Packaging, Packing, Marking and Labelling

In the international trade it is very necessary to follow the instructions regarding packing, marking and labelling received from the overseas buyer. Every exporter should be very careful in packaging and packing which is of great importance in transportation as well as in the safety of the goods.

Packaging is the inner wrapping or container which covers one or more units of the product. Export packing is the outer casing and materials used to transport the product or number of products in one case by road, sea or air. Each method of transportation may demand a different type of pack. The rougher handling and long storage of products despatched by sea means that the outer case will have too substantial, a wooden case or crate. The comparatively lighter handling and shorter storage of products despatched by air, may mean that a lighter type of wood crate or strong cardboard packing will be satisfactory. Consignments despatched by road or rail will need the stronger or lighter form of packaging depending on the type of product, the distance it has to be transported and the storage time.

The exporter must ensure that any packing instructions specified in the contract are complied with and also that any legislation governing acceptable packaging materials, in the overseas market is strictly observed. If no instructions are received, packing should be of the recognised customary standards for that particular country with certain specifications laid down by the Shipping Companies. The Bureau of Indian Standards has prescribed packing standards for certain items. In addition to the packing standards, the exporter should also keep in mind the following :

  1. Packing should be of the type which may cost less freight charges.
  2. The packing should be most durable as the goods have to go severe hazards in transit and they are to be loaded and unloaded at various stages. Strong and durable container can enable the product to stand with the hazard of frequent handling and rough weather, excessive moisture, extreme heat, vermin and theft, etc. Exporter has to decide the types of containers to be used i.e. liquids are normally shipped in drums, consumer products are to be packed in wooden cases or in fibre cartons, capital equipment is protected by same kind of material and special forms of cushion may be used for delicate goods.

Weight Measurements :

Weight measurements used in the export packing are :

  1. Net – weight of product without packing ;
  2. Net – weight of product without either internal wrapping, packing materials or packing case;
  3. Gross – weight of product plus weight of packing case
  4. Tare – weight of packing only.


On the request of importer, the exporter has to attach particular types of labels, price tickets, etc. which may be considered favourable to his market.


Shipping marks are requested by the overseas buyer should be put on each packing case so that the consignment may be identified throughout transit and on reaching its destination. Ships carry a large number of consignments belonging to various exporters at one and the same time. In absence of adequate identification marks for goods, the identification of the consignment of each exporter, the inspection of goods by the Customs Authorities as also quick and effective delivery of the goods at the destination by the shipping authorities will prove difficult. Marking includes shipping marks of consignee like short name of the buyer, port of despatch, port of destination, steamer’s name and bill of lading number, case number/total cases and/or other marks, as requested by the buyer. If the particular marking is not specified by the buyer, the exporter may choose his own marking.

It is also important to ensure that the marks and numbers on packages conform in every respect to those written in the Bill of Lading, Insurance Certificate, Invoices and other documents, if any.

The special instructions on the packing case should not be mentioned in English only but should also be in the language of the overseas buyer and the language of the countries through which the consignment may pass as it may be necessary to off-load the consignment en route.

The Exporters may seek the assistance and guidance for better packaging and such other things from the office of the Development Commissioner (SSI), Ministry of Industry and Civil Supplies, 7th Floor, Nariman Bhavan, New Delhi.

& Norms