Shipping Fragile Items – The Definitive Guide

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably had to deal with the hassle of shipping fragile items at some point. Whether it’s a piece of art, a delicate instrument, or a family heirloom, shipping fragile items can be a daunting task. But with a little planning and the right packaging, it doesn’t have to be so stressful. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to ship fragile items so they arrive at their destination safely.

Choose the correct container.

The first thing to consider when thinking about how to send your fragile item is choosing an appropriate box or container. The size and shape of your item will dictate the container you use. Ideally, you should use a strong and rigid box or case, and it should fit your item and any wrapping or padding perfectly. Ensuring your box is the correct size will heavily reduce the risk of any unwanted movement. This is also where case making comes in handy. Case making involves building bespoke wooden cases for transport. John Pipe can offer expert advice to help you decide what type of container is best suited to your goods. As well as a host of our own container designs, we can also advise on cases used by UK and US armed forces. 

Wrap items correctly.

It is very important that the items you want to ship safely are protected within your packing container. There are many ways this can be done, and the most common often involve using bubble wrap or packing foam. Foam can be used creatively, for example to pad contact points with your item when using bracing or packing timbers in a shipping container. John Pipe are trialling some environmentally friendly foams that biodegrade into a harmless compostable product, excellent for reducing waste. 

Protect your item from the elements. 

There are many types of item that might be particularly sensitive to changes in temperature, humidity or moisture. These often require more specialised packing methods. For example, equipment such as electrical components or computer parts are usually packaged in barrier foil bags, with desiccant placed within to absorb any moisture. On a larger scale, shipping containers can also be fitted with dry poles, which function as large desiccant containers to remove all excess moisture from within. 

Choose the correct form of transportation

Choose carefully when you are thinking about what form of transportation to utilise for your item. Sea freight, air freight and land freight all have their own advantages and disadvantages, and you can read more about this elsewhere on our site. One thing to think about is the amount of handling that will occur while your item is in transit. The less an item is handled whilst being shipped, the less opportunity there is for damage to happen. 

You should also consider what extra measures might be needed to protect your item for a particular form of transport. For example, when using shipping containers for sea transport, you may want to use wooden bracing if your item is smaller than the total size of the container, or consider sharing the container with other items. Ideally, your item should not be able to move around within a shipping container. 

Weigh and measure your item correctly.

It is important when sending any item to weigh and measure correctly, but doubly important for fragile or sensitive items. Accurately measuring an item ensures that a shipping company knows all the details, and can do their best to look after it. Incorrect weights or dimensions could also result in issues sending items, or unexpected charges. 

There are a variety of tools you can use to weigh an item – from small desktop scales to load cells for very large and heavy items. At John Pipe, we weigh items before packing to get the net weight, and then again once packed for gross weight. When sending any item to a shipping company, your weight and dimensions measurements should include packaging.

Use sensors

Some items might be very sensitive to outside forces, such as tilting or shock. To ensure these items are kept safe during transit, there are a variety of sensors available. For example, John Pipe uses Tip ‘N’ Tell indicators for items that should not be tipped.  These are simple, reliable and inexpensive, and can be stuck on the interior or exterior of a case so they aren’t tampered with or removed. Shock Watch stickers are also useful for detecting shock.

tip n tell indicator sticker
shockwatch indicator sticker

Use labels

Whatever method of shipping you choose, it is vitally important that your item is correctly labelled. John Pipe uses a variety of warning labels and stencils, from “Do Not Stack” to “Fragile Glass” or “Handle With Care.” We also always apply the internationally recognised “This Way Up,” “Keep Dry” and “Fragile” shipping symbols to all our cases. If you are placing your own labels, make sure they are not placed on corners or bottoms of boxes, so they are clearly visible. 

Insure and track

No matter how well packaged an item is, accidents can sometimes happen. In the case of fragile items, you should always look at getting insurance, especially if the item is valuable. Taking advantage of tracking services is also important so you are kept in the loop about your package. Making sure your item is covered against damage, and carefully tracked is important for your peace of mind. John Pipe International will always monitor your shipment and notify you of any delays (and of course your item’s safe delivery.)

To sum up…

Shipping fragile items can be a confusing and scary business. We hope this guide has been helpful. If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to get in touch with us. And if you’re looking for a reliable shipping company to handle your fragile items, be sure to check out John Pipe International. We’re experts in custom packing solutions and working with delicate items, and we can ensure your shipment is given the best possible protection.

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10 Details You Must Include in Your Export Packing List 2021

There’s a lot to do when it comes to exporting your goods. Once you’ve chosen between air freight, land freight or sea freight you’ve got to find a packing company. Once you’ve done that you need to think about your export documents and applying for packing credit. When it all becomes too much you’re left wondering whether it was even worth it.

Let’s squash that worry right away! John Pipe International have over 60 years of experience in this industry and we have seen it all. Really. Whether you’re sending 200 small items to the middle of Qatar or you’ve got a large machine you need to get to Antarctica, we can help. We’ve got some stories we can tell you…

packing list sign-off

But when it comes to your export packing list, you shouldn’t panic. Many of our customers worry about this document. Yes, it is very important. Everyone involved in the shipment of your export is going to need to use it at some point in the transportation. However, once you know what you need to include in your export packing list it couldn’t be easier.

In this article, we’ve explained exactly what details you need to include in your export packing list. Now, when it comes to exporting goods overseas you have nothing to worry about. But don’t forget, our team are only a phone call away if you have any questions!

What is a Packing List for Export?

A packing list for export is an important document used by yourself, your packers, freight forwarding company and everyone else involved in the process. It is used to keep track of the cargo as it makes its way from one destination to another.

An export packing document provides an itemised list of everything in your shipment. Relevant parties will use it along the way to check weights, dimensions and other details are correct. 

Every exporter is required to provide a detailed export packing list when they are sending goods overseas. Your export packing partner will be able to assist with this process, or get in touch with our team with any questions.

Explore our export packing and freight forwarding services and find out why we’ve earnt a solid reputation for delivering high-quality service.

We’re here to help. Contact John Pipe International today.

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Export Packing List Requirements

An export packing list is an itemised list of all of the items within a shipment. You must include key details about each item such as it’s volume and weight as well as necessary information such as the consignee’s contact details.

Much like the Incoterms created by the Department of Trade to allow properly written contracts, the purpose of this document is to streamline your shipment. Without an export packing list, nobody would know what was in any given shipment – particularly once it had been foil-wrapped and packed into an external wooden case for safer transport. 

That’s why freight forwarding companies and everyone else involved in the chain expect to see as much detail as possible on your export packing list. Here are 10 pieces of information that you must include on your export packing list:

1. Date

Fairly straightforward, your export packing list should include the date. This is beneficial to everyone involved as it gives you and the consignee evidence of when shipment took place. 

2. Shipper and exporter contact information

When putting together your packing list for export you should include contact details for the shipper and the exporter. This will help third parties later down the road if something goes wrong. It will also help you and your exporter mitigate risks and deal with any insurance claims.

3. Consignee contact information

A consignee is the term used to describe the recipient of the goods you are exporting. You must include their contact details on your export packing list in case anything gets lost or goes missing along the way. Including consignee contact information on your export documents is  

4. The origin address of cargo

One of the most important things to include on your export packing list is the origin address of cargo. If anything goes wrong on the journey or their is a problem with your goods the person responsible will need to know where to send your items to. It could also come in handy if the destination address can’t be located or their is a problem with delivery.

5. The destination address of cargo

Arguably the most important detail to include on your export packing list is the destination address of the cargo. Everyone involved in the process will look for this information. It is particularly important to include the destination address if you are using multi-modal freight forwarding, however, you always need to ensure this information is present on your packing list.

sign-off export packing list

6. Total number of packages within this shipment

We’ve seen it all when it comes to export packing and freight forwarding. Sometimes, a shipment will only contain one package. That’s when we’ll come in – our team will measure and weigh your item before building a custom wooden case to act as it’s external safety barrier. We’ve worked in the defence and aerospace industry and helped to pack large, heavy machinery for hundreds of businesses over the years.

Sometimes businesses are sending more than one package within a shipment. We’ve also helped individuals wrap and pack smaller items that are to be sent as part of a larger shipment. Once all the items have been packaged, they’ll be loaded into a case or container ready for transport. It is crucial to include how many packages are in your shipment as everyone involved in the transporting process and the receiver of your export can refer to this. It also covers you against loss or damage of the goods.

7. Detailed description of each package

As well as the number of individual packages in your shipment, you have to provide a detailed description of what each package contains on your export packing list. This will help everyone on your shipments journey and is needed for insurance purposes.

8. Volume and weight of each package

Just like a description is important, the individual volume and weight of each package needs to be on your export packing list. If there is any discrepancies with the weight of your cargo during it’s trip, your shipper will consult the packing document to find out whether something has gone missing or been removed.

9. Volume and weight of entire shipment

Without the volume and weight of the entire shipment, your shipper won’t know if there are any discrepancies from one destination to the next.

10. Commercial invoice number and shipment

Nowadays, most of the technical information you’ll need will be done online. That’s why it’s important to put your commercial invoice number and shipment on your list. People can quickly and easily get hold of all the information they need about your shipment but searching for it online.

Export Packing List Format

As long as you have all the necessary information that we have listed above on your export packing list then the format doesn’t matter as much. With that being said, it is important that you make sure the information is clear and concise so that any relevant parties can find the information they need quickly.

There are loads of free export packing list templates available as PDF or excel spreadsheets available online to download for free. While you may find these aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, they will give you a great example of what format is typically used when it comes to shipping goods internationally and getting your packing list sorted.

Don’t forget, your export packing company will be able to assist you with your list and answer any questions you might have. Our team love to help and we’re only a phone call away.

Export Packing List Example

John Pipe International have over 60 years of experience working with people like you to deliver trusted export packing, freight forwarding and logistics services. We have our own team of account managers who are more than happy to guide you through the process of your first export. Furthermore, they can manage all the details leaving you to get on with your busy schedule.

If you’d like to see an example of an export packing list, simply get in touch with our team and they can send you all the information that you need.

If you have any other questions related to your export packing list, or want to speak to one of our account managers about your upcoming project, simply click here to get in touch.

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Understanding Logistics: Export Packing and Freight

Logistics is an important part of any business. Simply defined as “the commercial activity of transporting goods to the customer”, logistics requires detailed organisation and planning. It might seem confusing at first, but don’t worry. We’re experts when it comes to export packing and freight – we’ll answer any questions you have.

What is Export Packing?

Exports are goods or services made in one country that are then shipped and sold in another country. Businesses of all sizes export goods, from global giants aiming to launch their latest product worldwide to startups dealing with their first international order.

When exporting their products, businesses will send bulk shipments to reduce costs and streamline the process. While this is a useful strategy to save you time and money, the risk of damage or loss is far greater when you export bulk goods.  

That’s where export packing comes in. Export packing is carefully designed and constructed to keep your goods safe during transit. It is the outermost layer of packaging, often made using wooden crates or boxes.   

Why is Export Packing Important?

While cardboard boxes are suitable for shipping small items, where bulk, high-value exports are concerned you need to ensure your goods arrive safely at their destination. Export packaging is built specifically for this purpose. 

You can have export packing designed specifically to meet the needs of your export. There is a packaging solution tailored to any type of goods. This includes:

  • Liquids
  • Dangerous goods
  • Machinery
  • Defence and aerospace equipment
  • And many more 

John Pipe International have over 60 years of experience designing packaging solutions for your exports, ensuring your goods arrive intact and undamaged. 

Types of Export Packing

The type of export packaging you require will depend on the goods themselves and their mode of transit. Wooden crates or cases can be used to protect your export, but you can take further precautions to keep your goods safe. We offer a range of case-making services to suit your needs and budget. 

Aluminium foil is a great material to use when packing exports. It is impervious to moisture, helping to prevent damp or rot over long periods. Often, we foil-wrap goods before placing them into wooden crates ready for transport.

The Benefits of Foil-Wrapping 

The main benefits of foil-wrapping your exports are safety and size reduction. Keeping your goods safe and secure is important as you don’t want them to arrive at their destination damaged. Foil-wrapping prevents moisture in the air from accessing your cargo, ensuring they arrive fresh and well-maintained. Once your products are wrapped, some air is extracted which lowers the ambient moisture levels and reduces the bulk. This means you could save money on further packaging and freight costs.

The Meaning of Freight

When talking about freight in logistics, we are referring to all goods transported in bulk. This can be done by train, truck, ship or aircraft. If you send large volumes of exports, you are dealing with freight. John Pipe International have over 60 years of experience providing freight services from the UK. We can manage your project from start to finish and ensure it arrives safely at its destination.

While the term refers to the bulk of goods being transported, the meaning of freight can differ depending on the mode of transport chosen. You can choose to transport your goods by air, land or sea. Each mode of freight transport has its own benefits, some of which are listed below.

Air Freight

Air freight is the term used to describe the transportation of bulk goods by aircraft. It is regarded as the fastest and most reliable way to get your export to its destination. Air travel gives you access to almost every destination across the globe, making it easy to get your goods where they need to be.

It is definitely the best choice in an urgent situation. The downside of air freight is the cost. As the fastest and most reliable transport option, it is also the most expensive. Speak to our team to get a quote for your air freight project or find a solution to work with your budget.

Land Freight

Land freight is the term given to bulk goods transported by truck or train. Road freight uses vehicles of all sizes to transport your freight from country to country. It is commonly used domestically to complete the final leg of your exports journey.

Rail freight can also cross borders, even continents where the rail infrastructure allows. Your cargo will be packed and loaded onto a freight train before making its journey to its destination.

Land freight is typically the most cost-effective and can be the fastest option for smaller journeys. When sea and air freight are concerned, your exports follow a travel path. Land freight can take the best route to minimise delays.

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