When you order crates and skids, you probably expect to provide details on the size, shape, and weight of your product. But knowing the final destination of your shipment is also vitally important to the people responsible for the packaging.

Just like it’s important for your industrial packagers to know whether your product is top-heavy or sensitive to moisture, being aware that your product is being shipped overseas will influence the packaging design. Successful international shipments require extra research, planning, and attention to detail.

Consider the wafer stepper machine that was shipped from a semiconductor manufacturer in Andover, MA, to a remote military base in India. The customer’s site was separated from the airport by many miles of rough roads. Since bumping along on unpaved roads would introduce the risk of damage from shock and vibration, the 4000-pound crate was airlifted to the base instead. It arrived at its final destination suspended in a cargo net beneath a helicopter!

Prepare for a Successful Shipment

Even if your package will follow a more traditional path to your customer’s site, there are several factors that should be considered for all international shipments.

Check the weather report.
Extremes in temperature or moisture can be hazardous to your shipment. So it is important to know whether your package is scheduled for delivery to the Middle East at the height of summer or Southeast Asia during monsoon season. If your package is likely to be exposed to rain, for example, your packager might suggest a layer of polyethylene or other water-proofing material on top of the crate to prevent water from soaking into the wood.

Consider the modes of transport.
It’s important to know exactly how your product will move from your location to your customer’s site. If it will travel by train, your packager might suggest vibration-absorbing foam inside the crate to prevent nuts and bolts from unscrewing themselves during the journey. Similarly, equipment traveling by cargo ship is likely to be wrapped with a vapor bag before it is crated to protect it from corrosive seawater. During flight, rapid changes in pressure and temperature can put your product at risk from moisture trapped in the air inside the crate. So your packager may use desiccant or volatile corrosion inhibiter (VCI) to prevent condensation damage in crates that will travel by plane.

Review the itinerary.
Consider the entire travel route, as well as any layovers, to help avoid a shipping disaster. While you are likely quite familiar with the beginning of the journey, it’s well worth the extra time and effort to discover the details of what your package will encounter farther from home. For example, learning about the state of the roads and the distance from the seaport or airport to the final destination will help the packager make appropriate choices when designing the cushioning and bracing. Also, if your crate might be left on the tarmac or in another unheated location for any length of time, moisture abatement techniques will be required to avoid damage from condensation that could form inside the crate when it is eventually moved to a heated facility.

Know the customs inspection process.
Before your package can officially cross the borders of the destination country, it must pass through customs. Rules vary, but at the very minimum, the crate must be stamped with an IPPC ISPM-15 certification stamp to verify that it is constructed exclusively of heat-treated lumber. Sometimes officials may also need to view the contents of the crate before allowing it through the checkpoint. To prevent a spontaneous un-crating by a curious customs officer, your industrial packager can add an “inspection port” to the crate. This removable 12” x 12” panel acts like a window so officials can peek inside the crate without fully disassembling it.

CDC Packaging: Preparing International Shipments Since 1993

When we are designing packaging for an export shipment, knowing the final destination is just as important as knowing the product’s dimensions. We pay attention to the climate, modes of transportation, travel itinerary, and customs process as we prepare your product for shipment. Contact us today to take advantage of our export expertise!