The need for packing arises due to the fact there are many stresses and risks involved during the transportation of goods from the exporter to the importer. These risks can be better understood if one knows the links involved in the chain of transportation of good to their destination. The various steps involved in the transportation of good are as follows:
1. Stacking and storage of goods in the factory while waiting for loading on the truck or freight container. The risk involved at this stage is that if the boxes are weak then they may not endure stacking of more boxes on each other and as a consequence there could be possible damage to the boxes on the ground. Such possibilities are very strong in the case of card board boxes. If there is a visible damage to the boxes before they leave the exporter’s premises, they will certainly not endure the vibration and shocks during transportations caused by bumps or pot holes on the roads etc.
2. The boxes are loaded onto the truck and are transported by road to the nearest airport/sea port, at this stage; the possible risk of damage to the goods may be caused because of vibrations and shocks arising due to bad road conditions. It should be ensured that the boxes in the truck are not able to move inside and there are no empty spaces in the truck otherwise bumps in the roads or sudden brakes would cause serious damage to the goods.
3. The boxes are unloaded and are stored at the airport/sea port for custom clearance before being loaded on to the plane/container/ship. At this stage, the possible risk of the damage to the goods is caused by manual unloading and handling breakage or damage due to humidity or damage by insects or rodents.
4. The goods are packed into the freight container or loaded on the plane/ship. The possibility of damage to the goods is again caused due to poor handling, and stacking of the goods. If the container is not properly inspected, cleaned and repaired, there is risk of damage to the goods by insects or rodents. The risk of damage of the goods is often multiplied if the goods are sent as loose cargo i.e. not in a freight container.
5. Sailing of the ship to the port of destination: During sailing the goods may be damaged due to stormy weather, waves, haves, twists and turns.
6. Unloading of cargo at the port of discharge. There are no special risks involved at this stage.
7. Unloading of the containers at the port of discharge. If the boxes have not been secured properly, some boxes may come out when the doors are opened –risk of damage of products and risk of injury to the person opening the cargo. Manual handling during unloading holds risks of its own.
8. The palletized goods are transferred with a forklift truck to a warehouse. If the goods are sent to retail shops, they are either transferred as pallet loads or as individual packages. There is no special risk involved at this stage.
The main point here is that transport, handling and storage are always more stressing and rougher than the packer thinks. This should be kept in mind all the time when selecting packing for goods.
Although sea transport is considered to be the roughest mode of transport, one should not forget that risks are also involved in air transport. Even if airfreight takes less time and is generally not as rough as the sea freight, there are very rough points, such as the landing of the aircraft and the handling of the goods on the ground before they are loaded into the aircraft.
Thus, the exporter should plan for packing of the goods keeping in view the risks involved in different stages in the transport chain from exporter’s country to the importer’s country.