It’s simple enough: you want to send a parcel internationally, so you find a quality courier service, select a convenient collection time and make a booking. After you have printed off the appropriate documentation, and before your consignment is picked up by your preferred carrier, you need to give some thought to how to package your parcel correctly.
Packaging your parcel correctly is not difficult, but it’s important that you follow a few easy guidelines to ensure that your goods are protected in transit. Worldwide courier services are massive operations, and while carriers should always endeavour to treat your parcels with care, remember that many stages of the transit process will be automated: your parcel is likely to pass through sortation centres using conveyors and chutes, parcels may be stacked and while ‘fragile’ labels may be useful for information purposes, they are no substitute for careful packaging.
You should think about two main areas when packaging your parcel: the shipping carton, or box, and how your contents are placed within it. Ask yourself the following questions:
The shipping carton:
- Is it strong enough for the contents of my consignment? If applicable, do the contents weigh less than the maximum weight limit of the box? For heavy or valuable items, double layered cardboard is best.
- Is it the right size for my consignment?
- Is it in good condition? We all recognise the importance of going green. Reusing your boxes is commendable and great for the environment, but remember only to do so if a box remains in good condition.
Inside the shipping carton:
- Is there sufficient cushioning material, such as bubble wrap, between each of my items, and between each item and the box edges? Most carriers recommend a minimum of 5 cm.
- Are fragile or valuable items especially protected?
- Are sharp edges fully protected? Fixed heavy cardboard is best for this.
- Are small items packed into flyers?
- Are liquids and semi-liquids or greasy substances stored in leak free containers?