Dunnage is the term used for materials placed around cargo to prevent damage during transportation. It serves to cushion products, brace cargo, and fill voids in shipping containers or other transport vehicles to keep items stable and secure.

Detailed Explanation

The use of dunnage is a critical practice in logistics to protect goods from moisture, contamination, and physical damage due to movement or vibrations.

It is especially important in intermodal transport where goods are moved between different forms of transportation, such as from a ship to a truck or a train.

Dunnage can be made from various materials, including wood, foam, inflatable bags, rubber, paper, and plastic. The choice of dunnage often depends on the type of cargo being transported, the mode of transportation, and the specific requirements for stability and protection.

Proper dunnage use not only safeguards the product but also helps in maximizing container space and minimizing shipping costs by allowing for more efficient packing.


In the shipping of electronics, foam dunnage is often used to prevent movement and absorb shock, protecting delicate components from damage.

When transporting heavy machinery, wooden blocks and braces act as dunnage to keep the machinery from shifting and to distribute its weight evenly.

In bulk shipping of grains or powders, inflatable dunnage bags are placed in the empty spaces of the container to prevent the cargo from shifting during sea transport.

Related Terms and Concepts:

Bracing, Void Fillers, Cargo Securement, Packaging, Intermodal Transportation

Frequently asked questions about Dunnage

What are the most common types of dunnage used in shipping? Common types include airbags, foam padding, wooden blocks, plastic wrapping, and rubber mats.

How does dunnage contribute to sustainable shipping practices? Sustainable dunnage made from recycled materials or biodegradable substances can help reduce waste and environmental impact.

Is dunnage necessary for all types of cargo? While not all cargo requires dunnage, it is essential for fragile, heavy, or high-value items that are susceptible to damage during transport.

Who is responsible for providing dunnage? The responsibility for providing dunnage can fall on the shipper, the carrier, or a third-party logistics provider, depending on the terms of the shipping contract.

Can dunnage be reused? Some types of dunnage, such as wooden bracing or rubber mats, can be reused if they are not damaged and are properly cleaned and stored.

How is dunnage disposed of after use? Disposal methods vary based on the material, with some requiring recycling, while others may be disposed of as general waste.

What regulations govern the use of dunnage? Regulations may vary by region and mode of transport, but generally, dunnage must meet safety standards that ensure it does not introduce pests or contaminants and is safe for use.


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