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Importance of packaging for international express delivery

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Navigating the intricate world of international shipping is a thrilling journey. Within this dynamic landscape, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of proper packaging in ensuring your export items travel safely and efficiently from one part of the globe to another. This not only guarantees customer satisfaction but also enhances your business reputation.  

DHL Express is committed to deliver your shipments quickly and safely. At the same time, the success of this also depends on how well your shipment is prepared, as the shipper typically best understands their shipment nature and would be able to determine the right packing mechanism for the goods being shipped. 

Understanding the difference between packing for domestic and international shipping 

The differences between packaging for domestic and international shipping are pronounced.  

Domestic shipping often involves shorter distances and may adhere to relatively more relaxed requirements. As such, custom shipping boxes or special packing methods for shipping might be less frequently needed.  

In contrast, international shipping demands far more rigour due to the complexity and variety of regulations across different countries. They also endure longer travel durations, potentially rough handling, and variations in climate, all of which can affect the shipment’s integrity. This requires adherence to international packaging guidelines, the use of robust packaging materials, and even custom shipping labels. 

These characteristics make international shipping packaging not only more intricate but necessitate a deeper understanding and meticulous attention to detail, emphasising the indispensable role of proper packaging in global trade. 

To equip you with the best packaging practices for the type of goods you transport, we've curated these crucial guidelines to help your shipment arrive in excellent condition

1. Choose suitable packaging materials 

Packaging is not a one-size-fits-all approach, especially for international express delivery. Careful consideration of the material, strength, nature of the goods, and environmental factors is essential in ensuring that your shipment reaches its destination securely and reflects your commitment to quality and sustainability.

Factors to consider when choosing packaging materials 

Preparation for international express delivery commences with the selection of suitable packaging materials. This crucial step remains key, irrespective of your operations' size, be it a small business shipping boxes of goods overseas or personal parcel delivery. The material's strength is particularly paramount, especially for international shipping, where packages often face more stress.  

DHL Express recommends considering specifications such as the: 

  • Burst-Test or Mullen Test to measure a box's strength against external pressure and rough handling 
  • Edge-Crush-Test or ECT to gauge the stackability of corrugated cardboard boxes or fiberboard 
  • Seam strength to assess the load needed to crush or break an envelope or a flyer seam 
  • Tensile strength to understand the material's resistance against breaking when pulled or stretched 

As a global leader in international shipping and delivery, DHL Express provides our customers with a variety of tried and tested packaging supplies. One such signature solution is the DHL Flyer Bag, which has a minimum elongation (stretch) of 35cm prior to failure, and a tensile strength of MD/TD 32.5Mpa. The Flyer Bag can also hold 30% more weight along its seams, ensuring it can survive the conditions of international shipping. 

Opting for custom purpose-built shipping boxes 

Additionally, the shipment contents' nature (fragile, liquid, perishable) will determine the need for custom shipping boxes with specific padding or packing labels for shipping. Weight and size limitations are also vital to consider, as shipping boxes for small business may require different specifications than larger shipments. Delicate items might need custom shipping boxes featuring targeted padding, logos, or supplementary protection to withstand the rigours of international transit. Conversely, non-fragile items usually fare well with standard shipping boxes. Remember, the boxes and packaging you opt for serve as your shipment's premier line of defence during its journey. 

Considering sustainable packaging materials 

In this era of environmental consciousness, businesses should also consider using eco-friendly packaging materials. Such materials are often recyclable and reduce the carbon footprint, enhancing the company's public image. Opting for eco-friendly packaging not only reflects responsible stewardship of the planet but can also resonate with customers, aligning your brand with broader societal values. 

2. Consider your package’s weight and dimensions 

Understanding your package's weight and dimensions greatly enhances your international shipping experience. Be aware that carriers offer varying shipment limits, and an oversized or overweight package might necessitate extra charges. Hence, dimensional or volumetric weight calculation for international shipping charges becomes a strategic step, ensuring cost-effective shipping and reduced packaging-related expenses for you and your recipient. This aspect becomes particularly vital while handling large and heavyweight shipments

3. Securely wrap and cushion all items 

Thorough wrapping and cushioning are indispensable to guarantee your items' safety during transit. Traditional materials like bubble wrap, foam peanuts, and air pillows rank among the best packing methods for shipping fragile items, providing a protective cushion. These precautions drastically cut down potential damage from knocks and jostles, becoming critical for businesses and individuals keen on safeguarding their valuable items during transport. 

Other additional measures you can take include: 

  • Filling all space in the box and leaving no empty space to avoid your contents shifting and potentially being damaged during transit 
  • Maintaining a 6cm distance between the item being shipped and the external walls or corners to allow for movement and better distribute pressure across the entire package 
  • Wrapping items individually if shipping multiple items in a single package, and using dividers as and when appropriate 

DHL Express also recommends two main packing methods to optimise the delivery experience for customers: 

Basic packing method 

The basic packing method involves placing the item directly into a shipping box that fits its size while adhering to the measures recommended above. This method is widely used for non-fragile and robust items. However, care must be taken to use the right amount of cushioning materials to fill void spaces, preventing movement within the box during transit. Properly sealing the box with pressure-sensitive plastic tape helps ensure the contents stay secure. 

Box-in-box packing method 

For more fragile or valuable items, the box-in-box method provides additional protection. Here, the item is placed inside a smaller box, surrounded by cushioning material. This smaller box is then placed within a larger shipping box with more cushioning materials. This double-layered protection significantly reduces the risk of damage and is ideal for sensitive goods. 

Packing for liquids and powders 

Special attention is required when shipping liquids and powders. For liquids, it's essential to use leak-proof and inner seal containers. A plastic bag should envelop these containers, sealed securely. Absorbent materials like sponges or paper towels can provide additional protection against spills. 

Powders and fine grains require similarly rigorous packaging to avoid loss or damage during transport. They must be contained within strong, securely sealed bags or containers that prevent spillage. Placing these containers within a solid box with ample cushioning material ensures the contents remain intact throughout the journey. 

4. Seal packages securely 

Sealing your packages securely is one of the final yet vital steps in the packaging process. Employing strong packing tape not only deters tampering but also guarantees your package's integrity throughout its journey. DHL Express recommends using pressure-sensitive plastic tape at least 48mm wide, ensuring the stability and integrity of the package. Furthermore, the H taping method, where the tape is applied along the seams to form the letter 'H', deters tampering and offers optimal closure.  

Reinforcing the package's edges and openings is not only about aesthetics but is a crucial step in guaranteeing that your items reach their destination safely and securely. It reflects your commitment to quality and care in international shipping, and can contribute to a positive perception from your customers. 

5. Adhere to all labelling, documentation, and customs requirements 

Crystal clear and accurate labelling on packages with easily visible recipient details, complemented with a detailed packing list for the shipment, facilitates smooth customs clearance. Rigorous compliance with international shipping and packaging requirements is similarly crucial to prevent unnecessary delays and potential penalties. Additionally, comprehending and adhering to the specific customs requirements of your shipment's destination country is key. 

To enhance identification and inject professionalism, consider using custom international shipping labels. Additional markings for special handling instructions and fragile items alert handlers to exercise extra care. Including a return shipping label can also prove advantageous in case of return logistics needs. 

Requesting a special handling label for your shipment 

Special handling labels play a vital role in guiding the transport, handling, and storage of your shipment during transit. For example, visible special handling instructions such as "This Way Up," showing the direction that the package must be handled, or "Fragile, Handle with Care," indicating that the package must be treated gently. Ensuring these labels are applied by the shipper prior to courier collection can assist in appropriate care during transit.  

Additionally, it's essential to display the shipment label clearly on the top surface of the shipment box, and to place it so that it's wholly visible on one surface without covering seams or interfering with other labels or tapes. These practices, along with the use of a self-adhesive clear window pouch for loose documents, ensure that your shipment moves swiftly through DHL’s network, reinforcing the significance of precise labelling for successful international shipping. 

Ensure your international shipment arrives safely with DHL Express

These guidelines, paired with your own experience and understanding of packaging methods, can significantly enhance your items' chances of arriving in perfect condition. Your packing strategy directly influences your shipment's journey, from your door to the final destination.

Unsure how to package your shipment properly? To further assist you in the packing process, DHL Express Vietnam offers free consultations on how to pack your shipments for international shipping. Get in touch with our Certified International Specialists today for up-to-date packaging advice that will optimise your international shipping experience. With our unrivalled expertise in handling and delivering packages across the globe, we’re here to ensure the process is seamless and stress-free. Our customs services and shipping advice are crafted to simplify the international delivery process so you can confidently ship to anywhere in the world.

Create a business account today and commence your global express shipping journey with DHL Express. New account customers can receive up to 50% off on international express shipping charges, giving you significant cost savings’ advantage over your competitors.