5.7 – Transportation Packaging

International standards for packaging are typically more stringent than any other type of transportation. It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure that the packaging being used is sufficient for goods being shipped. Depending on the product, different levels of protection will be required so it is crucial that the correct type of packaging is ascertained.

What factors affect the type of packaging that you select?

Assessing your packaging needs is a critical step to determine which packaging is best for the type of products that you are transporting.

1. The weight of your goods

The weight of your shipment will affect the strength and the durability of the packaging box that you choose to use.

The right size of package/box should be able to securely hold the weight of your goods.

2. The size and the shape

If you are exporting odd shaped or rounded items, your packaging may need extra attention to ensure that your goods arrive safely.

Your items should never touch the outer wall of the box that you choose to use if you want them to arrive safely. Always place the goods being shipped in the centre of your package with at least 6cm of separation from any corners or walls.

3. The form of contents

Obviously, liquids, powders, weapons, and chemicals will require special packing materials and techniques to ensure that they remain intact and to guarantee the safety of the people handling the packages.

Food labelling and safety requirements may vary based on the country of export, so it is paramount to check all the regulations and extra requirements to avoid future complications.

4. The value of your contents

If you are exporting valuable items such as electronics, you will need to ensure that you have adequate cushioning to protect your goods.

Internal packaging materials that are used to safeguard your items include airbags, cardboard/foam pellets and bubble wrap.

Aside from using the right packaging, you also need to apply special handling labels that indicate the fragility of the item being exported.

5. The cost

It is not good idea to reduce expenses by using sub-standard packaging.

The standard packaging option is cartons grouped on pallets before being loaded on containers.

You can buy, hire or lease most types of standard packaging so it makes sense to shop around before settling for the most viable option for you and your goods.

The main types of packaging

Boxes and crates

Boxes and crates are by far the most popular shipping option. Although they are both made from wood, boxes and crates are different from one another. Packing boxes (packing cases) are solid on each side. Timber cladding ensures security of your products.

Crates, on the other hand, have slated or open sides but have a solid top and bottom, this enables the contents to be seen from the sides. This aides inspection and eliminates the need for repacking following the inspection.


Because containers are practical and easy to pack and move, they are a preferred choice for many exporters. Containers are standardized metal boxes designed to withstand bulky and weighty cargo.

Goods placed in containers might still require separate packaging, but containers are ideal because they provide much-needed protection for high-value items such as luxury cars and they increase security levels in case of theft.


Pallets are ideal when small boxes or cartons are to be grouped together. The pallets can then be transported easily using forklifts which aid the process of loading, unloading and warehousing. Pallets are reliable and low in cost. If you are going to export anything, your best bet would be to rely on pallets or containers as they are the safest packaging techniques.

Freight Remark

laws. The packaging also has to be UN certified

The HPE Packaging Guidelines set minimum standards for tough and reliable packaging for transporting technical equipment.

Their aim is to protect goods from stressful conditions along the logistics chain thereby ensuring each product reaches its destination undamaged.

The HPE Packaging Guidelines – Packaging according to HPE standards.

  • Before packaging the goods have to be clean and checked for damages
  • The goods are to be packed in such a way that they do not get dirty or damaged
  • Each package is to be packaged according to build and method of transport
  • Fragile or expensive products which do not have a packaging should be put in cardboard boxes or crates, filled with recycled padding
  • Use space saving methods of packing
  • Lighter and more fragile goods should always be packed on top
  • Already painted parts have to be packaged in such a way that the paint does not get damaged e.g. in bubble wrap
  • All wood should be IPPC treated and labelled as such. (IPPC = International Plant Protection Convention.) This is a guarantee to ensure that no untreated wood arrives in foreign countries.
  • The finished packages have to be able to be moved with all ground conveyors
  • Packing materials have to be silicon free, and paint compliant
  • For the transport of hazardous materials, the laws of hazardous goods of each country has to be followed. The packaged hazards materials, have to be packed in such a way suitable for the transport, and according to local laws. The packaging also has to be UN certified.


  • All kinds of goods going with air freight, which are on a palette, have to have been wrapped in non-transparent foil
  • Cardboard boxes must be packed manipulation safe, with all open sides taped shut.
  • This goes for all cardboard box sized
  • Delivery slip
  • All packages must have size and weight labels
  • Wood must have IPPC labelling       


It is essential to make allowance for weather and atmospheric fluctuations including rain, sea water, different climate zones, high humidity, and high salt content in the air.

  • Packed goods can be put under high pressure from shocks and knocks
  • Goods that are packed have to be dry.
  • Packing wood with a maximum of 20% residual moisture.
  • Corrosion protection with the dry bag method. For the transport and storage, the goods have to have enough dry bags, the amount is relative to the residual moisture inside of the aluminium foil and has to be good for 12 months (optional 24 months). Calculation according to DIN 55474.
  • Packing wood must be IPPC – treated and labelled, also inside of the package.
  • Sea freight packaging should be carried out by specialist packaging contractors who work according to the newest HPE guidelines.


  • Packaging according to HPE – Guidelines
  • The packing on wood pallets is only recommended on a house to house container delivery. If the pallet is stored before or after shipping for a long time, there is a chance of the protective cover being damaged.
  • Important for ground packaging is to ask how long, and where the package will be stored.
  • Ground packaging is only suitable for delicate goods.
  • Bottom width max. 230 cm.

Standard bottoms: 285 x 225 cm, 395 x 225 cm, 485 x 225 cm, 585 x 225 cm

  • Wood IPPC processed. Labels on 2 opposite sides of the pallet
  • Goods on pallet lashed down with ring bolts and belts
  • Corrosion protection according to dry method DIN 55473
  • Parts have to be packed dry. Packing wood with a maximum of 20% residual moisture.
  • Parts a packed airtight in aluminium compound foil according to DIN 55531
  • Additional layer of plastic foil over aluminium foil. 100% coverage of freight
  • The packaging should be slightly inclined so that water can run off when stored outside. Without the angle a water pocket could form, resulting in residue on the package.


  • Packaging according to HPE guidelines
  • Crate packaging, like ground packaging with airtight aluminium compound foil, with addition of dry bags and casing.
  • Crate packaging about 73% more expensive than ground packaging.
  • Crate packaging for sensitive, high grade or quickly corroding materials.
  • Lid with barrier coat
  • Inside of the crate the welded shut aluminium foil has to have a gradient, so that intruding water can flow of the foil, to prevent water skin formation.
  • Additional foil over lid
  • Labeling (balance point, load pickup fork lifter, Chain pickup, IPPC)