Cargo control refers to the handling and management of cargo as it moves from one place to another. Generally, there are many types of equipment to control cargo. Depending on the nature of the cargo itself and mode of transportation, cargo control equipment may differ in form, the material used, or even the strategy used. For example, the equipment used to fasten a car to a freight truck is different from the equipment used to secure livestock going through the same terrain and distance.
The simplest form of cargo control is to close and lock the trailer door. This process is not as simple since internal securement is still required to prevent the goods from hitting the sides of the trailer or even from spilling out into the road. The responsibility of cargo control and securement rests on the transport company. The person in charge is normally the driver, who has to move with the cargo until it gets to its destination.
Factors To Consider When Getting Cargo Control Equipment
A freight company will determine the right cargo control equipment to secure any cargo entrusted with on behalf of clients. The main factor to consider when selecting cargo control equipment is the type of freight services that the shipment will use. Cargo transportation via air requires vastly different control equipment as compared to transportation via rail. The difference is in the configurations of the transport mechanism. The other factor to consider is the nature of the goods for transportation.
Of course, there are industry standards when transporting various goods. General rules dictate the number of straps or weights to use based on the weight of the cargo. Heavier cargo requires more tie-downs and harnessing than lighter cargo, irrespective of the value. Transporting sharp steel loads may not work well when using webbing tie-downs. Various industries have dictated the exact equipment and mode of harnessing goods to limit legal actions against the transporter.
Commonly Used Cargo Control Equipment.
Irrespective of the mode of transportation, some harnessing equipment is common across the board. These are:
Chains are used to secure heavy machinery that would otherwise be too heavy to be restrained by other forms of harnesses. Chains are also ideal for fastening sharp and abrasive loads that would otherwise cut most other types of fasteners. However, before choosing chains as a preferred mode of securing goods, it is important to note that chains can get quite heavy, which would affect the types of goods requiring chains to fasten them.
Ratchet and Winch straps
These are the most common control equipment for flatbed trailers. Unlike chains, winch straps and ratchets are lighter and are highly preferred in fastening pipes, timber, and other building materials. The combination of ratchets and winch straps allows for easy adjusting means that cargo can be offloaded and the same control equipment adjusted to accommodate the change in load. They also provide indirect securement since they push the load downwards, creating friction with the flat surface of the flatbed trailer, thereby preventing the cargo from unnecessary movement.
A strap tightener comes in handy for a driver operating the flatbed trailer since they would need to constantly check on the state of the load to ensure it is still tightened. The tightener allows the driver to consistently tighten the straps in case they come to lose in transportation.
Winchlines and steel cables.
Steel cables and winchlines are ideal in fastening highly movable objects to a flatbed trailer. The thin arrangement of the strands may make it difficult to harness some materials, which may end up being cut by the high tensile force acting upon it from the small surface area in the cables. Steel cables are slightly heavier than winchlines and are ideal for harnessing heavy machinery. Some brands of winchlines are stronger than steel cables despite being lighter.
E-tracks are designed to make it easier to tie down cargo. It is mainly used in situations where the cargo is not full, and the item/goods may move in any direction. The e-track consists of several slots on mounted steel rails onto which the goods are fastened. E-tracks commonly work with ratchet straps and load bars, and this combination is ideal because it allows for ease of installation and versatility. Transporting vehicles is easier when using e-tracks because you can allow for certain lateral movements on a particular plane and still completely prevent any other movements, thereby making it easier to adjust the placement of goods within the trailer.
E-tracks use either vertical or horizontal e-track rails. For added versatility, you can use both, depending on the nature of the material transported. Horizontal rails prevent lateral movements, whereas vertical rails prevent vertical movements. In most cases, e-track accessories such as D-rings and O-rings come in handy to ensure more versatility in how you choose to harness your goods.
Overall, cargo control equipment is diverse, whether they are for fastening or lifting. The most important thing to consider is whether the movement is partially or completely restricted. In lifting equipment, vertical movement is allowed, with minor horizontal movements to allow for placing. The focus during lifting is on the strength of the attachment to the straps and on the lifting mechanism. In all these options, however, the tensile strength of the lifting or harnessing material is of utmost importance.
The emphasis on using the best cargo control equipment is based on the fact that any small error might lead to death, serious injury, or devastating losses. An average trailer transports over 40,000 kilograms of goods, and this weight alone can crush anything if going at a significant speed. This damage would be immeasurable, and the task of fastening and harnessing has to rest on someone or a company that understands the importance of ensuring only the best fasteners, slings, and harnesses are used. Even the most properly secured cargo can loosen over long distances, and therefore, the driver has to be well equipped with the right tools and equipment to adjust the harnesses to accommodate any changes in the course of transportation.