Every day, trucks and trailers in Australia transport a staggering amount of freight. According to the Truck Industry Council, 75% of all freight was transported through roadways with a total of 463,000 registered trucks (with a GVM > 3,500 kg) in 2017. The enormous amounts of cargo and money involved make it all the more incredible that the vast majority of that cargo makes it to its destination safe and undamaged.

That level of safety is possible because of the well-established and well-enforced set of rules governing how freight must be loaded, positioned, and secured. Most shippers use an established logistics company for trailer transportation, and these companies will have their own regulations, in addition to Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and Work Healthy and Safety (WHS) regulations. However, if you’re handling your own logistics, it’s useful to have a quick summary of the basics.

Use these four simple steps as a framework for understanding the key regulations and best practices of freight transport. Naturally, you’ll need to do research specific to your situation—but the concepts below will help you understand the essential processes, decisions, and responsibilities of loading and securing trailer freight.