5 tips for getting export packaging right from the start

When it comes to shipping goods internationally, you want to make certain your products are adequately packed for their journey. Here are five things to consider if you want to get your export packaging right the first time, writes Maia Fletcher.

Export packaging, which simply refers to the act of packaging goods to send to other countries, is one of the most important parts of international shipping.

Poor packaging can result in goods being damaged before they reach their destination, while not considering foreign laws and customs can cause long delays.

It’s well known that packaging goods to send overseas can be a headache, whether you’re sending items by ship or plane, but so long as you’re prepared, your goods ought to reach their destination intact.

READ: How to open your retail business to the world

Here are five of the most important things to consider when you’re packaging goods for export before you send your next shipment:


Research is invaluable for export packaging


When choosing a company to package your goods for you, it’s all too easy to go with the first one that offers you a decent rate.

Unfortunately, as in all areas of business, choosing the wrong company to save a bit of money just might end up costing you more in the long run.

You should, therefore, check reviews of companies and find out, in detail, what their procedures for shipping are.

If you choose to package your goods yourself – which might be the case if your packages are relatively small – you should still do your research.

Different goods will have different packaging requirements, and you don’t want to waste money on unnecessary packaging if there’s a simpler solution.


Consider seasonal differences and weather conditions


While you might be sending goods in winter, the country they’re travelling to might well be in the middle of a hot summer – and it’s entirely possible that your shipment will be sitting out in the sun in transit.

This is particularly obvious for food items but might be less obvious for pieces of clothing or items made from materials like paper, both of which can be damaged in adverse weather conditions.

Always make sure your packages are waterproof – this should be obvious if you’re sending shipments by sea, but even if they’ll be on a plane there’s still a possibility that they’ll come into contact with water at some point during their journey.


Choose the right company for perishable goods


Perishable goods are some of the trickiest items to ship because if anything goes wrong, they’ll be of no use when they arrive.

To this end, if you’re shipping anything perishable, it’s important to choose a company that has experience in this area and tests their containers before use.

For larger shipments, using a refrigerated shipping container might be the way to go; having your goods sent in a container set to the temperature of your choice means that even if there’s a delay or issue along the way, they’ll arrive at their destination fresh and intact.


Pack for the worst-case scenarios and purchase insurance


You can never be too careful.

When you pack your goods, imagine the worst things that might happen to them on their journey and pack as if these situations are likely to happen.

You should also prepare your package knowing that it may be inspected at any time – some countries routinely check shipments for drugs or other contraband, while others perform checks at random.

Your shipments should be secure, but able to be resealed if they’re opened for any reason.

Additionally, purchasing insurance for your shipments will help you to rest assured that even if your items arrive at their destination in terrible condition – or, indeed, if they never arrive at all – you won’t be out of pocket.


Check international laws and customs


Some countries have what might seem like arbitrary laws on what can and cannot be imported, so even if you think your shipment will be safe, it pays to be aware of what restrictions exist in your destination country.

For example, animal products are prohibited or strictly regulated in many countries, and customs officers will be quick to seize packages they deem illegal. There is also the possibility of having to pay customs fees, so make sure you know who is responsible for these fees before you send your shipment.

Additionally, ensuring that your shipments are well-labelled and include a packing list will help your packages to make their way through customs quickly and avoid any unnecessary delays or inspections. Whether you keep digital or physical records, it’s always a good idea to keep your shipping data organised. Investing in quality, online accounting software will save you both time and money.

It’s also worth brushing up on Incoterms, which were created with the specific purpose of helping importers and exporters to avoid issues with shipments – knowing who is responsible for your shipment at different stages of its journey will help to alleviate any confusion later.

Packaging shipments for international delivery can be a challenge – or even a hassle – for exporters. However, if you’re prepared and well-informed on what shipping goods overseas involves, you’ll be well-equipped to deal with any issues that arise along the way.

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