What Is Dunnage and Why Is It Important?


Dunnage is essential for protecting products during shipping, yet many people aren’t familiar with the term. Simply put, dunnage refers to the materials used to cushion and secure items in transit. Whether it’s packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or inflatable bags, dunnage helps ensure your products arrive safely. In the world of eCommerce fulfillment, using the right dunnage can make a significant difference in preventing damage. In this article, we’ll explore what dunnage is, why it’s important, and the different types you can use to keep your shipments safe.

What is Dunnage?

Dunnage refers to the materials used to protect products and packages during transit. It serves to cushion and secure items to prevent damage. Dunnage can be made from a variety of materials, each suited to different needs, including:

  • Plastic inserts: Used inside a product’s packaging.
  • Packing materials: Such as crinkle paper, bubble wrap, and corrugated paper.
  • Inflatable dunnage bags: Used to secure cargo.

Whether your purchase arrives via an Amazon box, cargo ship, shipping container or rail car, dunnage plays a role in ensuring it reaches you intact. Proper dunnage can lead to significant savings by preventing product loss during shipping.

What is Dunnage in Trucking?

In the trucking industry, dunnage refers to materials used to protect and support cargo during transport by a semi-truck. This includes wood, plastic, foam, or paper materials. For example, high-tech construction equipment or large liquid containers require dunnage to prevent damage from shifting loads.

Dunnage in Other Industries

Dunnage is not limited to logistics and trucking. It is used in various settings, including:

  • Restaurants: Metal dunnage racks for storage and transport of food items.
  • Dry docks: Materials used to stabilize boats during repairs.
  • Construction: Temporary supports for structures like bridges or overpasses.

Benefits of Dunnage in Fulfillment

Dunnage provides several significant benefits in fulfillment processes:

  • Damage Protection: Dunnage protects goods during transit, loading, and stacking by absorbing shocks and impacts. It also shields products from environmental factors like moisture and heat.
  • Protecting Your Profits: By minimizing breakage and damage, dunnage helps retain more revenue from sales. It reduces the need for refunds and replacements, leading to a positive return on investment.
  • Reducing Labor Costs: Proper dunnage speeds up the packing process, allowing more orders to be processed efficiently. This helps reduce labor costs and improves overall productivity.

Common Types of Dunnage

There are various types of dunnage, each suited to different applications:

  • Kraft Paper: Flexible and recyclable, kraft paper is ideal for medium protection.
  • Air Pillows: Lightweight and cushioning, air pillows are popular in eCommerce.
  • Bubble Wrap: Reusable and perfect for delicate items.
  • Foam Wrap: Thin and light, ideal for fragile products.
  • Crinkle Paper: Eco-friendly, repurposed cardboard used for fragile items.
  • Box Inserts: Rigid or molded to protect heavy or sharp products.
  • Packing Peanuts: Made from eco-friendly materials like cornstarch.
  • Dunnage Bags: Inflatable bags used to secure cargo during shipping.

Finding the Right Dunnage Solutions for Your Needs

Working with a reliable third-party logistics provider like 3PL Center can simplify the process of sourcing the right dunnage for your needs. At 3PL Center, we offer our customers a wide range of dunnage materials and work with each client to determine the optimal packing solutions for their products. We can provide custom-sized inserts, specially designed padded mailers, sustainable tape options, and branded packaging solutions to ensure your goods are well-protected and professionally presented.

Our advanced warehouse management system (WMS) features tracking capabilities that allow you to monitor your shipments in real time, ensuring complete visibility and transparency. By partnering with 3PL Center, you can ensure that your products are protected during transit, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

How 3PL Center Can Help

At 3PL Center, we understand the importance of protecting your products during transit. Our expert team can help you choose the right dunnage to meet your specific needs, ensuring that your goods arrive safely and in excellent condition. Our WMS includes advanced tracking and reporting tools, as well as box optimization features to help pick the right size package for your goods, giving you complete visibility into your shipments and helping you manage inventory more efficiently.

We specialize in providing tailored solutions for shipping fragile items, ensuring that even the most delicate products arrive in perfect condition. In addition to our comprehensive dunnage solutions, we offer exclusive discounted carrier rates, strategically located warehouses across the country, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. Let us help you streamline your logistics and improve your fulfillment processes.

Talk to 3PL Center about your dunnage, eCommerce packaging, and shipping needs today!


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