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How to Ship Any Goods

Commodity specific packaging guidance


In this final article on cargo packaging, you will find our recommended packaging methods for frequently shipped large and heavy items. This guidance will help ensure your item is safe, secure and ready for transportation.

How to Ship 5 Gallon / 20 Liter Cans

  • 5 gallon jerry cans must be over packed in individual secondary packaging (fiberboard cartons) to protect against puncture or abrasion.
  • Fiberboard cartons should be secured to a plastic or wooden pallets with shrink wrap and/or over pack slipcovers.
  • Over pack slip covers to cover the entire pallet to provide further protection from scrapping and abrasion.
  • Vertical Banding (2 bands each way) must be used to secure the over pack slip covers to the pallet and cargo.

55-Gallon / 200-Liter Drums

  • 55-gallon / 200-liter drums must be shipped on a plastic or hardwood pallet with plank gaps of less than 0.8in.
  • Pallets must be placed on top of 55-gallon / 200-liter drum(s) and pallet base to prevent movement and damage during transport.
  • Secure drum to pallet using a minimum of two metal or unbreakable plastic straps. Use corner cleats/strap protectors between the drum and straps to prevent cosmetic strap damage during transit.
  • When shipping multiple drums, band the drums together before securing to the pallet base.
  • A maximum of three pallets can only be accepted and the combined weight of the shipment must not exceed one ton.
  • Over pack/slipcovers must be used to cover the entire pallet. This will protect the drums from dents and abrasions while in transit. 2-ply or 3-ply cardboard should be used.

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  • Bags / Sacks must be shipped on plastic pallet or wooden pallet with gaps of less than 0.8 in.
  • To prevent from shifting or sliding during transit Bags / Sack should be placed in corrugated cardboard trays and wrapped with 70 gauge shrink wrap.
  • Over pack slipcovers must be used to cover the entire pallet. This protects bags from scraps and abrasions. If paperboards are used, they should applied to all 4 sides and the top and secured with shrink wrap.
  • Vertical banding (2 bands each way) must be used to secure the over pack slip covers to the pallet and cargo. This will also work to prevent shifting.

Cable Reels and Spools

  • Cable reels are not suitable for loose transportation and must be packed on a pallet.
  • To avoid potential surcharges, load the cable reel sideways on an appropriately sized pallet so that items can be safely stacked on top.
  • Heavy reels need to be braced to the pallet with wooden blocking (above 110lbs / 50 kgs).
  • The reel and blocking must then be firmly secured to the pallet with 2 horizontal and 2 vertically placed metal or unbreakable plastic strapping.
  • If cables wound to the reel are highly sensitive, we recommend crating the reel or covering the reel with a corrugated shell.

Car and Other Vehicle Tires

  • Car and other vehicle tires must be shrinkwrapped to a standard pallet and then secured using metal or unbreakable plastic banding. 
  • Cardboard, wooden or plastic protector boards must be placed on top of the tire wall to prevent damage to the tires and other shipments.
  • If using customized car tire boxes, they should be suitable for the weight of the tire and have flat, non-rounded edges. 
  • Loose tires will not be transported by DHL.

Carpets and Textile Rolls

  • Always roll carpets/fabrics along the shortest length.
  • To prevent bending, the textile or carpet should be wrapped around a strong, spiral wound cardboard tube for support.
  • It is critical to protect the end of the rolls from damage with heavy duty paperboard or hardboard.
  • Place rolls inside a thick plastic bag, or wrap the roll multiple times with strong plastic sheeting, sealing ends and seams with polypropylene tape or cable ties.
  • For pieces <66lbs and/or <48in in length place wrapped bag(s) inside a double-walled corrugated box suitable for stacking. Follow the h-tape sealing method outlined in the DHL General Packing guide on
  • For multiple pieces and/or pieces >66lbs If the item is longer than 48in or more than 66lbs, consider packing it inside a crate, or on a fork-movable base.
  • Do not bundle multiple carpet and fabric rolls together. Instead, place rolls inside a specialist crate or package individually in cardboard.
  • Carpet and fabric rolls can be stacked on a pallet but should follow an alternating stacking pattern (refer to photo illustration above) and must be strapped and shrinkwrapped for stability.

Engines and Other Vehicle Parts

  • Engines and other vehicle parts must be shipped in a crate or securely braced to a pallet and squarely covered with reinforced cardboard and edge protectors.
  • All liquids / fuels must be drained from the engine or part prior to transportation.
  • Parts must not overhang from the pallet itself, as this risks damage during handling. If parts do not squarely fit onto a pallet, they should be placed inside a crate or on an appropriately sized fork-movable base.


  • IBC / Totes are plastic containment devices housed within an aluminum tubing frame used to ship liquid material.
  • Over pack slip covers to cover the entire pallet to protect bags from scrapping and abrasion.
  • Vertical Banding (2 bands each way) must be used to secure the over pack slip covers to the pallet and cargo.

Industrial Equipment

  • Industrial equipment must be shipped in a crate or securely braced to a pallet and squarely covered with reinforced cardboard & edge protectors.
  • All liquids/fuels must be completely drained from the equipment prior to transportation.
  • Large top heavy items should be loaded on a wide base to help prevent instability during transportation.
  • Surcharges apply for shipments that cannot be safely stacked upon.

Large Electrical Items

  • Ensure empty space within the box is filled with void filler when using the original manufacturer’s packaging.
  • If the manufacturer’s packaging does not have double walls, overpack the TV in a suitable double-walled cardboard box.
  • When shipping multiple TVs, place shipment on a pallet large enough to avoid overhang. Secure TVs to pallet using unbreakable plastic straps and then shrink-wrap. To allow safer top loading, place a cushioning material on top of the boxes with paperboards covering all sides.

Long Tubes/Pipes/Binds

  • Long tubes and pipes exceeding 118in will not be accepted for transport. Those exceeding 48in will incur a surcharge.
  • Long rectangular cardboard is structurally very weak and easily susceptible to damage.
  • When shipping longer items, opt for triangular packaging or, if necessary, spiral wound tubes inside a square outer box. The outer box will prevent the item from rolling during transit and becoming damaged.
  • Non-stackable tubes, including those too weak to stack, will incur a surcharge.
  • Ship long items weighing greater than 66lbs inside a fork-movable crate.
  • Do not let tubes overhang on top of a pallet. The pallet or crate must cover the full length of the item being shipped.
  • Secure pipes to the pallet with metal or unbreakable plastic straps and use plastic or wooden blocking at the ends of the pallet to ensure that the items do not slide out during transit.

Panel Glass/Windscreens

  • Panel glass and vehicle panels must always be packaged inside a box or wooden crate to ensure protection from torsional forces, other boxes, and material-handling equipment used during normal handling.
  • Surround the panel or glass edge with Styrofoam piping and fully cover with bubble wrap.
  • Specially molded Styrofoam inserts suitable for the size of the outer box should be placed around all edges of the glass or panel.
  • The panel and molded inserts must then be placed inside a two-wall corrugated outer box.
  • The Styrofoam inserts should prevent any movement of the panel or glass within the box and maintain a minimum separation distance of 2.36in from the outer box wall.
  • Affix ‘GLASS’ special handling labels on all sides of the box.

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