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Choosing the Right Export Packaging

If you are just moving into the export market or are considering improving your packaging, then there are several factors to consider when deciding on the best materials and methods to use.

There is also international legislation to consider, along with ensuring the safety and security of your goods. Here is a basic guide to what you should thinking about when deciding on export packaging, but the experts at Holmes Mann are also on hand should you need further advice.


The main purpose of packaging for exports is ensuring adequate protection for your goods. The materials and methods you choose will depend on how you are shipping your products and the items you are sending, but strength and security are of the utmost importance. Heavy duty cardboard boxes filled with packaging materials can provide excellent levels of protection, and for larger loads pallets can be the answer to ensuring cargo protection and efficiency. Generally, air cargo needs less packaging for protection than items sent by sea.


You should do all you can to minimise the risk of your cargo being tampered with or even stolen. Secure straps and shrink-wrapping can act as a deterrent to help prevent unscrupulous activity. It is also a good idea to keep your packaging as plain as you can. Highlighting the details of the contents, such as brand names, on the outside of your packaging can actually make your cargo more of a target for thieves.


Your budget will obviously be a consideration when choosing your export packaging, but it can be a false economy to compromise on quality. At the same time, you should not invest too heavily in unnecessary protection unless you are shipping particularly delicate or sensitive goods.

Wood Packaging

If you are considering using packaging made of wood, you need to be aware of export legislation aimed at preventing the spread of pests and diseases. ISPM 15, for example, requires that wood materials thicker than 6mm must be fumigated or heat-treated in order to gain a ‘wheat stamp’.

Dangerous Goods

There are strict regulations in place governing both the outer and inner packaging of dangerous goods. It is best to seek professional advice if you are in doubt.

Perishable Goods and Food

The rules governing exports to countries outside of the EU will vary depending on your intended destination. Within the EU, all vegetables and fruit must have their country of origin displayed and organic products must be labelled. It is a good idea to get expert help if you are unsure of the regulations governing your particular type of product.

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