How to ship
using crates

How to ship
using crates
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customer service icon

Questions about packaging large items? Contact customer service:

  • FedEx Freight Customer Service at 1.866.393.4585
  • FedEx Express Freight Customer Service at 1.800.332.0807


Shipping crate basics

A shipping crate is a heavy-duty wooden box that’s used for large shipments. Crates are often used for items that are big, bulky, and require extra protection from vibration, shock, and shifting during transport. They’re also used to ship items that need an extra level of security, because they’re usually harder to open than palletized loads.

crates

Benefits of crates

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  • Stackable for optimized shipping and storage space

Stackable for optimized shipping and storage space

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  • Often custom-built to fit what’s being shipped

Often custom-built to fit what’s being shipped

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  • Often reusable

Often reusable

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  • Strong and sturdy for maximum shipment protection and security

Strong and sturdy for maximum shipment protection and security

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Did you know? Wood crates are the most common type, but they can also be made of plastic or metal.

Common freight items by weight

Here are some examples of freight items that are commonly shipped in crates.

 

lawnmower
  • 0–500 lbs. Car transmissions, lawn equipment

0–500 lbs.

Car transmissions, lawn equipment

stove and oven combo
  • 500–800 lbs. Commercial cooking equipment, appliances

500–800 lbs.

Commercial cooking equipment, appliances

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  • 800–1,000 lbs. Construction material, travertine tile

800–1,000 lbs.

Construction material, travertine tile

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Need more help deciding on the right crate? 

FedEx doesn’t sell plastic, metal, or wood crates, but our customer service team can give you guidance when you’re trying to decide which type is right for you.

  • For FedEx Freight® (less-than-truckload [LTL] shipments), call 1.866.393.4585.
  • For FedEx Express® Freight (air shipments), call 1.800.332.0807.

How to construct a crate for a large shipment

A well-built, quality crate can protect high-value and fragile items like furniture, automotive parts, motorcycles, or other big or bulky products during transit. Here are some good general guidelines for constructing wooden shipping crates.

plywood

Use quality lumber. Avoid oriented strand board (OSB), medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and particleboard.

crate

Choose wood with as few knots as possible, and don’t anchor fasteners into knots or other defective areas in the plywood.

crate

Use diagonal braces on each panel
to increase the crate’s strength and integrity.

Building crate corners and diagonal braces

Building a crate with diagonal braces can dramatically improve the strength of your crate. Keep in mind that the way the wood is configured is more important than how much wood is used.

To build wood crates that are as strong as possible, use three-way corner construction. Drive nails into the side grain to create strong, rigid corners and increase nail-holding strength.

Recommended

Proper three-way corner construction with nails driven into side grain

corners

Not recommended

Inadequate three-way corner construction with nails driven into end grain

bad corners

Choosing the right fasteners

It’s crucial to use fasteners that are rated for the weight of your entire load (including the item and the crate). Using appropriate fasteners helps the wood resist splitting and fracturing when the structure is being assembled. Wood screws are the best option, followed by annularly threaded nails, helically threaded nails, and rectangular wire staples.

screws

Crates vs. freight boxes vs. pallets

The right shipping methods and materials vary based on what you’re shipping and where it’s going. While crates described above may be the right choice, you might need other materials like freight boxes or pallets.

Freight box

A freight box, also called a bulk bin, is a container made of cardboard, wood, plastic, or metal that’s usually attached to a pallet. Get information about using freight boxes for shipments.

freight box

Pallet

A pallet is a platform for stacking items, cartons, or boxes and banding them into a unitized load for increased security and stability. Get information about using pallets for shipments.

pallets

More freight shipping resources

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track packing icon

Explore our guidelines to learn about more freight packing methods.

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open book icon

Read general information and get tips for shipping freight with FedEx.

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freight boxes icon

Get started shipping freight with step-by-step instructions.

Answers to your questions about crate shipping

Prices vary depending on their size, what they’re made of, whether they’re custom built, and the quality of the construction. If you need help choosing one that’s right for your product, company, and transit scenario, contact our customer support team.

  • For FedEx Freight (less-than-truckload [LTL] shipments), call 1.866.393.4585.
  • For FedEx Express Freight (air shipments), call 1.800.332.0807.

FedEx doesn’t sell crates, but we can help guide you when you’re deciding which style is right for you. We also offer freight boxes in two sizes and configurations. One includes an incorporated pallet. Find out more about the FedEx Freight box or contact customer support for details.

The answer depends on what you’re sending, where it’s originating, where it’s going, how much it weighs, and so much more. Visit our freight calculator for tools to help you calculate your rates.

Drain the item of all fluids and securely mount it to the deck of a pallet. Internally block and brace the engine and use sturdy, expendable crate packaging (corrugated cardboard or wood) around the engine. Add stretch wrap and banding for additional protection and containment.

How much does a typical crate cost?

Prices vary depending on their size, what they’re made of, whether they’re custom built, and the quality of the construction. If you need help choosing one that’s right for your product, company, and transit scenario, contact our customer support team.

  • For FedEx Freight (less-than-truckload [LTL] shipments), call 1.866.393.4585.
  • For FedEx Express Freight (air shipments), call 1.800.332.0807.

How can I find or buy shipping crates? Does FedEx sell traditional crates?

FedEx doesn’t sell crates, but we can help guide you when you’re deciding which style is right for you. We also offer freight boxes in two sizes and configurations. One includes an incorporated pallet. Find out more about the FedEx Freight box or contact customer support for details.

 

How much does shipping a crate of freight cost?

The answer depends on what you’re sending, where it’s originating, where it’s going, how much it weighs, and so much more. Visit our freight calculator for tools to help you calculate your rates.

 

How do I crate an engine for shipping?

Drain the item of all fluids and securely mount it to the deck of a pallet. Internally block and brace the engine and use sturdy, expendable crate packaging (corrugated cardboard or wood) around the engine. Add stretch wrap and banding for additional protection and containment.