The Ultimate Guide to Export Packing


During international transportation, your goods change hands multiple times. This means the potential risk of damage to your cargo is significant. Protecting your goods in secure packaging is the best way to ensure that your cargo will be safe no matter what.  If you’re new to international import and export, you’d be forgiven for thinking that any kind of wooden case around your cargo would do the trick, so long as it’s sturdy and secure.

However, the truth is that expertise, knowledge and experience are required to ensure that the packing your goods receive is suitable and appropriate for its journey. Considerations have to be made including type, size and weight of cargo, destination requirements, loading/unloading, length and routing of the shipment and likely climatic conditions along the way all play a part.

These factors will influence the level and standard of packing deemed appropriate by a high-quality export packing provider, ensuring that you get the best advice to keep your goods in perfect condition when they arrive with your customer.

Types of Wooden Case

Dependent on the weight and/or value of the cargo, exporters have the option of using a Standard Case or a Timber Close Board Case. Both should be manufactured in adherence to ISPM 15 Standards.

• Standard case – a standard case is usually the more cost-effective and most requested type of wooden case for export cargo, and for good reason. Standard cases are secure, robust and capable of protecting many products extremely effectively, so could be the right choice for your cargo as recommended by your export packer.


• Timber Close Board Case – this type of case will be required for particularly heavy items and should be recommended for high-value products to add further protection during transit.


• Polystyrene Lining – used as an extra layer of protection for valuable, sensitive and or/high-value products, polystyrene lining is an extremely effective way of helping to ensure that your goods arrive in the same condition as they left.


ISPM 15 Standard

Your appointed export packers must use appropriate heat-treated timber to ISPM 15 Standards which are internationally recognised. Without this, you risk your packaging being rejected or destroyed at destination customs.

Simply explained, ISPM 15 refers to the required international standards of treatment that must be applied to solid woods used to ship products between countries. Its main purpose is to prevent the spread of disease and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems.

If you export outside of the EU, check if the country you’re trading with accepts ISPM 15 standards and if they have any other requirements.

Protecting Against Water Damage

Water damage can affect cargo via sea, air or road. Prevention against this element is advisable for all modes of transport, but of course, it’s particularly important for sea freight.

During the sea freight process, water can enter cargo in several ways. If the shipping container is sitting in water in the ship’s hold, there’s a chance this water could seep into the packaging, so your cargo will have greater protection if it is not sitting directly on the bed of the container. Also, high volumes of rain could potentially enter a shipping container as they are not 100% waterproof.

Condensation can also occur when the container vessel transits through areas of differing humidity. Often known as container rain, water evaporates and forms condensation on the walls of the shipping container and (if not suitably protected) the surface and internal parts of your cargo causing irreparable damage.

There are 3 types of prevention of moisture damage:

• Foil Barrier – used to prevent corrosion, barrier foil bags control the relative humidity to below 40% by minimising the rate of water vapour ingress.


• Desiccant Packs – Desiccant packs reduce the humidity level inside your packaging. Thanks to its absorption capacity it reduces the dew point inside the package, protecting the product qualities and properties against humidity.


• Waterproof Lining – waterproof lining, is as described and will add a layer of protection between the cargo inside the case and any form of direct water penetration.


Handling Indicators

Applied to the outer surface of the packing case, these detection devices are for cargo that must remain upright or are sensitive to shock during shipping and transit. The devices contain an indicator that turns red if the product is tipped over, upturned or roughly handled.

If you’d like to know more about Pinnacle Freight’s export shipping and export packing services, contact us today.

If you’re in the UK, give us a call on 0845 621 611 or drop us an email at If you’re in the USA, call us on +1 757 306 1211 or email us at

The Ultimate Guide to Export Packing

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