How to Prepare Packaged Goods for Overseas Delivery

Seven Guidelines to Consider

Shipping Containers


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Many American companies lose more business in the movement of products overseas than in any other phase of the export process. Why? They do not think about protecting and containing their goods from the assembly line to the user. Here are seven guidelines to consider that will help you minimize risks.

Pack Goods in Strong, Lightweight Containers

Your cargo might be handled by mechanical equipment (lifts, cranes or conveyors) or humans throughout the distribution network.

We're sure many of you have witnessed your baggage being mishandled: handlers flinging suitcases onto a flatbed trolley or a moving conveyor belt. That should give you an indication of what international cargo goes through from point A (point of origin) to point B (final destination). Now add multiple additional touchpoints to the equation, and you have a recipe for cargo handling mishaps.

Load Cargo in a Shipping Container or Securely on Pallets

This procedure decreases physical handling of your products and minimizes the probability of damage.

Other advantages are that you have less risk of other peoples’ cargo bumping into your cargo when it is neatly packaged in a shipping container or tied securely onto a pallet. Your shipping decisions will depend on cost, your level of preparedness for loading the shipment, and the arrangements you have with your customer at the other end. 

Brace and Distribute Cargo Weight Evenly 

Cushion your cartons to prevent movement or rubbing against other products during transit. This can be done by providing foam-rubber cushions and airbags for reducing vibration and preventing the cargo from shifting.

Declare Any Hazardous Goods in Advance With Your Transportation Company

Cautionary markings should be in English, the language of the country of destination and the international handling symbol.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has adopted new regulations that impact domestic and international shipping. Be sure to inquire.

Package Goods in the Water-Resistant Material to Avoid Rust, Corrosion or Ruin

A waterlogged product could be cause for buyer rejection. To ensure a watertight route using a shipping container, for example, this is best checked by entering the container and closing both doors. If any spots of light can be seen, then water can gain entry. This also applies to the container floor because water can splash upwards during transit.

Avoid Stating Brand Names on Cartons to Reduce Pilferage

Cargo theft is a global problem affecting consumers and businesses alike. Keep markings to a minimum and apply with waterproof ink.

Label Goods in the Destination Country’s Language If Required by Law or Practice

Check with your buyer and transport company to determine which export marks should appear on the cargo for easy identification by receivers.

When in doubt, consult a freight forwarder, transport pro or an export packer. They offer packing services and can be found online via a Google search.