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Shipping Electronics from California

Resources > Shipping Electronics from California
There are rules and regulations to keep in mind when shipping electronics from California.
Published: July 23, 2019
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Ask Truckload

Millennials aren’t the only ones glued to their devices. Electronics are a multi-billion dollar industry — and the number-one category of truck shipments out of California. When shipping electronics from California, you should know the ins and outs of shipping high-value freight. 

When shipping electronics from California, packaging is a top priority. Since most electronics contain lithium-ion batteries electronic shipments will need to comply with CFR 173.185. Damage from excess heat is also a concern. In many cases, temperature-controlled trucks are used when shipping electronics. 

The Top Shipment Category from California 

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, electronics are the top outbound domestic shipment category from California. Nearly $200 billion worth of electronics are shipped out of California in a year, making up more than 20 percent of its total shipments to other places in the United States. Electronics shipped from California include:

  • Laptop computers and desktop PCs
  • Data storage devices
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Televisions and monitors 
  • Bluetooth and wireless speakers
  • Headphones
  • GPS devices
  • Video game systems
  • Printers

It’s no wonder that shipping electronics from California is such a major business. The state boasts a booming tech industry. In addition, the Golden State has nine major water ports, including the two busiest container ports in the nation, Los Angeles and Long Beach. This means that electronics entering the country from abroad often come in through California before shipping to other states on trucks. 

Electronics are considered high-value goods, unlike commodities like natural gas and cereal grains, which are only valuable in massive quantities. 

Packing Electronics for Shipment

Not only are electronics expensive, but they are also sensitive. If you want to pack and ship laptops, computers and other electronics, it is vital to make sure your electronics are packaged properly to avoid damage. These machines involve complicated systems that require all components to be properly aligned and operating for the device to function. 

For computer and laptop shipping, there are special boxes designed specifically to transport these items safely. Laptop shipping boxes often have a foam frame inside meant to cushion the computer and hold it steadily in place. 

Box-in-Box Method 

The “box-in-box” method is highly recommended for shipping electronics to reduce the risk of harm to the items. It provides added security for the products. Rather than simply surrounding an item with packing material and cushioning, it adds a second layer of protection. 

  • The individual products should be wrapped in bubble wrap or foam cushioning to fit securely in the first box. This may have already been done by the manufacturer. Make sure this box is sealed securely. 
  • The first box should be placed in a second box at least 6 inches larger in all dimensions. 
  • Wrap the box with bubble wrap or foam and fill the empty spaces with loose cushioning materials. 
  • Make sure there is a buffer area of six inches in all directions around the smaller box. 

The top shipping companies will guarantee that your electronics are packaged safely and securely. 

Shipping Electronics as Freight

When shipping electronics as freight, the items need to be packaged in a way that allows them to be stacked onto a pallet. It’s also necessary for the pallet holding the items to be wrapped. An experienced and respected shipping company will know the ins and outs of freight shipping so that your items can be transported without a hitch. 

Need help with freight shipping from California to Arizona? See how an expert ally can help.

Transporting Lithium Batteries by Freight

Anyone planning to ship computers or other electronics needs to be mindful of the requirements for transporting lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are commonly found in consumer electronics, such as computers and laptops, smartphones, calculators, digital cameras and many other devices. 

Lithium batteries are considered a hazardous material under the Department of Transportation, meaning they can present dangers to “health, safety and property” when transported. As a consequence, they are subject to strict regulations that go beyond those that apply to less dangerous goods. According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, unsafe handling of lithium batteries can lead to:

  • Chemical burn, fire and electrical shock
  • Short-circuiting, overheating, and, sometimes, ignition
  • Thermal runaway, a “violent release of stored energy” 

The risk exists because a lithium batteries feature a flammable electrolyte that is sensitive to certain conditions. These fires are often hard to put out. 

When it comes to transporting electronics, it’s best to trust a professional, reliable shipping company to make sure all the standards are met and regulations are followed. You can find the full criteria for shipping lithium batteries here. 

Advantages of Truckload Shipping for Electronics

Trucking is the top shipping method for electronics in the United States. Electronics are the highest-value commodity shipped by freight -- $1.7 trillion worth of electronics were shipped in 2015. In the USA, 62 percent of them were shipped by truck in 2015.  

The business of shipping electronics is expected to continue to grow in the decades ahead, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The 3.8 percent annual growth rate is expected to be at the second-highest rate among the top-value commodities, trailing only precision instruments. Much of that growth is expected to come in the form of truck shipment. 

Truckload shipping makes sense for large shipments of electronics. Full truckload shipping typically means faster transit time and less handling. When dealing with sensitive, fragile items, you want to reduce the opportunities for mishandling. 

Truckload shipping also allows for temperature control. Many electronics are sensitive to extreme conditions, leading to possible damage, malfunctions or even electrical fires. Temperature-controlled truckload shipping guarantees that the items are transported in the conditions that avoid these issues. 

Shipping Electronics with R+L Global Logistics

In the world of truckload shipping, electronics are big-ticket items. When transporting computers, laptops and other devices from California, you want to have confidence that your shipment is in good hands. Enlisting a trusted logistics company will give you the peace of mind that your electronics will make it to their destination safely and on time. 

R+L Global Logistics has the expertise, resources and services necessary for shipping electronics from California to New York and more. R+L’s dedicated team prioritizes customer service, with 24/7 live support. Reach a representative today to get started. 

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