its destination requires the careful consideration and application of proper cargo load restraint techniques and principles. While it is effective to implement various load restraint systems, such as strapping, lashing, and dunnage bags, it is important that the science behind cargo load restraint is properly understood, as this will avoid any restraint failures in transit.

Take a look at some of the key scientific aspects of load restraint so that there is a comprehensive understanding of how cargo can be safely secured in transit.

Weight and distribution

The weight and distribution of the cargo are two critical factors that work in conjunction to help determine what kind of forces need to be applied to ensure the load remains secure. Instability may result from improperly apportioned cargo. This instability can lead to the goods’ collapse or even the imbalanced movement of entire trucks or containers. This inevitably poses a serious safety concern.

Therefore, it is crucial to accurately identify the load’s centre of gravity to carefully administer proper weight distribution to the cargo. The load cannot be secured safely until the weight has been evenly distributed.

Every cargo item needs to be accurately weighed and its dimensions properly recorded so that the cargo loading and securing teams can safely distribute the cargo’s weight.

X-Pak Cargo Lash System

The Coefficient of Friction

Another crucial scientific factor that must be carefully taken into account when calculating load restraint forces is the amount of friction between the load and the container or vehicle on which it’s resting. 

The coefficient of friction between the load and the surface must be discovered in order to understand this. This means that surface pairings need to be taken into account, such as wood against metal, or metal against rubber, as each of these surface pairings will result in a different level of friction.

The higher the friction coefficient, the more stable the load will be and the less likely it will slip. The lower the friction coefficient, the less force will be required to cause an object to slip. Slippage can undermine even the best load restraint systems, which makes this a very important aspect to take into consideration. The surface’s potential slipperiness due to moisture or other factors also needs to be taken into account.

Thankfully, the coefficient of friction can easily be raised to well within recommended safety levels through the application of anti-slip rubber mats.

Acceleration and Deceleration Forcer

It is also necessary to take into account any acceleration and deceleration forces the load may be subjected to during transit. For example, when a vehicle starts or stops suddenly, the load may shift, requiring additional restraint forces to keep it in place. These forces can be calculated using Newton’s laws of motion, which include the laws of inertia, acceleration and action-reaction.

Whether it be a truck, a train, a ship, or an aeroplane, it’s vital to know the acceleration and deceleration capabilities of the vehicle that will be transporting the goods so that the correct calculations can be performed and the appropriate load restraint solutions can be implemented.

Load Restraint Systems

Various kinds of load restraint solutions exist on the market. Choosing the right systems to secure the load is critical, as an inadequate solution could undermine the cargo’s stability and security. 

The different load restraint systems that are used will significantly affect how much force is needed to keep the load in place. The strength and durability of these devices should be understood, as well as this, they should be placed and angled to provide the necessary force to keep the cargo in place.

Implementing Cargo Load Restraint

Once you understand the scientific principles that govern how loads can shift in transit and what forces need to be applied to avoid any movement, you can begin to implement load restraint solutions that will ensure the cargo is properly secured.

One of the most critical things to remember is to use the right kind of restraint system for the type of cargo being transported. They should be strong enough to hold the weight of the cargo securely. Inspect these systems, such as lashes, straps, dunnage bags, chains, or tarps, regularly for signs of wear or damage and replace them when needed.

When it comes to load restraint, it is important to follow industry standards and regulations. These standards provide guidance on load distribution, restraint types, and other key factors. The IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units, also known as the CTU Code, is of great help in this regard.

Finally, it is good practice to ensure that any personnel involved in the loading, transporting and unloading of cargo receive thorough training on load restraint to ensure that they understand the importance of securing cargo properly and how to do it correctly.

If you would like to get expert advice on which load restraint systems are best for your cargo transportation needs, speak to us at X-Pak Global today. Our range of premium cargo load restraint solutions can cater to any requirements.