In general, everything is wrapped with packaging when it is transported. Packaging plays an important role to ensure shipped cargo is protected until it is received. How to optimize packaging for international shipping?

In China, it is normal for cargo to be delivered safely without issue. However, circumstances are different for domestic cargo and international cargo.

Let’s take a look at packaging and what you need to be careful with when planning to send cargo to overseas.

This time, let’s take a look at international transport packaging.

Cargo is sometimes poorly handled overseas

When it comes to international transport, sometimes cargoes are handled carelessly. For example, do you know on occasions that suitcases are broken, after they are left the airport when flying internationally?

I have heard from friends that the wheels of their suitcase went missing.
Overseas, regardless of what and whose luggage they handle, they handle the goods carelessly.

Cargo package by Air and Sea shipment

It is basic knowledge to keep air cargo packaging light and sea cargo packaging strong. When using wood, ensure that you check the regulations for using wooden materials in an exporting country.

There are more countries where we cannot import without using wood that is heat treated or fumigated and has approved marking.

We may be transporting harmful bugs to other countries without fumigating wooden materials, therefore it is very important to follow these regulations.

Packaging for Air shipment

Air freight for air cargo is calculated by weight or volume weight.
As it reduces the freight by reducing the packaging weight, we tend to choose lighter packaging materials.

Volume weight is explained in another blog.

The main packaging used for air transportation is carton cardboard and if wood, it is a wooden crate.

Use double walled cartons for transportation

It is not safe to use normal carton cardboard which is used for domestic transportation. A freight forwarder often uses double walled cartons, which are referred to as double cartons.

A double carton contains two layers of corrugated cardboard with liner boarding between them. They have double the thickness of normal cartons.

When shipping by air, wooden packaging is used for fragile, precision machinery and heavy cargo to ensure it cannot move during transportation.

Packaging for Sea Shipment

When lashing is not firmly fixed for sea shipment, the cargo may move when they are being lifted on the vessel or during sea transport.

For large cargo, we need to choose the tougher packaging for cargo safety, and we also need to consider the water leaks during the transportation.

Water Leakage problem by LCL shipment

With LCL, as a variety of cargo is loaded into the same container, individual cargoes need to be packed for double stacking. Otherwise, they may not accept the cargo by CFS.

Also, in China CFS, they may process their work outside and not inside the warehouse. It is okay when it’s the dry season but when it’s the rainy season, they may have a sudden squall and the cargo may get wet for a short period.

Condensation problem

Condensation happens mainly during winter and we often hear the cartons get wet by the container wall.

In addition to this, it is rare case, but when they load a container onto a vessel, the gantry crane operator can make a mistake and create a hole in the container, which allows rain water to enter.

Machinery Packing

When transporting machinery, barrier packaging is often used. Barrier packaging is vacuumed packing method. Material called barrier metal is used to prevent moisture getting through.

The product is packed with drying agent using a vacuum cleaner like machine, it sucks the air out from the inside bag.

In addition to this, they are packed with a wooden crate or tri-wall. A vessel travelling towards Southeast Asia will experience different temperature and humidity conditions.

Therefore, to prevent rust and mold, these cargoes will be shipped in a vacuumed state.

Wooden Packing Material and Packaging Method

There are different varieties of wooden packaging such as living trees, veneer, and ISPM NO.15 treated wood.

Veneer is not treated as wooden material for exporting material. It is categorized as processed wood which is glued together and it will not need to be fumigated in.

Veneer is cheap and it is not treated as wood, therefore it is an excellent form for packaging material. However, it is not load bearing so you need to be careful when using veneer for heavy cargo.

Closed box

Closed boxes are often used in general. All sides of cubic walls are covered with wood and you are unable to see the contents.

A disadvantage of using this box is that we have to open this box for customs inspection.

When sending expensive products, a closed box may be chosen for anti-theft purposes, which is an advantage of this packaging.

Open Crate and Crate packing

Open crate is called “Crate”. There are gaps between wooden packaging and you can see the contents.

The advantage of using a crate is it is lighter.

Pallet Packing

Pallets are made of plastic or wood, and the cargo is placed on top.
Products are packed into cartons and placed onto a pallet, then they are shrink wrapped or bundled.

If the cargo is loaded outside of a pallet, it will cause friction between other cargoes, therefore it is recommended to choose a larger pallet to prevent cargo to get damaged.

Skid Packing

A skid is framed with the size of the cargo. It is important to adjust the size of the packaging to the actual cargo to minimize the fare, however, it normally takes time to pack and this increases the packing cost.

When sending smaller parts, you may want to use a box you prepared in advance,
and when sending larger parts, you may want to use a pallet or a skid.


Packaging may sound easy for international logistics, however there are much more to it. Packaging has an important role to transport cargo safely.

There are options to use returnable packaging for environmental reasons these days. You may want to review your packaging method using this opportunity.