How to pack fragile items for shipment overseas

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Shipping fragile items can be a daunting task, especially when you’re sending them overseas. For e-commerce businesses in Pakistan, ensuring that fragile products reach their destinations without damage is crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction and protecting their reputation. With the rising expectations of customers and the increasing demand for high-quality products, it has become imperative for businesses to practise secure packaging techniques to safeguard fragile items during transit. 

If your e-commerce business is still new to international shipping for fragile products, we give you insight into the challenges you may face and expert tips on how to package them securely.

The risks and challenges of shipping fragile items

Shipping fragile items poses several risks and challenges that e-commerce businesses must address. Fragile products are susceptible to damage during transportation, especially when they travel long distances. As packages are passed from one person to another during the various stages of the shipping process, it increases the likelihood of accidents and mishandling.

Furthermore, it takes care and attention to handle fragile products. Delicate glassware, electronics, or ceramic products, in particular, demand appropriate packaging to withstand external pressures and shocks. Without proper protection, these items are prone to breakage, which could lead to dissatisfied customers and costly returns.

Best practices and techniques for packing fragile items

Learning how to pack fragile items, from small to large, is essential for any e-commerce business to ensure its safe delivery. As such, we give you our expert tips on how to package fragile items for shipping:

1. Use high-quality packaging materials

Using high-quality materials is paramount when shipping fragile items as it ensures optimal protection during overseas shipping. Here are the best options for packing materials:

  • Bubble wrap: Bubble wrap is a popular choice for cushioning fragile items. It consists of small air-filled bubbles that create a protective layer around the item, reducing the risk of impacts and minimising the chance of breakage.
  • Packing peanuts: Packing peanuts are lightweight, loose-fill materials that fill empty spaces within the packaging. They provide cushioning and help prevent movement during transit. For a more sustainable option, use biodegradable packing peanuts made from renewable materials, like cornstarch, which offer the same level of protection.
  • Packing foam spray: Packing foam spray is a versatile option for filling voids and providing cushioning. It expands to conform to the shape of the item, providing a secure fit and protection against impacts. If you want a more environmentally friendly choice for packing foam sprays, look for materials made of low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Expanding foam packaging: Expanding foam packaging is another option for securing fragile items within a box. The foam expands and hardens, conforming to the shape of the item and creating a protective barrier. This innovative packaging option provides excellent shock absorption and prevents the movement or shifting of fragile items during transit.
  • Air pillows: Air pillows are inflatable cushions that fill empty spaces within the packaging. They offer lightweight protection and help prevent movement during transit. 
  • Cardboard: Cardboard dividers can be cut, folded, or shaped to fit the specific dimensions of fragile items, providing structural support during transportation and adding an extra layer of protection.
  • Foam or moulded pulp inserts: Polyethylene or polyurethane foam inserts offer exceptional cushioning and shock absorption properties. They can be custom-moulded or pre-cut to match the shape of the fragile items, ensuring a snug fit and providing reliable protection during transit. If you want a more sustainable option for foam inserts, you can go for moulded pulp inserts, an alternative made from recycled paper. Like their polyethene or polyurethane counterparts, you can customise them to fit the shape of the fragile product.
  • Partitioned boxes: Partitioned boxes come with multiple compartments or sections, allowing for the separation of individual fragile items or components. This solution provides a convenient and reliable packaging option, ensuring each item has its designated space, minimising the risk of damage caused by contact with other items.

2. Wrap items separately

Packaging fragile items individually creates a protective barrier that prevents direct contact between them. This practice is vital because direct contact can lead to scratches, scuffs, and other damage caused by friction during transit. The individual wrapping acts as a safeguard, providing a buffer between the items and minimising the potential for surface damage.

Furthermore, individual packaging for fragile products offers additional cushioning and shock absorption. Each item, when wrapped individually, forms its own protective barrier. In the event of an impact or rough handling, the individual layers of wrapping absorb and distribute the forces independently. This distribution of impact forces helps reduce the risk of breakage, ensuring that fragile items reach their destination intact and undamaged.

Moreover, individual wrapping isolates each fragile item, which is particularly beneficial when packing items with different shapes, sizes, or materials. By keeping the items separate, you prevent them from coming into direct contact and potentially causing damage to one another. This is especially critical for fragile components or delicate edges that require extra protection.

3. Label packages as fragile

Labelling packages as fragile is essential to ensure proper handling throughout the shipping process. Clear and visible labels alert shipping personnel and carriers to exercise caution. You can affix ‘Fragile’ stickers or labels prominently on the package. These labels draw attention to the delicate nature of the contents and remind couriers to handle the package with care. 

Additionally, include a ‘Handle with Care’ message on the package, emphasising the importance of gentle treatment. This serves as an additional reminder to shipping personnel and carriers to take extra precautions. For more information about packaging your product, you can check out our tips on packaging products for success.

4. Consider double-boxing for extra protection

For extremely fragile items or those with high value, double-boxing provides an additional layer of protection. You can do this by placing the securely packed fragile product inside a sturdy inner box. Make sure there is enough cushioning material between the item and the inner box to prevent movement. 

Then, fill the space between the inner box and the outer box with packing peanuts, crumpled paper, air pillows, or expanding foam packaging. This acts as a shock absorber and provides an extra buffer zone. Thereafter, select a larger, durable outer box to house the inner box. Fill any remaining empty space with additional cushioning material.

3. The importance of proper packaging for fragile products

E-commerce is expected to grow in Pakistan with an annual growth rate of 5.89%, according to Statista. With more competitors venturing into the industry, you must set your e-commerce business up for success and keep up in every aspect of delivering exemplary customer service, especially when transporting your products safely to your customers. As such, when you’re selling fragile goods, proper packaging is crucial more than ever. 

With proper packaging, you significantly reduce the risk of returns due to breakages, leaks or other forms of damage. By reducing returns due to damage, you can save on shipping costs, restocking fees, and potential losses. Additionally, this can potentially lead to improved customer satisfaction, positive reviews, and, ultimately, increased sales. Therefore, investing in proper packaging for fragile items can yield long-term profitability for e-commerce businesses.

How a reliable shipping and logistics company can help you with packaging

Shipping and logistics companies play a vital role in properly packaging fragile items for overseas shipping. Their expertise, guidance, and solutions ensure that fragile items are packaged securely and reach their destination without any damage. If you’re looking for a courier to ship your fragile items overseas, the best choice would be DHL Express.

DHL Express, as a leading global shipping and logistics company, excels in providing invaluable support to your businesses in this aspect. We understand the unique challenges associated with shipping delicate products and possess the knowledge to guide Pakistan businesses in proper packaging techniques. Through our expertise, we can help you identify the most suitable packing materials, methods, and practices to ensure the safe transportation of your fragile product. Open a DHL Express account for your business today to experience our unparalleled service yourself.

For other tips on how to ship products overseas, you can check out our guide to shipping products internationally.