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    Export Packaging


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 

    Q. What are some of the technical aspects of packaging? 

    Physical and chemical protection. Permanent protection can be provided by treating surfaces with protective substances such as anti-rust zinc-phosphate-based paint. Products such as waxes and resins, which are removed when the goods are unpacked, can provide temporary protection. Anti-corrosive papers, thin film protection, protective oils and greases, silica gels and volatile corrosion inhibitors are effective means of controlling corrosion. Waterproof barriers can be supplemented with polyethylene or heat-welded fabrics, with or without sachets of dehydration inside the water-proofed space. Proper ventilation can also control condensation.

    Mechanical protection. Mechanical protection, provided to control strains during shipment (compression, bending, torsion, shearing, jolting and vibration) can be supplemented by space fillers inside the package to prevent the merchandise from moving within the package. Fragile items must be treated differently and isolated from the container walls by means of suspension devices (shock absorbers and damping devices to minimize vibration).

    Protection against theft. Effective protection against theft demands a series of precautions. Hooping with metal or even plastic straps prevents entry and also strengthens packages and improves closure. The contents of the packages should not be indicated on the outermost package. Goods should be shipped by the most direct route possible.

    Marking. Marking, like packaging, is the responsibility of the exporter and is carried out at his or her expense. It is important to note that carriers and insurers are relieved of liability if marking is defective. The cost of marketing is to be included in the price quoted. The exporter should make use of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recommendations on marking.

    Packing list. On completion of packing and marketing, a packing list is prepared with the following particulars for each package: marks, numbers, gross weight in kg, net weight in kg, dimensions in cm (length, breadth, height), volume and details of contents.

    This list also gives the total number of packages and their total gross weight and volume, and is an essential document since it is needed in particular for customs purposes when goods are exported or imported. It will be used by carriers, cargo handlers, warehouses and customers.

    Pallets. Pallets are used to assemble packages in a single unit load, thus speeding up handling and simplifying counting. Plastic stretch or shrink wraps can be used to keep goods loaded on a pallet together. Made of wood and easily manufactured, pallets are inexpensive and supplied free with the goods.

    Containers. A freight container should be strong enough to be suitable for repeated use. It should be specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods by one or more modes of transport without intermediate reloading. It should be fitted with devices permitting ready handling, particularly its transfer from one mode of transport to another. It should be designed so as to be easy to fill and to empty. It generally has an internal volume of one cubic metre (35.3 cubic feet) or more.