The shipment process is one of the most important aspects of international trade. Adequate packaging is important for the product to look good. The legal aspects are also important. If products are packed appropriately then you don’t have to worry about the damage that may occur while they are being shipped across the world. In this article, we will discuss how to pack your products and the important aspects they may have on your trade.

Labling The Packages

Labeling should be done with care. Mistakes may ruin or get your products lost. You should learn all the signs and symbols that are used when exporting products. International accepted languages should be used when writing your labels. The English language is considered to be a generally accepted language so you should write your symbols and marks in english. The fonts should be larg and clear to see so as not couse any confusion.

Labeling on the export product must provide the following important pieces of information:

  • The shipper’s mark
  • The country of origin
  • Weight markings (both kilos and Pounds)
  • The number of packages and their sizes
  • Handling marks (international pictorial symbols)
  • Cautionary markings, such as “This side up”
  • The port of entry
  • The labeling of hazardous material.

The difference between Packing and Packaging?

Packing and packaging have different meanings. They are often used interchangeably by people. Packing is the process of presenting the product to the customer. Packaging is the process of protecting the product from damage. So it’s important to distinguish the difference between these two.

Packaging can be defined as a marketing tool. Some marketers even like to hint that packaging is the 5th P in Marketing. Packaging can help to protect the product from damage but this is not its main purpose. The main purpose is to look appealing to sell the product. This can be done by giving it good visual images, texts, fabrics, and so on to encourage purchases. Needless to say that no consumer product can be exported or imported without some sort of outer covering.

Packing is concerned with containing, protecting, and preserving the product. This can also be an aid to the final presentation of the product to the client. The intention is to protect the product during the handling of the shipment. Packing can determine the success of the import/export of the transaction. If the product is not protected properly then the goods will be damaged or loss may even occur.

Benefits of Packing.

The importance and the way goods are packed can vary from product to product. Variables such as the mode of transport nature of goods should be considered when packing. Listed below are some of the benefits when packed appropriately.

Physical protection.

When goods are beaning transported they may be sespteble to vibration or even shocks. This can damage your products if they are not packed properly. Glasses and foods are not packed the same as other dry products. Good Packing can provide physical protection for goods from temperature, moisture, and dust.

Stacking or agglomeration

when shipping in bulk quantity packing can good for agglomeration. Large quantities can someties be packed together in order to decrease the space hence lower fright charge. For example you may diceide to pack cell-phones covers in one large box rather than each peace being packed indipendatly.

Benefits of Packaging


As stated above packaging can be a means of marketing. Consumer goods can be packaged in a way that can look attractive and grab attention. It can also be used for labeling or provide information to customers. More on that later.


Some packages can have features that can provide conceince for distribution, handeling, holding etc…


The packaging can have an important role in the security of the goods bening shipped. Good packaging can prevent theft of the product. Some tools can be used increase the security such as RFID tags and dye-packs. using packaging can be a means of protection of loss of product.

Packaging can have an impact on the cost and insurance of transporting the goods. packging of the product may be heavy for transporting and handling the fright. Some goods may be taped toggether and can only be lifted whith a fork lift. This will increace the cost of shipping but reduce the probabilty of theft and miss handling at the customes. The cost of packaging should be considered enugh to be competitvly priced. An exporter can and should consider these factors when packing the products for international shipments.

Physical Protection

In order for the goods to reach in the best condition. A well-perseved package must be protected from physical damage. This package must be protected from the point of production to its final destination point. The physical protection must be able to withstand a different mode of transport, long periods of time, and different climates.

The need for protection brings out the importance of the type of protection. As an example, if the product is not shrink raped or sealed properly then water may be able to get inside. This may ruin the product and be a major disagreement with the clients.

Legal Aspects

Incoterms stipulate that “the seller or in this case exporter must provide at his won expense the customary packing of goods unless it is tradition to dispatch the goods unpacked”. So as an exporter it is your responsibility to pack the goods in the appropriate manner that it should be. If the goods need protection then it is your responsibility as well.


To avoid misunderstanding the exporter should stipulate the necessary packing that is to do on the contract. Gatefarms states the type of packaging in the contract in order not to have a misunderstanding. In a country like Ethiopia, some kinds of packaging are not available in this case the necessary tools should be imported. This point is sometimes overlooked when negotiations are being done with the clients. This case should be agreed upon in order not to arise any disputes with the importer.

In order not to arise any disputes you should ask the importer if any regulations are implemented. this will help in ensuring that the products will be received smoothly by the client. More precations and advice may be obtained from the freight forwarders as well.