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Tips for packaging if you’re sending parcel via courier services
If you are a first-timer or you are sending something fragile or expensive for the first time, using a courier to deliver your goods can make even the most confident shipper a bit nervous.
Whether you’re shipping within your home country, or using an international courier service, your parcel will be handled multiple times, may pass through multiple sortation depots and because it will be transported with other packages it will have parcels placed on top of it. And if you are shipping internationally, your parcel may even be subject to environmentalpressures such as extreme hot or cold.
Even though our company only use highly reputed partner carriers with the best reputations for handling care, if your items are insufficiently well packaged, problems could still occur. So safely packaging your parcel is extremely important, whatever you are sending but particularly so if you are sending electronic items, perishable goods, or anything fragile. This company includes £50 standard cover with every shipment but if your parcel is not packaged properly, this can invalidate any claim you make in the unlikely event of damage in transit.
No courier can package your goods for you but this helpful ParcelHero® guide on how to package your parcel tells you all you need to know to package your items for safe, damage-free transit.
Choosing a suitable box is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your items are protected during transit and delivered safely. When choosing a box, there are three things to consider: box size, box strength and whether a re-cycled old box is sufficiently robust.
The heavier the item or items you are sending, the stronger the box requirement. Packaging retailers offer dedicated boxes specifically designed for particular items (eg: a bike or golf clubs) or general use boxes of various strengths.
There are a wide variety of packaging materials you can use to protect your items. When you use a courier to send a parcel, it will be handled multiple times, it will be exposed to environmental conditions and transport vibrations, so it’s really important to use the right packaging materials.
Corrugated cardboard box
This is the most widely used outer packaging and the strength of the box is absolutely critical. The heavier the items, the stronger the box requirement. A common mistake is to re-use boxes that have been excessively weakened as each time a box is used, it loses rigidity and strength. If other boxes are placed on top of your box during transit, this puts strain on the box and eventually the walls of the box could weaken and collapse. Boxes are available in single, double or triple strength corrugated
cardboard, and we recommend using double or triple strength boxes for heavy parcels.
If you’re only shipping documents, we recommend using an express envelope. Your courier will be able to provide this. An express envelope is a rigid cardboard envelope with a documents enclosed pouch and a sealable flap. This is ideal for protecting your documents during transit.
Your collecting courier will normally carry express bags on board their vehicle. These sealable plastic bags come in three sizes and protect items from environmental conditions. However, please note they do not provide cushioning or protection from impact, so please place your item in a padded envelope or small box before placing it in the express bag. Never send fragile items inside a courier bag as they will be insufficiently protected.
Recommended levels of internal cushioning prevent movement inside the box, protect your items from impact and reduce the risk of damage in transit.
Bubble wrap is the perfect internal cushioning material for protecting lightweight products in transit. It is easily available or you may have it in the house or office already. You can use bubble wrap to protect individual items and to suspend your goods inside the box. We strongly recommend using multiple layers of bubble wrap for each item for maximum protection.
Polystyrene packing chips or ‘peanuts’ are the perfect space filling material for lightweight items.
Individually wrap each item in bubble-wrap and fill the box with at least 7cm of polystyrene chips. Place the items in the centre of the box, ensuring they are not touching each other or the outer walls of the box. Fill the box with the packing chips before sealing the box with strong packaging tape.
Polyethylene Foam is ideal for delicate items because it is soft and non-abrasive. We recommend wrapping a delicate item completely with polyethylene foam making sure no part of your item is exposed. Secure with securing tape, apply bubble warp and pack as before.
This is a commonly used ‘space filler’ but is not the ideal internal packaging material for smaller or fragile items as it does not insulate or protect as well as bubble wrap or packing chips. It is still effective for boxes containing larger pre-packaged items. When using this material you should ensure the paper is tightly crumpled and place at least 10 cm of paper between the items and the outer box.
Use a box that’s strong enough for the contents, ideally a new unused box.
Use a box that’s the correct size for the products you’re shipping.
Remove any old barcoded labels, address labels or markings from the box.
Wrap each item individually before placing them inside the box.
Suspend the item(s) inside the box with suitable internal cushioning materials.
Place an extra address label inside the box as a precaution.
Use a double lined box if your parcel weights over 10kg.
Use a rigid wooden box when shipping artwork or heavy products over 40kg.
Always ensure you apply the parcel packaging tape in both directions, all the way around the box.
Always remember that if your packaging is not sufficient, you may be unable to claim in the event of damage.
Re-use an old box a box where the walls of the box are weakened or creased.
Let any item inside the box touch the inside walls of the box.
Allow any movement of your items inside the box – make sure the box is completely filled with interior packaging material, such as polystyrene packing chips.
Ship prohibited items such as flammable liquids .
Place any strapping or string fastenings on the outside of the parcel (as the straps may get caught on something while in transit).
Send perishable goods that need to be kept cool, they are not suitable for a standard courier service, and most countries prohibit the importation of perishable food products without a special licence.
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