Package & Handling (P&H) is essentially a labor and materials charge, and is separate from the Shipping charges.
Enclosures that are shipped have to be individually prepared and boxed for cross country shipping. Enclosure panels are cleaned and marked for easy identification and assembly. There are no "pre-fab" boxes when you're shipping large enclosures, even disassembled. "Boxes" must be custom-built around the panels and components. Preparing panels up to 6' x 5' in size, such as the front and back panels of the s540 or w545, begins with a 12' x 8' 275 lb. crush weight cardboard pad. The heavyweight double wall cardboard is fashioned into a “box” by hand scoring it to fold perfectly around the panels. It is sealed with reinforced packing tape, then poly-strapped and steel buckled for extra strength during shipping. This process is repeated for similarly sized components until all panels and accessories are packed. The boxes are labeled for shipping, the shipment is scheduled with the chosen freight company, and freight documents prepared. The packing materials used, and this time-consuming process, is what you see as "Package and Handling".
Many companies build the price of packaging materials and labor into the cost of the cage ~ but we don’t believe that’s fair to those customers who do not have their order shipped (orders picked up @ our facility, show purchases, etc.) Other companies lump P&H into the shipping charges ~ but we work very hard to locate the most cost-effective shipping rate possible and are reluctant to have that charge distorted. We don’t use a single carrier ~ we have nearly a dozen different freight companies who offer CD&E deeply discounted tariffs. Every shipment is priced with each of those carriers to ensure that we have provided the best rate for the weight, size, destination, and delivery location for that individual shipment. When you see the shipping charges on your invoice, we want you to be confident that there are no “hidden” costs rolled into that figure and that you are paying the most economical rate available.
Incorporating the Package and Handling expenses into the shipping charges would also mean the entire “shipping” amount would become subject to sales tax for our Texas customers.
Do Packaging & Handling and Shipping add significantly to the cost of your order? Regrettably, yes. But each are derived from actual costs and CD&E will continue to do everything possible to minimize them wherever possible to give you the best value for your investment.