Four industry experts discuss load securement dos and don’ts and their latest innovations.

When it comes to smooth cargo hauling, Tim Sanders, sales specialist, US Cargo Control, says there’s no such thing as overdoing it.

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Photo Credit: Cargo Lift USA

“Plan ahead, make sure you have enough equipment to get the job done right and inspect it frequently,” he said. “A load that is well secured with good equipment will keep everyone safe and eliminate a lot of headaches during a roadside inspection.”

In our Specialized Transport Forum, ACT picked the brains of four industry leaders on all things load securement, and cargo tie downs. This forum features responses from Michael J. Gelskey, Sr., CEO and owner, Lift-It Manufacturing; Jaime Serdan, managing director, Cargo Lift USA; Mark Grote, director of marketing, Durabilt by Durbin; and Tim Sanders, sales specialist, US Cargo Control. Keep reading to check out the latest market offerings and securement tips from these pros.

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From left to right: Michael J. Gelskey, Sr., CEO and owner, Lift-It Manufacturing; Jaime Serdan, managing director, Cargo Lift USA; Mark Grote, director of marketing, Durabilt by Durbin; and Tim Sanders, sales specialist, US Cargo Control

What are the most important dos and don’ts in load securement on trailers?

GELSKEY: Some of the most important dos for surface transportation would be the protection of tie downs (load securement) devices from damaging edges and/or abrasive surfaces. As a commuter on the highways of America, unfortunately this is sadly lacking. Cargo movement, combined with tension and vibratory forces, may damage tie downs resulting in tie down failure. Another serious shortfall I observe regularly is the use of synthetic tie downs that are clearly cut, abraded and/or ultraviolet damaged.

SERDAN: Always inspect the products before using them to prevent damage, protect the public, protect yourselves and comply with DOT regulations. Always use certified products and know the weight of the product that you are going to lift or lash in order to use the correct product for each application. And remember to request training of the products that are going to be used. Never use products that are damaged or that don’t meet the capacity of the load you are securing.

GROTE: All users must be trained in tie down selection, use and inspection and personnel and environmental effects. Be sure to inspect and protect tie downs for damage before each use to prevent shifting against loss of load. Do not exceed the work load limit, do not use if a tie down is damaged in any way or if it has been repaired, don’t use a handle extension and do not use for lifting.

SANDERS: One of the most important considerations when securing a load is to make sure you have the appropriate type and amount of securement equipment. It’s critical that the number of straps and chains being used have enough aggregate working load limit to secure the cargo being hauled and that you have the appropriate number of tie downs for the length of the load. It’s also important to know the difference between “direct” and “indirect” tie downs and how that can affect the number of tie downs needed.

For example, if a “direct” tie down method is being used to secure a piece of equipment, the effective working load limit of each tie down is cut in half and you will need to use more tie downs. Avoid dragging load securement on the ground. This can cause premature wear and reduce the lifespan significantly. It’s common for cargo to shift and tie downs to loosen in transit. Once you’re on the road, make sure to check your tie downs frequently to make sure they are tight and secure.

What are some of your company’s latest tie down product innovations?

GELSKEY: The most profound development for surface and ocean transportation load securement would be the introduction of Green Pin Tycan Synthetic Lashing Gear made from DSM Dyneema DM20.

SERDAN: The Green Pin Tycan Lashing Chain. It’s an innovative chain made from Dyneema, a super soft and at the same time super strong fiber. It is eight times lighter than steel, super soft to the touch, extremely strong, reduces the risk for injury on workers, minimizes damage to vulnerable cargo and is the next generation of lashing equipment. The Quick Loader is a new generation tensioner with a band for handling. It improves the grip of the load on trucks with an automatic winding system of the band.

GROTE: Durabilt’s newest product innovation is the Lash-2-E-E, ratcheting, lashing binder. This superior quality design with 1-3/8-inch screw diameters and contoured eyebolts, caters to superload tie downs with the most beneficial means achievable. This binder’s exceptional quality is equipped with a working load limit of 28,000 pounds. The contoured eyes now allow for G-100 connecting links and a variety of other G-100 style end fittings to be easily coupled to the eye bolts.

SANDERS: Padded windshield covers. This is an 8 by 8-foot tarp with a 4 by 4-foot foot pad sewn into it with grommets and D-rings. It can be used to protect windshields when hauling machinery and can also be used in a variety of other applications where extra protection is needed. Traditionally, Grade 70 has been the primary grade for transport chain but lately we have been seeing more interest in higher grades of alloy chain, especially in heavy haul applications. US Cargo Control offers transport chains and binders in Grade 70, as well as grades 80, 100 and 120. The advantage to the higher grades is the ability to achieve higher working load limits with lighter chains.

What is the most unique load securement project that you have helped facilitate?

GELSKEY: The most interesting load securement project we have participated in was the fabrication of a load securement system for the U.S. Department of Energy that was used to restrain a vessel containing sensitive materials inside a truck trailer during an impact test. The trailer with the vessel was deliberately placed on railroad tracks and a locomotive was run into the trailer to validate that the vessel would remain intact after sustaining the impact force of the direct hit.

SERDAN: I would say one unique item Cargo Lift has helped move were wind turbine blades. Cargo Lift was selected to help install wind turbines in the biggest Eolic Park in Northern Mexico (Parque Eolico Ventika) and one of the biggest in Latin America. The blades were 177 feet long, weighed 16 tons each and were installed in 84 generators along the park. It was a complex and massive job and Cargo Lift was the only company certified to provide the lifting products for the job.

GROTE: Durabilt by Durbin supplied the binders to the company that transported the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its last mission – a 12-mile crawl through Los Angeles on a 160-wheeled carrier. Its final destination was the California Science Center in South Los Angeles. The move cost an estimated $10 million according to the Exposition Park Museum.

SANDERS: In addition to the common load securement equipment, one of our specialties is making custom items for unique applications. One project we recently did was a custom-made 60 by 80-foot cargo net that was used to secure large plastic storage tanks in a high-wind area of the desert. This net was unique due to the size, but it offered an extra level of safety and durability compared to other options that were considered.