Real world risk: forklift damage

Extracted from the full article “How to move a masterpiece: The secret business of shipping priceless artworks” written by Andrew Dickson, published 21st March 2019 in the Guardian

“A hyperactive art market creates a momentum all its own. According to the most recent analysis, global art sales total nearly $68bn (£52bn) annually, a 10% increase since 2008, with some 40m transactions made last year alone. Vast quantities of art are continually being shifted from auction houses to purchasers to dealers and back again, especially in the fast-expanding Asian markets. Two decades ago, there were around 55 major commercial art fairs; now, there are more than 260.

The end result is that more art than ever, worth more money than ever, is travelling more than ever. Fine-art shipping is expensive, specialised and technically challenging work.”

“Damage in transit occurs, although naturally no one wants to talk about it. Art fairs and auction houses are notorious for slipshod handling – “it’s all just product to them,” said the conservator – and some commercial galleries aren’t much better. When we spoke, she had recently finished restoring a water-damaged painting that a security guard had left under an open skylight. Forklifts are lethal, she explained: “One wrong move and they’ll go straight through the case.”  Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd

At ROKBOX we have heard countless stories of forklift tines (this is what the two metal prongs are called, who knew!?) going through crates, and we have tested the ROKBOX for this specific type of risk – our test involved a crane driving the forklift tines at exactly 5mph into a ROKBOX, and the same into a high specification wooden crate.  The ROKBOX lid had barely a dent in it.  The tines went straight through the wooden crate lid – through the canvas inside, and out through the rear of the crate.