What Is Dunnage? Types and Importance of Dunnage

What Is Dunnage? Types and Importance of Dunnage

If you have ever packed a shipment, you’ve probably already used dunnage. Dunnage isn’t a term you’d hear very often since it is more commonly used in the logistics industry. However, as sellers are becoming aware of good packaging practices, it is slowly entering the eCommerce industry.

Shipment getting damaged due to improper packaging is a more common concern than you’d think. Improper packaging resulting in shipment damages is not only going to cost you money but also time and effort. This is where dunnage comes into the picture.

What Is Dunnage?

Dunnage includes different types of loose packaging material intended to protect the package by providing some sort of padding. They are used as a precautionary measure to protect packages from any pitfalls during the shipping process. 

Dunnage includes anything from bubble wrap to crinkled papers. These are often inexpensive items made with paper, wood, foam, or plastic. For dunnage to serve its purpose, it is essential to use the correct packaging size and the right dunnage.

A huge corrugated box with lots of crinkled paper isn’t going to provide your package with all the protection they need. Similarly, using foam for fragile items might not ensure the complete security of the package. 

Why Should You Use Dunnage?

Once your order is packed and handed over for delivery, it exchanges a number of hands. The risk of shipments getting damaged, whether in the warehousing facility or cargo, is relatively high.

Packages are also exposed to unpredictable weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances. Under such scenarios, sellers need to use proper dunnage in order to protect the shipments against any shocks or volatile movements. 

Here are 3 important reasons why you need to use dunnage:

1. Damage Protection 

The primary importance of dunnage is to protect shipments from damage. Any dunnage, no matter what material or size, is used with the intent of damage protection.

Packages are likely to wobble around in trucks, ships, or trains; if there is proper packaging with appropriate dunnage, it ensures the shipment remains safe. 

It also prevents damage during collisions or heavy loads on packages in storage facilities. Dunnage also protects heavy-weight shipments and make them easier to transport. 

2. Moisture Protection 

Climate change and its effect on shipments are beyond your control, but you can control how well-equipped you are when it comes to sufficient packaging and dunnage material.

If you’re shipping electronics products or perishable items that are more likely to get damaged if exposed to moisture, adequate measures in terms of secure packaging must be ensured.

In the case of cargo ships, floor dunnage is used for protection against moisture on the ship's floor. Similarly, air dunnage is used for shipments sent via road to avoid damages through collision.

3. Shock Absorption 

Finally, dunnage acts as a shock absorbent for packages. No matter the mode of shipment, air, ship, rail, or road, packages can undergo certain shocks or vibrations. 

Boxes sliding during transit or boxes getting crushed under heavy loads of other shipments are common examples of such shock or vibrations. Under these circumstances, fragile items are very likely to crack or break.

Delicate packaging material can also burst open, costing sellers a lot of money. Therefore, dunnage material such as cardboard inserts, wood boxes, and airbags is added to the package for protection.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Dunnage?

Benefits Of Using Dunnage

Shipping is an intricate process with many nuances to take care of. But, what makes most of the shipment process is how well your shipment is packed. 

We discussed the importance of dunnage and how it is a crucial packaging step in order to protect the shipments. Here are 4 crucial benefits of using dunnage for sellers:

1. Protection Of Goods

Goods protection is an unsaid benefit of using dunnage. Dunnage ensures your packaging is secure from any potential damage in the storage facility or in transit.

2. Return Reduction

When goods reach customers safely, it increases the brand's goodwill and ensures fewer order returns. 

3. Cost Saving

If shipments get damaged during transit, the seller has to bear the cost of goods, shipment charges, and replacement costs. Moreover, such incidents cost sellers their goodwill which is irreplaceable.

4. Less Labour Cost

When workers know the best practices around order packaging and using the correct dunnage, potential package damage risk is prevented. T his helps you save on labour costs as workers will not have to work on re-packaging orders.

9 Types Of Dunnage For Your Packaging Needs

Types Of Dunnage

There are various types of dunnage. Different product types require different forms of dunnage. You must have received packages with rolled newspapers, packing peanuts, or bubble wraps. 

Similarly, for heavy-weight items, moulded styrofoam or cardboard is used. Either way, the intent behind using dunnage is the same; protecting the shipments. Here are 9 types of dunnage for your packaging needs-

1. Solid Plastics

Solid plastics are often used in industrial packaging. These are generally more expensive than other forms of dunnage since they’re used for heavy-weight items. 

2. Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is one of the most popular forms of dunnage. Often used for fragile items, the air pockets in a bubble wrap ensure complete protection of the products within.

3. Air Pillows

Air pillows are a fresh concept in the dunnage industry. These are used to fill gaps inside corrugated boxes so the product within doesn’t slide around. 

4. Wood Chips

Wood Chips are an ideal form of dunnage for shipments that need moisture protection. This form of dunnage is perfect for when temperature changes are frequent, as it can absorb moisture and protect the product.

5. Kraft Paper

Kraft paper is another popular and cost-effective dunnage option. Made with paper by ripping, crumpling, or bunching it up, they are stuffed in packages to provide padding.

6. Foam

Foam as a dunnage is used for fragile items, especially electronics, medical equipment, glassware, etc. These come in different forms and sizes, like foam wraps, styrofoam balls, or moulded styrofoam.

7. Steel

Steel is not your usual dunnage material. It is one of the most expensive packaging materials and is only used for high-value shipments. 

8. Corrugated Paper

Corrugated paper is another popular choice for packaging. These are sturdy packaging materials that hold the product in its place. It also ensures the protection of packages against moisture.

9. Custom Dunnage Material

If your product doesn’t fit in the above category of dunnage, you can also customize your dunnage material. Suppliers can customize dunnage material based on your requirements.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Dunnage is an essential part of a secure shipping strategy. With the right dunnage materials, sellers can ensure the package reaches the final destination undamaged. 

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