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What Is Dunnage In Trucking? (11 Questions Answered)

Well, you might be wondering what dunnage is? It is a term frequently used in the freight industry and it plays a significant role in protecting cargo during transportation.

Here, we dive into what exactly dunnage is, what types of dunnages you get, and why would you use it.

Here’s a quick answer to What is Dunnage in Trucking:

Dunnage in trucking refers to durable material that is used in securing your load to avoid any damages during trucking. Dunnage can be made from various materials that include wood, solid plastic, airbags, and sometimes even steel. The choice of dunnage material used will depend on the application.

What is Dunnage in Trucking?

In simple terms, dunnage refers to any material that helps keep your cargo in place during transportation. Dunnage can be anything that keeps and prevents your load from sliding off a flatbed truck.

Dunnage can get made from several materials, but common dunnage materials include foam, corrugated paper, wood, and plastic.

In some instances, V boards get used as dunnage in which they are used to prevent damage to cargo during transit. V boards refer to a thick plastic or cardboard used to strap your cargo and hold them in place to avoid any damages.

What are the Reasons for using Dunnage for Cargo Loading?

There are several reasons as to why we use dunnage in cargo loading. One of the primary reasons is to prevent any unnecessary damages on goods getting loaded.

Secondly, dunnage is essential when loading goods on a truck as it helps keep the goods fixed, avoiding extreme movements during loading.

Another reason why we insist on dunnage while loading cargo on a truck is because dunnage provides an extra layer of protection that can withstand up to a maximum of three pounds per square inch of pressure.

Dunnage materials come with an exceptional built-in capability that allows them to withstand any inflation.

When transporting exceptionally high delicate cargo on the truck, the process of loading to transportation demands special dunnage.

These goods usually get protected by a double layer crisscrossed dunnage that comes with extra security features.

Is the Use of Dunnage in Trucking always Necessary?

The use of dunnage in trucking is essential and considered a good practice, particularly when transporting delicate goods.

Some of the factors are beyond the trucking industry control, such as environmental changes during transportation, and we have to maintain the quality and standard of the package until we reach its destination.

Therefore, there are several reasons why trucking dunnage is an essential part of the transport.

  • Physical protection

The process of loading, transporting, and unloading a package exposes your goods to some severe level of threat and damages.

Dunnage plays a critical role in ensuring the physical protection of goods and ensuring no breakages take place.

Dunnage gets used in holding the package in a fixed position, preventing the container from moving around.

Absorbing shocks and vibrations that might affect the item is another crucial aspect of dunnage as part of trucking.

  • Water protection

Weather changes are some aspects the trucking industry has no control over, and protecting your cargo from water damages is a priority.

Dunnage gets essentially designed to keep the package above the deck, ensuring that in case there is water underneath will not harm your cargo.

  • Moisture protection

Transporting goods in a container over a long distance requires protection from moisture.

Constrainers get specifically built to be moisture resistant, and therefore they do not have any drainage outlet for any moisture that may form.

Condensation will inevitably form inside the container at some point, which might damage your packages.

Therefore, proper dunnage that can absorb this moisture is necessary, and in this case, paper and other absorbent materials get used as dunnage.

  • Weight redistribution

Transporting heavy cargo is sometimes hard to manipulate its weight. Dunnage sometimes comes as a lifesaver and assist in redistributing the weight carried across all corners allowing easier cargo handling.

  • Air circulation

Dunnage is also an essential component, particularly when transporting a refrigerated or closed compartment with specific air circulation controls. 

Dunnage allows chilled air to reach all corners of the package.

What Types of Dunnage do you get for Trucking Goods?

There are various types of dunnage one can use depending on the type of cargo they are transporting.

Below are some of the dunnage one can use when tracking their goods.

  • Wood Dunnage

Wood dunnage is one of the most common forms of dunnage used in trucking goods.

This kind of dunnage goes hand in hand with rough lumber of the same thickness to create a barrier between the items on transit.

The same material is used for air circulation and protecting against any physical damage during transportation.

Wood dunnage is essentially a popular method of trucking goods due to its uncostly nature, high availability, and is recyclable.

  • Steel Dunnage

Steel dunnage is another material that can get used in making dunnage for trucking goods. One of the disadvantages of this dunnage is that it’s the most expensive of all.

One might consider using steel dunnage for trucking goods only when transporting high-value goods as steel provides high protection tan wood.

Similarly, if your cargo contains a mix of heavy and light items, steel is better dunnage as it protects damages from the heavier products on the light ones.

  • Plastic / Solid Dunnage

When it comes to trucking goods that are of high value, solid plastic dunnage ranks relatively high.

Solid plastic dunnage is popular because they are easy to model and fits a specific design despite being expensive. That is why they are pretty ideal for high-net-worth product transportation.

Other popular dunnage can be used for tucking goods, including rubber dunnage, corrugated paper, air pillow, and foam dunnage.

What kind of Wood is Dunnage?

Wood dunnage is the easiest and the most affordable kind of dunnage you can come across. There are several reasons attributed to that, but most importantly, its availability and renewable nature of wood.

Wood dunnage, besides being flexible, is quite efficient and environmentally friendly compared to other materials used to manufacture dunnages.

The wood used in dunnage must meet specific requirements; otherwise, one will find themselves contravening certain federal regulations. One of the requirements for wood dunnage is the ISPM 15 heat treatment. 

This regulation sets guidelines on using non-chemical processes to eliminate wood pests and ensure a healthy ecosystem. The American Lumber Standard Committee, ALSC, is mandated to develop quality control and measures safeguarding labeling and heat-treated wood products.

Does Dunnage add Significant Weight to Truckload?

A simple answer to this is NO. dunnage does not add significant weight to the truck centrally its assists in weight redistribution across all corners of the load.

Dunnage allows cargo to occupy a total length of the truck and weight distribution becomes relatively easy as drive axle and tandems can equally share the weight of the load comfortably.

How to Select Dunnage for your Goods?

Selecting the right dunnage to use for your cargo transport is dependent or pegged on several factors. 

The most critical of these factors is the type of cargo or goods one is transporting. Various dunnages get made to safeguard and protect different kinds of goods. 

High fragile goods get better transported using airbag dunnage’s as they are protective of breakages.

Consequently, Steel dunnage is suitable for transporting the high-value product to its secure nature. Solid plastic is also ideal for high-value trucking.

Transporting electronic goods and small, fragile equipment gets better handled when a bubble wrap dunnage trucks them.

Where can you Purchase Dunnage from?

Dunnage is available in plenty, but it depends on your location. Some various shops and outlets specialize in making and selling specific types of dunnage.  

Amazon is a one-stop-shop where you can shop for multiple types of dunnage. Amazon has various vendors from around the country, and you can inquire about their website.

Consequently, Walmart supercenter has some excellent offers on dunnage with great reviews from around the country. Other places one can shop around for dunnages of any kind online include Home Depot.

Are Pallets considered Dunnage?

Yes, pallets are considered high-quality dunnage. There are primarily two types of pallets; wood pallets and plastic pallets.

Both wood and plastic pallets form excellent dunnage for transporting goods over long and short distances.

Plastic pallets get specifically designed to resist any pests, and they can withstand close to 4500 pounds of load.

What is Empty Dunnage?

Empty dunnage involves deliberately leaving empty air space pockets that allow free air circulation within the package.

This form of container is usually prevalent when transporting refrigerated items or even closed compartments—the empty spaces left to ensure that air circulation reaches all the item’s corners.

Air Pillows are the most common material that gets used in this kind of dunnage as it creates empty spaces for air circulation and, at the same time, prevents your consignment from sliding inside the box.

What is Dunnage Void Fill?

When you hear the term void fill, what comes to you might be a space. Yeah, that’s right, void fill refers to adding extra packaging material in your dunnage to fill any available space that might have been left unattended.

Dunnage Void fill is quite essential as it helps protect your products from damages. Any gaps and spaces are available before trucking of your good gets void filled with airbags and other materials.