In today’s internet consumer world air express services are high profile. Millions of buyers & sellers rely on their services on a daily basis. Unfortunately of the numerous consignments made every day, many are rejected or have to be returned & subsequently replaced due to damage in transit. The party at fault is always hard to pin down. Are the couriers responsible for the damage or was the packaging substandard? Of course, as we all know prevention is better than cure. While we don’t live in a perfect world, it is possible, using the correct packaging materials & packing methods to ensure your consignment successfully runs the courier gauntlet. We offer the following packaging advice based on couriers recommendations;
Packaging advice for product protection
It is recommended that you leave a space of at least 50mm (2 inches) between the outer container and the product inside. This space should be filled with padding of some sort, preferably bubble wrap, corrugated paper, Kraft paper or suitable loose fill material.
Different types of cushioning are available, from polystyrene or biodegradable loose fill “chips”, “shreds” and “peanut” shaped materials to rolls of bubbled plastic sheet i.e. bubble wrap.
Loose cushioning is usually made out of very lightweight materials, it’s used to fill in corners, keep the articles centered in the container and provide cushioning and shock absorption. It is clean and reusable but can be very bulky to store. Many of the fillings available in the market are manufactured from recycled products. If exporting, try to avoid the use of polystyrene, as in many countries it is considered not to be environmentally friendly and a fine could be imposed. Vegetable based and biodegradable materials are preferred.
Bubble wrap provides very good protection to shock, vibration and abrasion, as well as being lightweight and flexible.
When packing items or stacked objects, you should always use dividers, which provide absorption to shocks.
The most frequently used dividers are corrugated cardboard sheets, chipboard sheets, or plain brown “Kraft-paper” sheets. Rolls of corrugated boxes, cut to size, are excellent for low cost padding. Foam sheeting is recommended to wrap up fragile objects.
As your shipment is transported, it may be exposed to adverse environments caused by weather conditions and transport vibrations, so correct packaging is vital.
Where possible use sturdy corrugated cardboard boxes.
Wrap fragile materials individually so they do not touch each other.
Even the stickiest labels can come off. An extra address label placed inside the package is a good precaution.
Remove old address/shipping labels from your packages.
Use cushioned bags, such as padded and bubble bags to carry such things as diskettes, tapes, keys and small electronic parts. These bags provide good shock absorption performance. Waterproof and anti-static versions are also available.
Boxes are the most commonly used type of package. The range of sizes and shapes, the different combinations of materials, and the number of accessories available to strengthen and secure them, make boxes the most suitable way to pack your shipments.
If you are shipping wooden boxes, ensure that the corners are correctly protected and check that the box is not splintered, as this can cause injuries to people handling the boxes.
Sometimes, heavy-duty double walled cardboard is a suitable and cheaper alternative to wood.
All packages must be sealed to prevent the contents from falling out. A good seal helps to strengthen your package, however, be aware that any shipment may be opened for inspection by customs or security authorities while in transit.
Always use strong tapes such as polypropylene or vinyl adhesive tape. Other types of tape such as fibre reinforced paper tapes may also be used.
The use of string around your box is not recommend as it can cut through the cardboard and damage your package.
The use of wrapping paper around boxes or non contained objects is only recommended for items like textile products, in order to prevent damage by dust. Remember to enclose the wrapped object in a box.
Wrapping paper can also be used as a cushioning material by crumpling it and placing it in the interior of a box.
When using shrink wrap films, stick labels on the boxes and not on the films. Often the film is broken down to scan each shipment’s bar code.
When applied correctly, with the proper tension, strapping is an ideal way to strengthen your shipment. Loose strapping is useless and too tight strapping can damage the box, by cutting through it.
Edge protectors are available in plastic and recycled cardboard. When using strapping, edge protectors prevent damage to your shipment by distributing the strapping pressure and tension uniformly across the box edge, preventing damage to the cardboard.
Exceeding the weight specification of the shipment container.
Use of wrapping paper, string, cellophane or masking tape.
Allowing packages to get wet while awaiting pickup.
Including any information indicating high value of contents on the address label or outer package.
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