The Ultimate Light Weight Crate For The Now Generation

Feb 22, 2024 | Sustainability, Value

The now generation and the care for our planet is on us. If we don’t figure it out, no one will. The challenges of the world supply chain and the consequences make our choices more impactful than ever—even small decisions, like whether to use a light weight crate. Over the past 20+ years, we’ve been met with consistently higher costs year over year. History proves that a new challenge comes along every couple of years. Right now, it’s the disruptions to the supply chain in the Red Sea, resulting from the Israel-Gaza conflict. What do you think the next one will be?

The demand for a lighter weight crate for shipping high value products has nearly reached a fever pitch. What creates this demand?

It’s simple. Heavy crates cost more to ship and shipping costs continue to escalate. Heavy crates also cost more to handle & wages are increasing. For larger companies, profits are, or will be, negatively impacted by their carbon footprint as new guidelines to combat global climate change roll out.

This means that shipping in a lightweight crate is ideal for recapturing lost profits. Read on to learn what the wood shipping crate industry is doing to “lighten the load” and why Ecorrcrate is the better solution.

What do you compromise by going to a lighter weight wood shipping crate? That depends on the changes you expect to make to your current wood crate.

Making a light weight crate from wood

Reduction in materials

In the search for the ultimate lighter weight crate, the first approach is for companies to request thinner and less materials; exchanging ¾” plywood for ½” plywood, thicker OSB sheets for thinner OSB (Oriented Strand Board) sheets, 2 x 4’s instead of 4 x 4’s, using less side support lumber, etc. Yes, this lowers the weight but the compromise is a rapid drop in performance.

Plywood vs OSB

The other approach is to switch out wood materials to lower the crate weight. For instance, plywood is lighter weight than OSB, and is known to perform better when compared to the same thickness. The compromise is that plywood is more expensive than OSB so your crate price will increase.

Some companies are attempting to offset this added cost by combining approach one and two, going to a thinner plywood, given that plywood is stronger than OSB. In this case, a decrease in the weight of a wood crate may maintain performance but the thinner material could increase product damage risk, making it a less than effective solution.

Will either of these changes significantly impact the weight of your wood crate? Probably not. The crate is still a wood / lumber product which is a naturally heavyweight product. It is unlikely you will have the luxury of lowering the weight of your wood crate by more than 5-15%.

The compromise of going to a lighter weight crate within the wood crate category is increased product damage risk and the higher cost of lighter weight wood.

The impact of light weight crates

How does weight impact ground or Sea freight in general?

  • Every freight classification rate contains some “fixed cost” portion with additional cost factors for weight and dimension. This is particularly important for LTL shipments and full container shipments. If the dimension stays the same, a 5-15% weight reduction will not significantly impact the freight cost.

What is the impact on air freight?

  • According to, “As of early to mid 2023, rates have dropped to around $6.50-$14.00 per pound”. So, just a 50 lb difference in the weight of the crate will lower the freight bill a whopping $325-$700 for everyone that you ship via air freight. Although some of the same factors apply as with ground and Sea freight, the cost per lb in air freight is significant and any reduction is beneficial.

Finally, a light weight crate reduces your carbon footprint.

Freight and customer loyalty

This leads to the next point, lower freight costs will help you earn new customers and keep them. You have an automatic advantage, cheaper freight. Don’t think it matters? Well it does, especially because your customers are mostly American shoppers that have an affinity for “free shipping.” In America, we are oriented to shopping that way and seeking out the lowest total cost, including shipping. So, if you have a competitor that is in a geographically beneficial location you will lose orders due to the higher freight costs that you must charge. Shipping in a lighter weight crate will help you regain the advantage.

Concerns about the sustainability of wood crates

A lighter weight crate in the wood crate category won’t have a significant impact on sustainability. Although wood is generally a responsibly sourced material, there simply are no good end-of-use options. Wood packaging is technically recyclable but very difficult to actually get into a recycle stream, so the majority are sent to the landfill.

According to a recent Blog post from one of the leaders in wood packaging, WicPack, it states that a recent survey of more than 1300 Municipal Solid Waste facilities in the US showed that 63% operate wood recovery areas. However, it did not address the amount of wood that was actually recovered, but did include a brief statement that pallets (not crates) arriving at the landfill “are more likely to be recovered than in the past.” This does not leave much to show for in terms of the progress toward the sustainability of wood crates

The ultimate light weight crate

What does the ultimate light weight crate for the now generation look like? The Ecorrcrate fits the needs of today’s supply chain challenges all the way through to disposal. It is a light weight solution, cost effective, and sustainable (including end-of-use disposal in the recycle bin). The Ecorrcrate was designed for today and to exceed expectations for the future of crated shipping.

  • 40-75% Lighter Weight than a comparably sized wood crate
  • Flawless Performance – .001% failure rate
  • Convenience, quick and easy, a better customer experience
  • Durable
  • Stackable
  • Fully Sustainable

Contact us now to learn more about Ecorrcrate, the ultimate light weight crate