International Freight Forwarding: Labeling Tips When Exporting Goods

Published: 08th April 2015
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In international freight forwarding, labeling is one of the most important aspects. A single slight mistake can lead to huge consequences such as time-consuming and/or financially damaging results. So, when you're exporting or importing goods abroad it' important to take note of the following tips and guidelines about labeling:

Aside from meeting shipping regulations and complying with environmental standards and safety, specific markings are used when exporting freight containers or packages to meet the following results:

Guarantee proper handling,

Conceal contents' identity and specifications, and

Help recipients identify the freight.

Usually, the purchaser overseas specifies which shipping marks or labels must appear on the consignment container or package, so receivers can easily identify it. Merchandises could require a number of marks or labels for shipment. For instance, exporters have to include the following labels on boxes or containers to be shipped:

Point or country of origin;

Shipper's mark;

Weight labels (both in kilograms and pounds)

Number and size of containers or packages;

Size of cases (both in centimeters and inches);

Handling marks (international graphic signs and symbols);

Port of entry;

Cautionary labels, like "Use No Hooks" or "This Side Up" (both in English and in the language of the destination country); and

Marks for hazardous items (international signs adapted by the International Maritime Organisation and the International Air Transport Association); and

Ingredients (if applicable, in English and in the language of the destination country).

Packages and container must be marked clearly to avoid delays and misunderstandings. Generally, letters are stenciled onto containers and cartons using waterproof ink. Labels should be large enough to be read and highly resistant to the elements. Labeling must appear on three sides of the package or container, preferably on the two sides or ends, and on the top.

Never label packages with extra information or details that's not required or necessary. If it's not required to specify what's inside on a label, then don't do so. Identifying valuable merchandise or items inside a box can be an invitation for vandals and thieves. It's best to use codes to help identify products or goods, expect when local or international laws doesn't allow such.

If you are going to use an old or used box or container, make sure the old marks and labels are completely removed or permanently obscured, to avoid confusion on the carriers, handlers, and the receiver's side. Though it's ideal and environmentally friendly, it's not always advised to use previously-used boxes or containers.

In addition to the port labels and marks, an indication of origin, customer identification code, which include the dimensions, total number of packages, net and gross weights.

Also, the exporters must add any special instructions or requirements on handling. It is best to repeat such instructions in the language of where the packages are to be shipped. Using standard international shipping handling signs and symbols are also vital.

The policies and regulations of customs regarding consignment labeling are being enforced strictly. For example, several nations require that the point of origin be labeled clearly on each imported container or package. Most international freight forwarders as well as export packing specialists could provide important data about specific regulations.


Get professional help from highly reliable and experienced freight forwarding agents in Australia, to make sure your consignment is properly labeled, and shipped to the right destination at the right time. Visit UC Brokers and meet trusted specialists who can deliver you all of the said benefits:

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