Shipping Part III - Full Containers and Other Fun Stuff

Paul's picture

In previous posts, we have discussed parcel shipping and LTL freight. In this post, I am going to cover Full Load shipping, the other type of freight typically encountered by game publishers.

As the name implies, full load shipping means that you are moving enough freight that you no longer need to share transportation with other items. Most publishers will only be able to ship at this volume when transporting entire print runs from the manufacturing facility, or for large orders of particularly popular games. However, Full Load shipping is significantly cheaper per unit weight than LTL, and is also less likely to result in damaged games, as the product is not moved around by the shipping company between its origin and its destination. A full load shipment will be picked up at your facility by a truck, which will then be driven directly to its destination. An LTL shipment, by contrast, will be picked up at your facility, transported with other items originating in your area to a central hub, loaded onto a new truck with other items heading to the same destination city, reloaded again at a hub in that city with other products for the same local delivery area, and finally taken to its destination.

There are several different modes available for full-load shipping. Trucks, as described above, are the most common option domestically within the US, and are an excellent option for domestic delivery if you have a volume of around 18-20 pallets. Other common modes are rail and ocean freight. Ocean freight requires, and trains often use, cargo containers to move freight. A cargo container is a large steel box of standardized dimensions, most commonly 40’ long, though half containers 20’ in length and extra tall containers are also available. Cargo containers are cheap and convenient for long distance shipping since they can be easily transported by ship, rail, or even truck. They are also tessellate well with other containers, making them easy to manage at docks and rail yards.

As a game publisher, it is much more common to receive containerized freight than to send it, as overseas manufacturers will typically ship product via ocean freight. A few tips to remember when arranging for delivery via container:

1) Standard, 40’ containers are by far the cheapest by volume - half containers (20’) are typically 2/3rds to 3/4ths the price to transport. If you have print runs smaller than a full container, look into combining print runs of multiple products, or sharing container space with another publisher that uses that same manufacturer.

2) Product in international shipping containers is typically floor stacked, not pallet stacked. This is a much cheaper option, as you can fit more product in the container, and do not have to comply with import regulations on pallets. However, it also means that unloading a container can be incredibly time consuming.

3) You will need a bolt cutter to open a container. Unlike a truck, which is typically secured by a lock, a container is typically bolted shut. When delivering a container via truck, the driver *should* have a bolt cutter. However, in our experience, they will often be without one. We recommend having one available that can handle very large bolts.

4) If you have the ability to handle pallets, unload the container directly on to pallets. This will save an enormous amount of time after the container has been unloaded.

That concludes my three part shipping overview. In the future, all of you shipping fans will hopefully be treated to some guest posts from Jodie, our warehouse manager, who will go into more detail on the best ways to safely and efficiently pack boxes and pallets and manage other aspects of your shipping facility.

Part I - Parcel Shipping

Part II - LTL Freight Shipping


phantaskippy's picture

As a former dock manager for a hospital and a greeting card company, I say bring on the safety and efficiency.

From the pictures we've seen of the warehouse you are fortunate, that is a really nice situation you have going.

Also that pallet of chompers makes a lot more sense if it was a container shipment, I looked at that pallet and thought, man if someone unloaded that off a truck coming to my dock people would hear about it.  I thought it must have fallen over and been restocked, but the boxes didn't look the part.

Man, you've got me reminiscing about the old days now.

I am comfortable living in my shipping container shelter. I designed it according to my personality.

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