What Is Dunnage?

Are you curious to know what is dunnage? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about dunnage in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is dunnage?

In the logistics and shipping industry, efficiency, safety, and organization are paramount. One often-overlooked but crucial component that plays a vital role in achieving these goals is “dunnage.” Dunnage refers to materials used to secure and protect cargo during transport and storage. This blog post will delve into what dunnage is, its various forms, and why it’s an unsung hero in the world of shipping and logistics.

What Is Dunnage?

Dunnage is a general term that encompasses various materials and objects strategically placed in containers, packaging, or storage areas to stabilize, protect, or support cargo. The primary purpose of dunnage is to prevent damage, shifting, or moisture-related issues during transit or storage. It acts as a buffer between the cargo and the often harsh conditions of shipping and storage environments.

Common Types Of Dunnage:

  1. Wooden Dunnage: Wooden pieces, such as blocks, beams, or boards, are commonly used as dunnage. They can be positioned under or around cargo to provide support, separation, or cushioning. Wooden dunnage is especially effective in preventing moisture and shock damage.
  2. Plastic Dunnage: Plastic materials, including pallets, trays, or dividers, are lightweight and resistant to moisture and pests. They are often used to stack and separate goods in storage or to create a stable base for shipping.
  3. Metal Dunnage: Metal dunnage, like steel or aluminum bars and racks, is sturdy and durable. It is ideal for heavy cargo or for securing goods that require a high level of protection during transit.
  4. Foam Dunnage: Foam materials, such as polyethylene or polyurethane, are used to cushion delicate or sensitive items, including electronics and glass. Foam dunnage customizes to the shape of the cargo, providing shock absorption and protection from scratches.

Why Dunnage Matters?

  1. Cargo Protection: Dunnage plays a crucial role in safeguarding cargo from damage during transportation. By preventing shifting or impacts, it minimizes the risk of product breakage, deformation, or spoilage.
  2. Safety: Properly secured cargo is essential for the safety of both transport personnel and the general public. Dunnage ensures that items remain in place and do not pose a hazard in transit.
  3. Optimized Storage: In storage facilities and warehouses, dunnage helps maximize space utilization. Pallets and racks, for example, allow goods to be stacked safely and efficiently.
  4. Moisture Control: Wooden dunnage absorbs moisture and helps maintain a dry environment within shipping containers. This is crucial for protecting goods that are sensitive to humidity or moisture damage.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: In some industries, the use of dunnage may be required to comply with safety and quality standards, as well as transportation regulations.
  6. Efficiency: Properly applied dunnage reduces the time and effort required for loading and unloading cargo. It facilitates the handling of goods, saving both time and labor costs.


While dunnage may not be the star of the show in the world of logistics and shipping, its significance cannot be overstated. It plays a crucial role in safeguarding cargo, optimizing storage, and ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods from one point to another. As an unsung hero in the industry, dunnage quietly contributes to the success and reliability of the global supply chain, highlighting the importance of even the smallest components in the grand scheme of logistics and transportation.

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What Is The Purpose Of Dunnage?

Dunnage is the durable padding material used to protect goods during shipping. Dunnage can be anything from bubble wrap and packing peanuts, to industrial solid plastics that provide cushioning so items stay put. Of course, dunnage will do its job best when accompanied by the appropriate box or poly bag.

Are Pallets Considered Dunnage?

Freight. In freight transit, materials usually load on pallets (yes, a pallet is a type dunnage). Pallets help stabilize groups of carton boxes so they remain stationary. They also simplify the drayage of materials by forklift.

What Is A Dunnage In Construction?

In construction, dunnage is often scrap wood or disposable manufactured material whose purpose is to be placed on the ground to raise construction materials to allow access for forklifts and slings for hoisting, and to protect them from the elements.

What Does Dunnage Mean In Warehouse?

Dunnage refers to the packaging placed around products during storage, handling, and shipping processes. Dunnage works by providing the necessary support for shipments when they are jostled on a truck. The packaging may also provide moisture control, prevent contamination, and absorb shocks caused by collisions.

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