Labelling and packaging of goods

Proper and suitable packaging helps ensure your goods arrive in good condition

As we are located on an island, importing or exporting goods to/from Ireland, means that we always need to cross at least one sea.
Suitable packaging is essential for protecting your goods in transit. Not just at loading and unloading, but also when being moved around a terminal from one truck to another, or when being packed into a container or unit load device for sea or air freight.

Perhaps your goods are stackable, meaning there is an even greater need for solid, reliable packaging.

Types of pallet

There are several different types of pallets, such as half pallet, EUR, EUR 1, 2 and 3 pallets and North American pallets. Common to all is that:
  • The pallet must be able to be handled by truck or other means of loading
  • The pallet must be stable and whole, so that there is no risk that the pallet will tip during handling

Packing of goods on pallet

Did you know that goods weighing more than 35 kilos must be palleted? Remember:
  • Try to pack the pallet so that the goods are inside the pallet edges. A common cause of damage goods hanging over the pallet edge.
  • Pack the pallet evenly – in particular make sure that the weight is evenly distributed.
  • Wrap the goods with shrink film secured around the lower edge of the pallet. This reduces the risk of the goods moving and the pallet tipping.
  • Fix heavy or bulky goods to the pallet with plastic or steel strips and make sure the centre of gravity is even and low.
  • Use pallet spacers to prevent the goods from slipping.

Stackable goods

To be considered stackable, a pallet should be able to bear another pallet on top of it weighing 400 kg. If not, the pallet should be booked by the load metre.

Inner protection

Inner protection includes corner protection, bubble wrap, styrofoam, airbags or padding which protects the goods within each carton. This reduces the risk of squashing.

Outer packaging

Outer packaging can include cardboard, pallet dividers, wooden boxes, corrugated cardboard, bubble wrap, edge protection and shrink film.

Outer packaging must be suitable for the type of goods and their weight. An overloaded carton easily bursts while goods which are loose in a carton can shift and therefore increasing the risk of damage.

Outer packaging is to protect the goods themselves. 

*** Poor packaging may mean that claims for damage are rejected. ***

Furniture, doors and other items of awkward size and shape

The risk of damage is always greater when transporting special goods, so they should be packaged professionally. This type of freight must be transported on pallets wherever possible. For example, doors and worktops must be packed with hard corner and edge protection, and also with strong corrugated cardboard.

High-value goods at risk of theft

High-value goods such as electronics, clothing or alcohol should be packed in as neutral packaging as possible. Use shrink wrap and security tape. Security tape should preferably be brightly coloured, as this makes it easier to track lost goods with security cameras. If possible, avoid using visible logos, as these can attract unwanted attention.


Examples of liquid goods can be beverages or tins of paint.

This type of cargo must be packaged in suitable packaging with absorbent material to avoid leaks onto other goods or equipment. A consignor who dispatches inadequately packaged goods may be held liable for damages if a leak damages or destroys other goods.

Dangerous cargo

It is your responsibility as sender to classify, pack, label and label dangerous goods according to the regulations for the mode of transport to be used. You must also hand over any document required for transport to the carrier. Check your local regulations – and remember that in many countries, all companies that send out dangerous goods must have a qualified safety adviser. See DSV’s white paper about dangerous goods. And did you realise that cocoa is dangerous?

Temperature-sensitive goods

Always consider the ambient temperatures at origin, destination and during shipment. On some journeys, your shipments may be subjected to temperatures from well below freezing to high summer temperatures if left outdoors in direct sunlight for some time, for example on an airport tarmac. 

If the goods are sensitive to cold, they can be covered with thermal cargo covers. Alternatively, you can book trailers or containers which can cool or heat. 

Marking of goods

It is absolutely essential to label all shipments with DSV labels prior to collection. Sender and recipient must be clearly shown on the label, which should be affixed to a flat surface and be clearly visible on the side of the goods. 

Labelling of fragile goods

Fragile goods must be clearly marked as such, for example with glass symbols and arrows that show right side up. There are devices available such as Chockwatch and Tiltwatch that can be used to monitor for shock and sensitivity. You may also consider extra insurance cover.

Securing cargo for transit

As the sender, you are responsible for the goods being packaged to withstand normal transport handling. When the driver is not present at loading or when the driver is only available on ramp, then the load must be stowed and secured so that no part of the load can slide, tip, roll or shift.

This can be accomplished through locking, closing, wiring or a combination of these. In addition to this load protection device which DSV always has available (usually a tension belt per load gauge), the sender should make additional load protection equipment available to the driver. This applies to both part and full loads. Examples of such additional equipment are intermediate plates, support beams and airbags.


Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world and despite internationally approved quality standards within DSV, accidents do occasionally happen. Furthermore, your goods can often be thief attractive and although we place special emphasis on security and the protection of your goods, it is not always possible to deter the determined thief. The routes from your factory to the customer are often long and tortuous and the opportunity for accidental damage, theft and water damage is constant. 

Whether you contract with DSV or any other transport or forwarding company, your contractual terms will be decided by certain conventions.
It is often thought that the contractual and legal responsibilities of the ‘carrier’ – who may be the haulier, freight forwarder or shipping company – provides full compensation for goods lost or damaged while in their care. Such thinking is quite wrong and could result in you being unable to recover all or part of any loss.

It is important therefore to ensure that your goods are fully insured. We will be more than happy to quote you for your next shipment!