Have industrial lumber needs? Contact us for expert mobile sawmilling solutions.

The Role of Wood Dunnage in Shipping and Logistics

Posted on June 24, 2024.

Ensuring cargo stability is crucial in shipping and logistics. Imagine setting off on a trip with everything in your vehicle loosely packed; the drive would be a nightmare of restless jostling and potential breakage. The same principle applies to goods in transit. This is where wood dunnage steps in – a humble yet vital element that helps stabilize loads, filling gaps, and preventing movement. Whether you’re dealing with robust, rough-cut lumber or refined milled pieces, wood dunnage adapts to suit the specific requirements of your cargo. Blocking, another form, offers uniform support that keeps your load in place, safeguarding it against the unpredictable movements of transit. 


Dunnage boards are especially crucial when securing loads on pallets. Placed horizontally or vertically as needed, these boards provide heavy-duty support and act as barriers or spacers within shipping containers. This helps optimize the stability of the cargo, ensuring it remains intact throughout the journey. With a growing emphasis on sustainable practices, the utilization of heat-treated wood has gained traction, meeting international standards and reducing pest risks. The option to customize these boards means you can tailor-fit them to your unique shipping needs, enhancing both safety and efficiency. 


Using wood dunnage isn’t just about protecting your cargo; it’s a step toward a smoother workflow during loading and unloading. This upfront investment can lead to fewer damage claims and more streamlined operations, supporting both your bottom line and your reputation. Whether you’re sending goods across the state or shipping internationally, incorporating quality wood dunnage can be one of the most practical decisions to ensure safe passage for your valued cargo. 



Understanding Wood Dunnage 

To understand wood dunnage, think of it as the trusty sidekick in your shipping and logistics operations. Primarily, wood dunnage is timber used to secure cargo, filling gaps and preventing movement during transit. This essential material comes in various forms, including:  

  • Dunnage boards 
  • Blocks 
  • Wedges 
  • Planks 

The most common types include rough-cut lumber, which hasn’t been sanded or finished, giving it that rugged, sturdy feel, and milled lumber, which offers more refined edges and consistent sizing. Blocking is another popular format, providing uniform pieces to stabilize and protect the cargo from shifting. You'll find that wood dunnage is versatile enough to address different needs based on the nature and size of the loads. It not only prevents items from jostling around but also helps in weight distribution, ensuring that your shipments arrive intact and undamaged. Wood dunnage made from untreated lumber can often be reused or recycled, making it an environmentally friendly option in your shipping toolkit. 



The Sustainable Use of Scrap Wood Dunnage 

Now, let’s delve into the sustainable side of using wood dunnage, specifically scrap wood dunnage. Imagine converting what would otherwise be waste material into a practical solution for securing cargo. By repurposing scrap wood for dunnage, we're essentially giving new life to wood that might end up in landfills. This process reduces the need for virgin lumber, thereby conserving natural resources and lowering our overall environmental footprint. Despite being termed as 'scrap,' these pieces perform exceptionally well in safeguarding cargos during transit. Another significant eco-friendly aspect is the reduced energy consumption. Utilizing scrap wood removes several steps from the production line, meaning less carbon emissions. Whether it’s through reusing offcuts from larger projects or repurposing discarded pallets, scrap wood finds its place as reliable dunnage. 


Recycling wood into dunnage offers more than just environmental benefits; it yields economic advantages as well. Using recycled scrap wood dunnage can be cost-effective, enabling companies to save money on purchasing new materials without compromising load security. Your business can also benefit from the positive image associated with sustainable practices. Customers and partners increasingly value eco-conscious efforts, and utilizing scrap wood dunnage positions your operations as environmentally responsible. Additionally, wooden dunnage offers greater opportunities for further recycling or energy recovery compared to synthetic alternatives. This extended life cycle makes wood a smarter choice for long-term sustainability. By opting for scrap wood dunnage, you're not just securing your shipments; you're part of a larger movement toward sustainable and responsible business practices. This thoughtful approach helps in both protecting your goods and preserving the world we live in, ensuring future generations can continue to enjoy its resources. 



Cost of Dunnage Wood 

Several factors influence the pricing of wood dunnage, making it a bit of a complex subject. The type of wood used plays a significant role. Hardwoods like oak, which offer greater durability and strength, tend to be more expensive than softwoods such as pine. The cost can range from $0.25 to $1.00 per board foot, depending on the wood type and quality. Another key factor is the form in which the wood is provided. Rough-cut lumber, with its unfinished look and feel, is generally less expensive than milled lumber, which requires extra processing to achieve smooth edges and consistent sizing. Customized dimensions versus standard sizes also affect the cost due to increased labor and machinery use. Transport and logistics play a part; wood sourced locally tends to be cheaper compared to imported wood due to lower shipping costs and fewer regulatory fees. The condition of the wood, such as whether it is untreated or heat-treated for pest control, also adds to the cost. Heat-treated wood, essential for meeting international shipping regulations, can be priced around 15-20% higher than untreated versions. 


Comparing wood dunnage to other materials like plastic or metal, wood often emerges as a more cost-effective choice. Hard plastic dunnage, while reusable and lighter, tends to be significantly more expensive. Metal dunnage offers unparalleled strength but is bulky and highly expensive, often not justifiable for most shipping needs. Wood, especially when sourced sustainably, offers a practical balance between cost and functionality. The cost-effectiveness extends beyond the purchase price; wood dunnage can be reused multiple times if handled properly, adding to its long-term value. Furthermore, wood dunnage is usually more readily available than its plastic or metal counterparts, making it easier to replace or replenish as needed. It's also biodegradable, adding an environmental benefit that other materials lack. The cost of wood dunnage is not merely a monetary figure but a sound investment in both quality and sustainability for your shipping operations. 



Reach out  

When you choose wood dunnage, you're making a conscientious choice, blending practical efficiency with sustainability. Its affordability and eco-friendliness make it a standout option for securing your shipments. Let's not forget, the versatility of wood dunnage means it can be customized to meet your specific needs, ensuring that no cargo goes unsecured. 

Considering these advantages, enhancing your logistics with wood dunnage is not just a smart business move; it's a commitment to sustainability. Contact us today for a quote and discover how we can support your business with exceptional lumber solutions. Reach us at +1 (816) 244-5505 or email [email protected].

Get In Touch

We're here to help!

Please send us your inquiries, and we will provide the support you need.

Give us a call
Send us an email