How to Make the Right Export Packing Decisons.export cargo packing

What you need to consider?

You may need advice when deciding which packing option is best for your particular needs, the first place to start is by asking people with experience in this area, such as a Freight Forwarder, Customs broker, your packaging supplier or trade association.

The Factors that may influence your export packaging decisions

Avoiding damage to your goods is the main purpose of export packaging. One of the reasons that containers and pallets have become standardized is that they combine efficiency with excellent cargo protection.  
What is export packaging?
Export packaging must be strong enough to ensure that your goods arrive intact and undamaged at their final destination export packaging may be only one of three main types of packaging that are used for retail exported goods.  

  • 1) Export packaging is the outermost layer of packaging and is designed to protect your goods during transit: examples include wooden crates, metal drums and plastic shrink-wrapping.
  • 2) Outer packaging is an intermediate layer of packaging beneath the export packing, which often also serves a retail-promotion purpose. An example would be a box containing multiple units that doubles as a retail display fixture and can be placed directly on a shop shelf, as is common with many convenience foods.
  • 3) Sales packaging is the immediate layer of packaging around your goods - the packaging that remains when the goods reach their end-user. Examples include the bottles in which beverages are contained, or the boxes many electronics items are sold in. Sales packaging often also serves a marketing purpose by containing prominent branding images and information.
These three types of packaging work to ensure your cargo arrives undamaged, ready to place directly on the sales store self, each layer of packaging is complete on its own terms. 
More to consider
  • Pack contents tightly within the box, or crate. In this way the container wall is given added strength and harmful shifting of merchandise is avoided.
  • Ship large loads whenever possible, as large loads are less likely to be damaged than small ones.
    Keep goods protected from rain, seawater and moisture.
  • Heavy machinery and odd-shaped items should be boxed or crated and provided with skids for easier handling and storage
  • Select the most advantageous pallet size and style. A four-way entry pallet permits handling from all four sides with a fork or pallet truck, thus facilitating handling. Additionally, the standard size pallet size of 40 inches by 48 inches (1000mm x1200mm) maximizes the volume, which can be loaded into shipping containers.
  • Prepare ferrous surfaces with a rust inhibitor to enable your product to arrive at its destination free from rust or corrosion.
  • Drain holes should be made in the skid or floor area of large containers, boxes or crates. This will allow seawater or condensation to flow out of the container.
  • Do not try to put too much in each container, as the weight might exceed the limitations of the container being used.
  • Ensure weight is distributed evenly within the crate.
  • Marks should be applied with waterproof ink to three surfaces of each package. Cautionary markings should be in English, the language of the country of destination and the international graphic-handling symbol.
    Protect goods adequately from pilferage.
  • If the cargo is liquid, do not fill containers completely but leave expansion space to allow for variations in temperature. The cargo should be protected from rainwater damage that may occur when air cargo is taken to loading ramps.
  • Shipments by air for liquid cargo, certain additional guidelines apply: The packing should be able to withstand air pressure; liquid cargo should be protected from the hazards of high pressure and leakage.
It is a serious offence
Against air regulation for shipping liquid or pressurize products without first informing the airline about the contents of the goods and getting permission. As leaking liquid leak may endanger passengers as well as causing the airplane to malfunction - in other words, you can go to jail.

Packing: tips
Consideration to keep in mind when shipping is theft. Theft can be a common problem in some foreign ports. So don’t advertise the contents of your shipping containers with flashy logos or name branding. 
You need to take steps to prevent goods being stolen or tampered with .Containerization helps with this and using container seals makes tampering even less likely. Shrink-wrapping and secure straps also act as deterrents. Export packaging should be kept as plain as possible - providing details of the contents, eg brand names, encourages theft.  
Identification marks

Every package in your consignment should be clearly identifiable. Ensure the following details are provided:
  • the country of origin - if necessary, also on the goods themselves
  • destination - the port or other place of destination is sufficient, rather than a full address - check for places with the same name elsewhere in the world and make it clear where goods are destined for
  • seller's name and order number
  • sequential number of each package and the total packages in the consignment, ( 'Package 7 of 20)
  • the size of the case if there are multiple boxes or containers
  • weight and volume
  • special handling instructions
  • hazardous goods 
Make sure your markings are clearly visible. Packages may have goods stacked around them so include handling instructions or labels on multiple faces. Packages containing hazardous goods must be clearly marked 
Mode of transport
This may influence your packaging. For example, bulk ocean shipments of liquids, grain and ores don't need any packaging. And goods transported by air generally need less protective packaging than those sent by ship.  
It's a false economy to try to cut costs by using sub-standard packaging. The standard options ( cartons grouped on pallets and then loaded into containers) have become the standard because they're reliable. Unless your goods require special care, you're unlikely to gain much by opting for above-standard packaging.

You can buy, most types of packaging easily ( shrink-wrap, pallets or containers), so it makes sense to shop around with various packing suppliers . You may decide to use custom-made packaging, or hire a packing firm to make sure your goods are packaged correctly, which may work out less expensive.   
Waste legislation
Many overseas markets have waste regulations that require packaging which can be easily recycled or has a minimal impact on the environment. In many export markets, there are stricter rules on packaging waste and collection  
Wood packaging requirements
International regulations and wood packaging standards exist to control the spread of forest pests and timber diseases.
Restrictions apply to wood packaging certain countries require wood packaging to be marked and accompanied by a wood packaging certificate. In many cases it will be sufficient to check that your wood packaging is ISPM 15 compliant
Your transport insurance cover may be adversely affected if it can be shown that your goods were damaged due to poor packaging

Worldwide MORE than just freight forwarding