Knowledge Centre

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The proper stowage, securing and handling of out of gauge (OOG) cargoes can present many challenges and issues. Honest Shipping has vast experience in shipping these cargoes and offers the following guidelines to its customers:



Upon receipt of a Flat Rack, also known as a Flat, you should check the condition and ensure that it is fit for your requirements. If the flat is damaged in any way, do not attempt to repair, and request to have it replaced with a sound container. It is important to note that the height of the end walls differs between a 40 ft. flat rack (1.943 meters/76.1 inches) and a 20 ft. flat rack (2.231 meters / 91.4 inches). Therefore, cargo that may not be over height for a 20 ft. flat rack, May well be over height for a 40 ft. flat rack.


Proper determination and identification of the center of gravity for the cargo is of great importance. If the center of gravity of the cargo is not determined and taken into consideration before stuffing, the cargo may be susceptible to shifting off the flat during transit. This results in cargo damage and possible personal injuries. The weight of the cargo should be centered on the flat rack. When shipping wooden crates, it is always preferable to mark the center of gravity on the exterior of the crate for handling and securing reference purposes.


The weight of the cargo must be properly distributed over the length of the flat rack. It is preferable that the weight be spread in such a manner that the load does not exceed 2,500 pounds per liner foot (inside dimensions) of the flat rack. Dunnage and wooden blocks must be made of hardwood and be free of defects and insects. Short pieces of wood and wooden pallets should not be utilized as dunnage.


Lashing of the cargo must be carried out in accordance with

Lashing materials (wires, chains, rods, tensioners, turnbuckles, etc.) must be approved and of suitable size and capacity, taking into consideration the weight of cargo to be secured. As a general rule of thumb, the combined breaking strength of the lashings to be used must be at least 1.8 times the weight of cargo to be secured.

Suitable “chafing gear” and/or “softeners” is to be fitted on the lashings in any areas where the lashings make contact with the cargo, other lashings, or the structure of the flat rack itself, in order to prevent excessive wear and subsequent failure of the lashings.

All flat racks are fitted with specially designed lashing points and “eye rings”. Lashings are not to be secured to any other point on the flat rack other than those points designated for this purpose.


When preparing the stowage and securing plan for wheeled cargo, the wheelbase dimensions of the cargo must be considered in order to determine whether or not the cargo will be out of gauge. Wheeled cargo must be secured with proper lashings. However, the wheels should be secured further with wooden blocks. The wooden blocks used for this purpose must be as wide as they are high.


The stowage and securing of the cargo on a flat rack should be supervised by a competent cargo surveyor. Honest Shipping requires that all Shippers using flat rack for their cargo provide a lashing certificate, issued by a competent cargo surveyor prior to acceptance and loading of the cargo. If the Shipper does not provide the lashing certificate, Honest Shipping will nominate an independent surveyor to confirm safe loading, lashing, and protection of the cargo against the normal risks of ocean transportation. The costs for such surveyor are added to the account of the Customer.


If the cargo is over height, over length, and/or over width, the protruding dimensions should marked in red or yellow paint in order to clearly identify these areas and to help prevent possible handling damage.


Depending upon the type, size, and nature of the cargo, Honest Shipping may require loading and on deck stowage.


Due to the size of the cargo, certain shipments may require "on deck" stowage. In such cases, an “on deck” stowage remark must be endorsed on the Bill of Lading.

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