Emergency Logistics Glossary

What are ULD?

ULD examples and definition

The abbreviation “ULD” used in the field of logistics by air freight stands for “Unit Load Devices”. ULDs are standardized devices that allow cargo, mail, and baggage to be grouped together for air transportation and securely fixed for transport. Unit Load Devices were developed to simplify and speed up the aircraft loading and unloading process. The special design of ULD allows

  • optimal utilization of available cargo space
  • efficient, cost-effective transportation of cargo

ULD: the most common forms

ULDs are typically provided by airlines or cargo carriers and can be used by shippers to transport their goods. The unit load devices most commonly used in the transportation of goods by air include.

  • Containers: enclosed containers used to transport goods that must be protected from the elements
  • Pallets: flat, rectangular platforms on which goods can be stacked
  • Nets: flexible containers for transporting loose goods, such as textiles or animal skins

Most airlines also have special loading equipment. With their help, ULDs can be moved quickly and efficiently without having to load or unload packages or containers individually.

Unit Load Devices for different purposes

ULDs can be made of a variety of materials, such as plastic or aluminum, and are designed to meet the different needs of the air cargo industry. Often, unit load devices are equipped with wheels or other accessories that facilitate their transportation.
Among the most common ULDs are LD-3 containers, which are used to transport baggage and small packages. In addition, there are many other types of ULDs, including specialized devices for transporting

  • live animals
  • dangerous goods
  • sensitive cargo

ULDs for fast loading and unloading

The use of ULDs has a number of advantages. One of the most significant is that ULDs can significantly speed up and simplify the aircraft loading and unloading process. Because the containers can be preloaded onto the aircraft, they can be quickly and easily stowed in the hold. This speeds up the entire process considerably.

Optimum use of cargo space with ULD

In addition, ULD allow maximum utilization of the cargo space. Because the devices are specially designed with the size and shape of the cargo hold in mind, they can be packed tightly together. This allows the available space to be used optimally, and airlines can use ULD airfreight to

  • carry more cargo per flight
  • Increase their capacity and efficiency

ULD containers, ULD pallets & co. can also score points in terms of safe transport. The devices specially designed for transporting freight are much more robust and resistant to damage and impact than conventional packaging materials. This means that the freight is better protected during transport and damage is less likely

ULD reduce resource consumption

Finally, airlines can achieve cost benefits by using ULD. Because the devices can be reused, airlines can use them over extended periods of time, reducing costs for the procurement of packaging materials. In addition, with their compact size and light weight, ULD can help reduce aircraft fuel consumption. The use of recycled materials in the manufacture of the containers also contributes to significant cost and weight savings. They therefore also help to protect the environment.