Guide

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

What is export packaging?

Export packaging enables your goods arrive intact and undamaged with your overseas buyer. Export packaging is also often referred to as transport packaging.

Export packaging is actually one of three different layers of packaging that are likely to be needed when exporting your goods.

  1. Sales packaging is the immediate layer of packaging around your goods. This is the packaging that remains when the goods reach their end-user, eg the bottles in which beverages are contained, or the boxes many electronics items are sold in. Sales packaging often also serves a marketing purpose by containing prominent branding images and information.
  2. Outer packaging is a middle layer of packaging, usually containing multiple sales packages. It often also serves a retail or promotion purpose, eg a box containing sales units that doubles as a retail display fixture and can be placed directly on a shop shelf.
  3. Transport or export packaging is the outermost layer of packaging and is designed to protect your goods during transit. Examples of export packaging include wooden crates or boxes, metal drums and plastic shrink-wrapping.

These three layers of packaging work like a Russian doll - each type of packaging is complete on its own terms, but is contained within a further layer of packaging.

This guide is concerned primarily with export or transport packaging, but it makes sense to consider all your packaging choices together at the outset. This includes considering how to save packaging waste from the outer packaging and exporting packaging layers.