Every package is valuable so make sure to pack with care
Every consignment should arrive with the recipient in good condition, so it’s vital to package them correctly. Suitable and correct packaging not only prevents damage to your parcel but to other packages as well.
It is also very important if you are insuring your goods as the insurance company or courier insurance may not accept the claim if it was not packaged correctly.
Carriers handle all packages with the same level of care. ‘Fragile’, ‘this way up’ and others labels may be ignored, especially when they get to automated sort centres and are put on conveyor belts where they cannot guarantee which may up the package will be.
To make sure your goods are protected as much as possible simply follow the guidelines as follows:
The Shipping Carton (The box your goods travel in)
Making sure you have the correct box into which your goods are packed is a good start.
There are three thing to check when deciding which box to use.
• Strength: The box should be able to take the full weight of the consignment and made of good quality corrugated card. For valuable items make sure to use heavy duty or double layered cardboard.
• Size: The box should be the right size for its contents. A box that is stuffed may burst and a box with lots of air inside may collapse.
• Quality: Make sure the box is made with good quality materials. Never use old tatty boxes. Always make sure the box is in a good enough condition to withstand the journey and make sure there are no labels left on the box.
TIP: If there are labels on the box it can confuse the courier such as old address labels. Remove all labels before sending especially ones including UN Numbers (unless appropriate) as these can be stopped by couriers or customs and you may even be fined.
Protecting goods inside the carton
Cushioning: Use appropriate materials to cushion your items during their journey. Use bubble wrap, loose fill polystyrene, kraft paper or the like. If you have foam inserts designed for your goods all the better. Make sure there is at least 5cm cushioning between each fragile item and cushioning between items and the carton wall. Don’t just use Blankets and towels as these are no suitable.
Positioning: The further your items are away from the walls of the box the less likely they are get damaged (assuming you have used the correct cushioning). This is especially true with fragile items. When sending flat items use cardboard dividers.
TIP: Remember to fill all empty spaces with cushioning. This will stop the box from collapsing during its journey and also adds rigidity to the carton, helping to keep the carton whole. Dropping the package from waist height onto a solid floor is a standard test that all packages should withstand
Sealing your carton
Always use good quality parcel tape. Rope, ribbon or sellotape will not be sufficient. The last thing you want is your goods to be spilled all over a runway somewhere.
TIP: Don’t overseal your carton as customs may want to inspect your goods.
Labeling your carton
The air waybill (shipping label) should be securely attached to the topside of the parcel and flat. The recipient address and bar-code should not be hidden in any way and clearly visible.
It is always good practice to have the recipient address on the side of the box preferably printed clearly and not hand written (should be clearly visible and legible). It is also good practice to have part numbers on each carton if sending multiple items. i.e. 1 of 4, 2 of 4, 3 of 4, 4 of 4 etc.
TIP: Always make sure the labels are flat on the box and secure. Loose paper can be counted as extra width or height to your package and therefore may incur extra cost. It also helps stop them falling off and your package being lost in the courier network.
Specific item packaging
Powders and fine grains: should securely sealed in strong plastic bags and placed inside rigid fiberboard box.
Liquids: should be inside leak-proof containers and sealed in a plastic bag. It’s a good idea to pack them with lightweight, strong material like Styrofoam.
Greasy, Strong-smelling and Semi-liquids: should be wrapped in grease resistant paper and sealed with adhesive tape.
Blueprints, Maps, Posters and Rolled items: try not use cylindrical tubes, instead use triangular ones as they are much stronger. Many couriers can supply these.
Sharp Items: when sending items such as scissors always securely fix and completely protect the points and edges.
Small Items: Should be packed into mailing bags or polythene courier envelopes.
Tapes, Discs etc.: Make sure the cushioning inside and around the item is sufficient for its journey
Courier specific guidance
Each carrier will have their own guidelines. For specific carrier information please check their websites
Shipping crates, pallets and wooden boxes?
Heat treating wooden items is a must for certain countries. This is to protect the local ecosystem from insects and bugs foreign to the country under regulation ISPM 15.
Fines, delays and even the country declining entry make occur if you fail to comply. If you use wooden packaging, Please see the ISPM 15 regulation before you ship.
TIP: Couriers always round up weights, so if your package weighs 5.2kg it is rounded up 6kg not rounded down to 5kg