Shipping is an industry that affects all of us. Daily, there is a ceaseless flow of goods shipped by sea that keep our businesses, households, and lives up and running. In transport, goods can become damaged by both forces of nature and human handling. Although some of this risk is out of our control, taking the time to properly package cargo reduces the risk of damage and unnecessary delays. Keep in mind that even when your shipment is insured, proper packaging is a condition of insurance.

Why does it matter?

Time, cost, and risk of damage are three key areas that can be negatively impacted by improper packing. In addition to the cargo potentially arriving damaged to its final destination, keep in mind cargo insurance excludes damages resulting from improper packaging. The lack of adequate  packaging may result in additional costs that burden the shipper and may also cause shipment delays. When you consider the handling throughout the various touchpoints that occur while cargo is loaded and unloaded on trucks and ships, you will understand the importance of durable and complete packaging.

How can I properly package my cargo?

Proper packaging depends on what is being packed and what it's being packed in. Here are some practical tips for different types:

Cardboard Boxes:

  • Always place heavier, more robust items on the bottom and lighter items towards the top.

  • Ensure the box is made for the corresponding weight and type of its contents. For heavier items, the strongest carton density should be used. We often see flimsy boxes with subpar corrugation being used which quickly results in wear and tear after a few legs in transit.  
  • The bottom of the box should be completely sealed with heavy-duty tape to ensure cargo doesn't fall through the bottom when handled.


  • Ensure appropriate materials and configuration. Marble slabs, panes of glass, and similar items should be packed standing in closed crated to help mitigate external contact.
  • The base should also be stable and have slots or "feet" for forklift handling.


  • Do NOT overpack your barrel. Fiber barrels have max. holding capacities that range from 300-750 lbs depending on the manufacturer. 

  • Barrels should not be packed so excessively heavy and tight that contents push the bottom out when handled or that the cap pops off if the barrel is dropped or rolls over.

The Importance of Correct Labeling

Although mislabeling the address/shipping instructions of cargo might not directly cause damage, it can most certainly result in avoidable delays and reroutes that increase the risk of damage due to additional handling. At Caribtrans, it's essential that our customers properly label their cargo according to our specific instructions, which include placing our correct suite number, 300, on all shipments. 

Are you shipping fragile items? Then be sure to always place visible stickers/labels on all sides of the box so that those handling the shipment can clearly and quickly see it requires extra care.

Need help with packaging? We're here for you.

Whether you are looking for help to package bare cargo or add additional packaging for added safety, you can count on us to ensure your cargo arrives to its final destination completely protected.

Although suppliers usually package goods well, we can help ensure there are no delays in your shipment due to improper packaging by arranging crating and packaging through a third-party service provider. Contact us today to add this service and protect your cargo. 

Caribtrans Logistics - Miami Headquarters