In this article we offer our advice and general packing tips to help you properly protect and ship your parcels and avoid the chance that your shipments may be damaged or that your insurance claim may be rejected due to improper packaging. The guidelines in this article are relevant for shipping with all carriers, but particularly with reference to DPD damaged parcel claims.
When you choose to ship with DPD, all your shipments are insured as standard up to 520 euros.* When a package is damaged you can start an investigation with us through your Sendcloud Panel within 7 days of the delivery and we will log the claim with DPD on your behalf. Please note that these guidelines are for advice only - the decision about whether or not a claim is liable rests with the carrier, DPD.
Outer packaging guidelines
When you prepare and pack a product for shipping, it’s important to bear in mind that your shipment may travel hundreds or even thousands of miles through a sophisticated shipping network before it reaches its intended destination. Throughout its journey, your parcel will pass through automated sorting, mechanical and physical handling and different climate conditions.
Protect against drops
- In the carrier sorting centres, all parcels are placed on conveyor belts which scan the labels and assign them to the correct locations ready for shipping. During this process, your parcel needs to be able to withstand small falls of up to 100cm on edges, corners and sides, as some conveyor belts are situated higher than others.
Use new, robust packaging boxes
- Always ensure that you use packaging boxes specifically designed for shipping goods. These boxes are more robust and stronger than standard boxes. These should be high quality and double corrugated cardboard. For heavy and delicate goods, opt for double walled, crush-proof boxes with equal edges, preferably new, whenever possible.
- Avoid reusing boxes, as the integrity of the box may have been damaged during the previous shipment. This means that you should avoid shipping parcels in the original packaging in which you receive them from the manufacturer. Often these boxes are designed for storage and not shipping.
- Do not use a box which is already showing signs of damage or having been affected from previous use or moisture damage. A package which shows signs of damage, leakage or is emitting an odour before being handed over to the carrier is not liable for a damage claim.
Choose the appropriate box for the contents
- The box must be suitable for the weight of the parcel contents. The manufacturer stamp on the box can indicate the construction type and the strength of the box. If possible, consider using a carrier approved shipping box which will clearly state the maximum weight limit per box type on the carrier’s website. Always make sure the packaging dimensions are in line with your chosen shipping method, or you may be liable to receive a surcharge.
- Never attach or bundle one or more packages together and avoid odd-shaped or rounded packaging which may be subject to special handling or be liable for a surcharge.
- Be especially attentive to the durability of your packaging materials when shipping internationally, as these shipments are handled by a network of aircrafts, conveyors, freight and people before reaching their destination.
Inner packaging guidelines
During the transportation journey, the contents of the packaging must be resistant to moving around within the box as it makes its way along the delivery network. Properly stuffing and securing the insides of the box is therefore just as important to the safety of your goods as the outer packaging material itself.
Use appropriate filling material
- Wrap each individual item within the parcel with protective cushioning or bubble wrap individually. Items which are sensitive to damp, dust or water damage must be contained within a sealed plastic bag for protection. Small items and separate accessories must be packed in a bag before placing in the outer packaging and properly cushioned against movement.
- Ensure a 6cm distance between the shipment contents and the walls of the box. The cushioning material should be at least 5cm thick and protects the contents from the bottom, top and sides of the box.
- Fragile goods and glassware should be wrapped several times individually and then placed in individual boxes before being placed into the outer box and filled with additional cushioning material.
Prevent objects from moving around the box
- Fill all void space in the box with additional filling. This is particularly applicable when shipping high value goods or glass containers and wine bottles. If a box is under filled there is a good chance that the items will slide around during transport, or that the box may be crushed.
- If a box is over-filled, it may burst, so make sure you choose a suitable size depending on the contents.
- Above all, make sure that the contents of the parcel cannot move around the box during transport.
- Suitable filling and internal packaging material includes: foam sheeting, plastic sheeting, encapsulated-air plastic sheeting or bubble wrap. Foam flakes and crumpled paper are not suitable because they are flattened under the weight. Custom made corrugated board or special polystyrene inserts are helpful for providing additional support to the exterior of the box. Use softer material for light goods and stronger material for heavier or sharp items.
- Be aware that special packaging materials and techniques are required when shipping liquids or powders.
Sealing the package
- Use pressure sensitive tapes of at least 48mm width. Do not use rope, twine, paper tape, narrow bandage tape or household cellophane tape to seal the package.
- Use a “H-Taping” method in which all edges and seams are sealed. When both the central seam and edges of the box are taped, the tape should make a letter H shape on the top of the box.
- Parcels must be sealed in such a way that they are weather (rain/snow) resistant and it is impossible to open the parcel without leaving traces.
- For pallets, use proper wrapping tape to join all individual packages on the pallet together.
- Secondly, use the correct fastening materials to attach the packaged goods to the base of the pallet. Make sure that no single piece can be detached from the overall unit when wrapped.
- The boxes should be stacked one on top of the other and overlapping to form a rigid unit. Pyramid-shape arrangements are not recommended.
- Place the largest and heaviest packages towards the bottom.
- To ensure proportional weight distribution, do not allow the edges of the boxes to overlap the edges of the pallet.
Common packaging mistakes to avoid
- Liquids pour out of the box during transportation
- Shipping glass, ceramics or fragile goods without using DPD approved inner packaging
- Lids and covers fall down from pails, tins, etc.
- Tape becomes unglued/box becomes unsealed and the contents become visible
- Fragile and delicate items are not properly separated from the top, bottom and sides of a box, or not individually wrapped and packed so that the contents do not touch or move during transport
- Parcels on a pallet are stowed in such a way that they lose their vertical standing position and fall over, compromising the rigidity of the overall unit
- The outer packaging of large parcels is not sufficient to protect the contents from damage while loading or transporting (e.g., wrapped in thin tape, sent without outer protection)
- Large parcels (e.g. furniture, machine-tools, etc) are presented for delivery without being first placed on a pallet
- Outer packaging cannot withstand a free-fall drop from a height of 80-100cm on any edge or side
- Packaging is not robust or well packed enough to support the weight of additional packages being stacked on top in the delivery vehicle
What goods cannot be transported?
- Any goods which are not properly packed according to DPD's packaging guidelines
- Goods which exceed a value of €13,000
- Goods or documents that represent a monetary value (or time)
- High-value goods such as art, antiques or unique items
- Jewellery, precious metals, currencies, watches, furs and carpets
- Perishable goods
- Hazardous goods (ADR)
- Live/deceased animals, plants or human remains
- Narcotic drugs and injection needles
- Prescription medicines
- Goods whose transport is banned or regulated by law
*Need to insure your shipment for a higher amount? Opt for Sendcloud Insurance.
As with all carriers, shipping conditions apply. Waiving from the terms and conditions can result in unwanted surcharges or may result in your claim being denied due to improper packaging. For the official DPD guidelines and packaging advice, click here.
Do you want to know how long the package will be on its way to your customer? Check DPD's transit times.