Global Product Sourcing - Development - Marketing & Fulfillment
Santa Monica - Beijing +1 (877) 409-3998

Packaging for Container Shipping

Packaging for Container Shipping

Designing packaging for your products takes more than just getting it into a box for shipping and making them look good.  If you haven’t thought about how your packing/boxes will be used during all phases of your shipping, you will come to find out on your first shipment how much damage can occur in the container.

When your manufacturer is filling a container, they are supposed to maximize space and get as much into the container as possible to minimize costs and get as much shipped as possible.  They’re not engineers or heavy thinkers – and they most certainly won’t arrange/rearrange the container to care for your items.  They’re on a tight schedule and are working for low wages, so once something goes in – it’s in, no matter what else goes on top of it.

When most of our clients consider packaging, they are mainly concerned about protecting the contents from bumps and drops in the final segment of shipping which is USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc. However, what they rarely think of, and what their manufacturers won’t care to tell them is what the actual conditions their products will be in when shipping considerable quantities in a container over the ocean – alone or with other unknown items around, under, or on top of them.

Packaging is designed with a knowable crush weight, stack height, etc.

Take a look at the photos on the right. They show how important it is for your manufacturer to understand how many of your boxes can stack on top of each other without crushing those on the bottom. 

Then you need to do the math and determine how they will fit into the container.  If your boxes can only go so high, what about the remaining container?  Will other things go on top?  How dense can they be?  Can your items handle the load?

Do the math to figure out how your boxes will have to be stacked in the container

Sometimes it is necessary to redesign your boxes and internal packaging inserts to increase the weight capacity of the box, allowing more to be stacked on top of it.  This may increase costs, but it will reduce damage and allow full use of container space.

You’ll have to do the math and determine what makes sense.  The important thing is that you need to think of these things in advance before your first container arrives and you have %25 damage from crushed boxes and shifted loads.

Design packaging carefully, dimensions add as much cost as weight

Additionally, keep in mind what changing box weight AND dimensions will do to  your final shipping from fulfillment to the customer. Remember, there are dimensional weights, so a couple of inches on a larger box can increase your shipping costs to your customer considerably. 

If you know the acceptable weight plus width, height, length for FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc. you can build your box and internal packaging within those limits to get the best results.

If you take the time to think it through, you’ll find a balance that works.  The last thing you want is to get your first container with a lot of damage, then get your next order with beefed up boxes and find out that your local shipping costs doubled. 

We’ve seen this cycle many times, and it is ugly.  After all of your hard work, don’t put yourself in that position.  A little forethought and planning will solve a lot of problems and headaches.