Unit Load Device: Meaning and Types

It is a fact that ULD plays a crucial role in loading the cargo in the aircraft. But, let's first understand what is a ULD. 

ULD  is a device that is used for transporting any cargo, such as perishable goods, luggage, large or dangerous goods, or even machinery.

ULDs are directly designed for a Cargo loading system. ULDs are of two types: containers and palettes. Depending on the cargo volume, the ULD can be a container, a pallet or a group of pallets. Unit Load Devices ensure that the loading and off-loading of cargo is safe and efficient. They protect the shipment from any damage and loss.

ULDs assemble different shipments depending on the size, volume, and space to load them on and off the aeroplane. Also, the aircraft is equipped with a loading and restraint system to avoid damage or contact with the plane. 

Benefits of ULD

Now, let’s discuss the benefits of the ULDs apart from securely loading the cargo on the aircraft. 

  • ULDs remove the procedure of manual loading and unloading of cargo. 
  • They protect the goods to avoid any damage to them. 
  • The essential factor is that the ULD manages and effectively utilises the aircraft’s cargo space.
  •  They are also making the process intelligent, smooth, and fast.
  • With ULDs, operational costs are lowered drastically, boosting trade flows. 

With the world becoming more conscious about the practices that impact the environment, companies are working toward reducing CO2 emissions. But how? By creating collapsible ULDs to take a step towards zero-carbon flying.  

Types of ULDs

Broadly, there are two ULDs types:

1) Pallets

2) Containers

- Pallets are sheets made with aluminum and designed to lock a cargo. They can either be of a single-layer or double-layer. Pallets are used to carry the cargo with specifications or requirements. The pallet is lightweight as compared to containers, reducing labour requirements. Moreover, the pallet cost is also low.

- Containers, as the name suggests, refer to a large loading container. The containers can be loaded and unloaded to shippers' and consignees' warehouses. The superficial material of the container is solid and durable, ensuring the safety of the cargo. One of the advantages of the container is the protection it provides compared to the pallet.

So, ULD is designed with suitable material equipped to carry cargo securely. 

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