When you are transporting products over long distances and using large cargo companies to handle the transaction, the safety of your products is primarily in your hands. Most companies deal only with pre-loader trailer units that are stacked directly onto large ships or packages that have been palletized for quick loading. They do not handle the individual product. Large cargo companies work quickly and efficiently to load and unload vessels, so they rarely have time to deal with individual packages.
Before you ship any item, whether it be across town or across the globe, it must be properly packaged and secured. The materials as well as the size and shape of the item will determine what type of packaging methods are needed to safely transport it to its destination. Extremely fragile items may require several different layers of protection to keep them from breaking or becoming damaged in any way. Many items have multiple layers of packaging before they are boxed for transport.
The type of loading techniques a company uses will also play a role in the safety of your product. While most large cargo companies use cranes and hoists to transfer products from the shore to the ship, others will use forklifts and handcarts when smaller loads are moved. Large loads that are moved with a crane have a reduced risk of damage because they are pre-loaded and self-contained. Those that are moved with a forklift or hand cart should be shrink wrapped to protect the boxes from shifting.
Knowing your item and using the appropriate materials to package it are the keys to keeping it safe during the transportation process. Most cargo companies have limited contact with the product once it is received and loaded, so the primary risk of loss is with you as you prepare it for shipment.