How to Ship Large Trunks and Chests
During a recent conference a company had to ship some computer equipment which was built into a kiosk with a larger display. It is used for demonstration purposes where users can play with it at the conference booth in the expo and get hands-on product experience. This is a good example of an item which is bulky, fragile, awkward to carry and plain oversized. The kiosk gets disassembled and then the various pieces are individually wrapped and secured into shipping boxes. Once all items are ready to travel, they are placed inside a shipping container which is custom built for this unusual computer kiosk and has all needed internal compartments to allow for safer transportation. The size of the shipping chest is roughly about eight feet long and about four feet in the other two dimensions.
While a shipping trunk with the above dimensions will easily fit in a pickup truck or a delivery vehicle of almost any style, it is past the limits of commercial shipping carriers. In other words, calling UPS for a pickup would not work here and other arrangements have to be made via a freight company. This raises two issues – price and time to travel. Since this is going to an industry expo, delivering past the scheduled date would be counterproductive and hardly deliver the needed public feedback. When shipping past national borders, it becomes even more complex due to customs declarations and shipping manifests etc. Shipping transcontinental would add an additional shipping cost and time to travel. Freight companies are the ones who handle such unusual shipments and have established workflows of how items travel across states and national borders.
A word of caution is needed – most similar shipping containers are made of wood or plastic. This material is very sturdy and designed to handle heavier products however it does little in terms of cushioning and protection of the items inside. Unlike the corrugated flutes inside walls of cardboard boxes, wood and plastic polymers will only take care of safety and impact from the outside – no internal suspension is provided or implied. Custom foam insulation, polystyrene shipping peanuts and industrial rated bubble wrap would help minimize the effects of the cargo while en route. Clear shipping labels and easy-to-use locking mechanisms must make it evident for customs employees what is inside the box. They have the right to look into all shipping boxes so placing a fancy lock would only make it harder for them and could cause unintended product damages for which they will not be held responsible.