Air Freight Packaging – Floor Load Tolerance

supath seo unitised cargo

Introduction

Air freight packaging must be strong enough to withstand fast operational procedures. Forklifts, pallet-jack handling, moving, sliding, vibrations etc are all factors that need to be taken into account. Waterproofing of the package is an additional measure that may be added to the checklist. However, one important point, which should not be forgotten is the floor load tolerance or floor load capacity limit.  This factor is of extreme importance when pallets with chocks are used in air freight packaging.

Why Is Floor Load Tolerance Limit Important

Freight forwarding by air uses unit load devices (ULD), which are mostly made of light weight aluminium. Although the metal is known for its tensile strength, it is not fully resistant to damage. As per the air freight regulations certain amount or type of damage can disqualify a ULD from being used in transport.  Missing rivets, deep dents or ripped sides etc. can disqualify a ULD.

Air freight packaging referred to here includes the carrier pallet. This may be made of hard board, wood, plastic or any other permitted material.

Understanding Air Freight Basics

Floor load tolerance limit is the maximum permissible load per square meter. The standard used by Lufthansa is  2000 Kg per square meter. An amount of weight higher than this amount is assumed to damage the ULD and hence endanger the safety of the aircraft. A damaged ULD gives rise to the risk of freight moving while in flight, which in turn can set off destabilising the other freight on board.

Since the maximum permissible load per square meter has been set, we need to  calculate the area of the footprint (the area occupied by the freight). In order to make the calculation understandable, the simplest example of a pallet with chocks is used below. The chocks (feet) of the pallet apply a concentrated weight on a very small area. Calculating the footprint is, to put in other words, finding the contact area.

The contact area in square meters is then multiplied with the maximum permissible load (2000 Kg). The result is the maximum weight of the freight.

The Calculation

air freight floor load capacity

 

We shall consider a pallet with four chocks, with each chock measuring 8 cm (both length and width).  Since the unit of the area is square meters, we need to convert the  measurements into that unit. 8 cm = 0.08 meters.

Area = length  x width => 0.08 x 0x0.08 => 0.064
Multiply the area with the maximum permissible weight => 0.064 x 2000 = 128

128 is taken as the weight. Hence the freight above (including the pallet) may weigh not more than 128 Kg. Any load on the top of the freight will mean crossing the load tolerance limit.

You, as a shipper, are not required to know the calculation. The article is to help you plan your air freight packaging with the freight forwarder and airlines in mind.

Air Freight Planning

  • Try to avoid pallets with chocks, especially conical chocks. The amount of weight per contact area of a conical chock is greater than that of a chock that is flat.
  • Use pallets with chocks resting on strips making the full length or width of the pallet. This will help distribute the weight over a large area
  • Even distribution of weight within the crate/carton with dunnage preventing the movement of the content.
  • Wobbly content shifts weight and creates possibility for  damage to content
  • Avoid overhangs! Freight should occupy only the area of the pallet and not project out of the rims.
  • If wooden pallets are to be used, make sure they are IPPC standard and the logo should be visible from the outside (embossed  on the side)
  • Air freight packaging must be strong enough and air worthy. Waterproofing is not mandatory but is certainly recommended.

Resources Centre

Anybody needing help or advice to plan air freight Please get in touch using the contact form. However, consultation with your freight forwarder/air cargo agent cannot be stressed enough. 

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References for air freight

Air cargo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Air cargo is any property carried or to be carried in an aircraft. Air cargo comprises air freight, air express and airmail. Contents. [hide]. 1 Aircraft types; 2 History.

Unitised Cargo – 7: PMC 10 Ft Pallet

supath seo unitised cargo

Introduction To Unitised Cargo

Unitised Cargo not only optimises planning of freight space on aircraft but also organises the distribution of freight in the cabin, so that the maximum amount of freight can be loaded into the plane, but within the weight limits.  Air freight, today, is unthinkable without unit load devices and all airlines make use of this light weight equipment to organise and transport freight.

Two Categories

Unit Load Devices (ULD) come in two major categories:

  • Containers (also known as cans or pods)
  • Pallets

Containers, with or without contours, are, as the name suggests, closed devices with or without doors. The entrance is closed or secured by lockable doors, when used for valuable freight. When used for loading standard general cargo usually synthetic textile screens are used.

Pallets, on the other hand are flat devices with tie-down slots along the outer edges. Just as the containers, pallets are made from Aluminium and the inner area accommodates the freight while the outer edges serve to secure the freight. Slots are provided for the hooks to slide in and protect the load.

PMC 10 Ft Pallet ( 96 Inches Pallet)

PMCs are one of the most common, if not the most common, ULD used in unitised cargo loading, It is a very simple flat device with a narrow tie-down-slot array along the outer edges for attaching the straps or nets that secure the freight. Unlike the containers, where palletised freight might prove to have a disadvantage, PMC can be used for palletised freight, as there are no walls.

  • IATA Certification : PMC
  • FAA Certification : TSO-C90
  • Outer Dimension : 318 cm x 244 cm
  • Usable Area : 304 cm x 230 cm
  • Maximum Permissible Gross Weight: 6804 Kg
  • Aircraft : Airbus: A300 category (A330, A340, A380), Boeing: B747, B767, B777, MD: MD-11, DC : DC8 and DC10

 

supath seo unitised cargo air_cargo

Courtesy: WIKI

Advice To Exporters

  • Please use strong packaging.
  • Waterproofing is not necessary, as a waterproof plastic sheet is spread on the pallet before loading. However extra protection is never a mistake
  • If your consignments consist of several pieces, organise them on pallets with flat base strips. This will help the even distribution of weight. Pallets with chock (= feet) have a disadvantage. The weight of the freight is concentrated on a very small area, which can lead to violating the floor load tolerance levels (the amount of weight concentrated on a small area of the pallet.)
  • Packages must be secure (air freight security regulations). No slits, openings or cracks  are permitted (freight runs the risk of manipulation)
  • Avoid overhangs on pallets. The freight should occupy only the inner area of the packaging pallet used.
  • Freight forwarder or the airline will decide the device to be used.

Resources Centre

Anybody needing help or advice to plan air freight Please get in touch using the contact form. However, consultation with your freight forwarder/air cargo agent cannot be stressed enough.

Request

Experts in the field: please point out any errors or changes. A feedback from readers will be highly appreciated. Please share your thoughts by commenting. Any recommendation on bettering the content is welcome and will be highly appreciated.

Contact

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message