Shipping Crates

Learn about wooden crates and plastic crates

Crate shipping is a commonly used transport method for retailers and merchants, as well as importers and exporters. Crates are generally quite large, and they're an efficient way of transporting large volumes of goods across land, air and sea.

Choosing a shipping crate typically comes down to the type of goods you are shipping, as different items are suited to different materials and features of shipping crates. Your best bet in making a smart shipping crate decision is to consider your inventory, warehousing space and the type of equipment you will be using to move your crates in and out of shipping areas.

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When to Use Shipping Crates

Shipping crates are typically used for shipping items that are too large, heavy or awkward for shipping boxes. Often, crate shipping is used for international shipments, since the goods will have to move through multiple locations and by multiple modes of freight transportation, such as from air to land to water.

Types of Shipping Crates

The three main types of shipping crates are:

  • Wooden crates. A wooden shipping crate has been the traditional choice in crate shipping and is still popular. Wood is durable and resistant to the elements, but it can also be heavy and somewhat cumbersome.

  • Plastic crates. A plastic shipping crate is a good choice if you're looking for a lighter option for transporting goods, as long as the goods you put in them are also light. Plastic shipping crates are resistant to the elements, but they are not as durable as other crate materials.

  • Metal crates. Metal crates are a good compromise between wood and plastic crates. While they're heavy like wood, they are more weather-resistant, and if cared for properly, they are more durable than plastic crates.

There are other features you may want to look for, as well. Collapsible crates are a good option if your space is limited between shipments, and stackable shipping crates could help you take advantage of vertical storage space in your warehouse or cargo freighter.

Keep in mind that you will need to choose crate labels for your shipping crates. Often, these are simply stickers that are not unlike other kinds of mailing labels, but you can also find crates with permanent label holders that help keep the label protected.