The concept of utilization is not a new one; it was used by the USA army in the second world army war to provide its forces fighting in Europe with weapons and ammunition. Unitization since that time has been used and developed to comprise all modes of maritime transport, as well as air and land transport modes. Definition: Utilization is a grouping together of two or more (Usually of a homogeneous nature) and securing with banding, glue, shrink-wrap, slings or permanent (e.g. clover leaf), to form a unit which, together with a Base (skids, pallets, etc.) Or a permanent sling allows Mechanical handling equipment (e.g. tynes of a fork Life truck) to lift and transport the unit.
In addition, Unitized cargo can aslo be defined as the grouped cargo that is carried aboard a ship in pallets, containers, wheeled vehicles, and barges or lighters. In other words, unitization of cargo is the process of grouping products and loading them onto a pallet once the products are properly packed. In other words, the whole process starts with packaging of products into individual packages before being put into an outer pack before they’re shrinking wrapped and loaded onto a pallet.
Advantages of unitization:
* Ease of tallying.
* Reduced breakage.
* Reduced pilferage
* Faster speed of working between ship and shore (and on ship or shore). * Reduced labour requirements when handling between interfaces. * May make more effective use of vertical storage space in sheds and holds by stacking 4,5 or 6 units high.
Disadvantage of unitization:
* Loss of spaces below decks where the ship of the vessel is compatible with the space of the unit. * Loss of spaces caused by the shape of the package beginning unitized, e.g. drums on pallets. * Collapsed or crushed units requires labour intensive efforts to rectify, handle and store. * An element of extra cost involved in the pallet, slings , skids, shrink-wrap, strapping...