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Courier Packaging And Parcel Guide

As couriers, our intention is to get your item wherever it needs to be as quickly and as safely as possible. While we can certainly help with ‘wherever it needs to be’ and ‘quickly’ aspects of delivery, the ‘safely’ aspect is down to how well the item has been packaged by the sender – aka you.

We totally understand that sending parcels that may be bulky or fragile might not be easy to get right. That said, unless the items are packaged correctly they may not reach their destination in one piece. In some cases, we may not be able to accept the item if we feel that the packaging won’t hold up during its journey.

So that you have the best possible experience with your courier here is an overview of how to pack your items.

Inner Packaging

You should expect items to move during transit, which is why it’s important to individually wrap each item within the parcel. Use bubble wrap and parcel tape for the job, paying special attention to sharp edges that may require several layers of bubble wrap.

The aim is to remove the risk of vibration or knocks by cushioning the items. If individual wrapping is not suitable, then it’s sometimes possible to use polystyrene packing chips. The space between the item and the box should be filled with packing material to prevent movement.

Before you submit your item check that when you move or tilt the parcel the items are not knocking against either other and that they remain secure within their individual packaging.

Good examples of inner packaging:

  • Bubblewrap (check which grade would be suitable)
  • Polystyrene surrounds and ends (for furniture or electrical items)
  • Moulded foam
  • Polystyrene packing chips

Bad examples of inner packaging:

  • Bin liners
  • Paper
  • Wood shavings

External Packaging

The external packaging is the first line of defence against vibrations, knocks, bumps, drops etc. Therefore, the material you use needs to be able to withstand the journey without risk of damage, falling apart etc.

Most parcels are sent using a cardboard box. The box should fit the item it is transporting with enough room for padding. While we would always encourage you to recycle your cardboard, be aware that once a cardboard box has gone through the postal network (especially if transporting heavy or bulky goods) then it should not be sent through again. Poor quality cardboard that has been damaged by weight, transit or weakened through aggressive opening methods will do little to protect your item.

If a cardboard box is suitable to be reused (for example, if it was part of internal packaging and is showing no signs of damage) then all previous postage stickers must be removed. There have been cases with other couriers where old cardboard boxes with hazardous warning stickers haven’t been removed, and the item has been held up – despite the fact the item was perfectly safe.

Good examples of external packaging:

  • High-quality cardboard box
  • Fiberboard box
  • Plastic box
  • Metal crate
  • Wooden crate

Bad examples of external packaging:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Shrinkwrap
  • Bin liners/plastic sheeting
  • Any box that cannot be sealed shut

Important points to note

  • Make sure each item is clearly labelled including the return to sender information. Use the right pen for the job so that the details cannot smudge.
  • Do not strap multiple items together as this may cause damage in transit.
  • Musical instruments must be placed in a hard case that is specifically designed for the shape and dimensions of the instrument.
  • Powders or liquids must be placed in a leak-proof container.
  • Use the original manufacturer’s packaging (including internal packaging) for electrical items wherever possible.
  • Always ensure parcels containing documents are not only securely packaged but well sealed.
  • Take a look at our page on what can’t be transported by a courier so that your item isn’t subject to refusal or delays.

Need More Help?

It can be a challenge to understand how to pack every type of item correctly since no two courier jobs are the same. If you need any further assistance with anything we’ve mentioned above, or if you are ready to book a courier service we’re here to help.

Nationwide Couriers has locations in Nottingham, Derbyshire, Leeds, Birmingham and London offering same-day nationwide delivery.

Take a look at our service and get in touch on 0115 9865276 if you have any questions or scroll to the top to access our free instant quotation service.