How to label and package goods being shipped out of the UK

Get the details of your export packaging right


Once you have decided what kind of packaging you need, use this page to check if there are any further issues you should consider including:

  • Rules in your export markets - check that your consignments comply with local regulations. Certain markings may be required and in some countries certain packaging materials, eg straw filling, are prohibited.
  • Load securing - even adapted packaging has a limit to the vibrations it can withstand before it collapses. Make sure your packaging can be secured in its container and/or vehicle.
  • Restrictions on wood packaging - certain countries require wood packaging to be marked and accompanied by a wood packaging certificate. In many cases it will be sufficient to check that your wood packaging is ISPM 15 compliant.
  • Packaging waste - you have a legal duty to minimise the weight and volume of the packaging you use. Heavy users of packaging also have to register with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and become accredited as exporters. In many export markets, there are stricter rules on packaging waste and collection, such as the 'green dot system' in Germany.
  • Hazardous goods - any exports of dangerous goods will have to be safely packaged and clearly marked and labelled. The rules vary slightly depending on which mode of transport you're using.
  • Insurance - your transport insurance cover may be adversely affected if it can be shown that your goods were damaged due to poor packaging.
  • Contracts - to avoid disputes in case goods are damaged in transit, consider including packaging specifications in your contracts with buyers.