Specific marking and labeling is used on export shipping cartons and containers to:
- Meet shipping regulations;
- Ensure proper handling;
- Conceal the identity of the contents;
- Help receivers identify shipments; and
- Insure compliance with environmental and safety standards.
The overseas buyer usually specifies which export marks should appear on the cargo for easy identification by receivers. Products can require many markings for shipment. For example, exporters need to put the following markings on cartons to be shipped:
- Shipper's mark;
- Country of origin (U.S.A.);
- Weight marking (in pounds and in kilograms);
- Number of packages and size of cases (in inches and centimeters);
- Handling marks (international pictorial symbols);
- Cautionary markings, such as "This Side Up" or "Use No Hooks" (in English and in the language of the country of destination);
- Port of entry;
- Labels for hazardous materials (universal symbols adapted by the International Airi Transport Association and the International Maritime Organization); and;
- Ingredients (if applicable, also included in the language of the destination country).
Packages should be clearly marked to prevent misunderstandings and delays in shipping. Letters are generally stenciled onto packages and containers in waterproof ink. Markings should appear on three faces of the container, preferably on the top and on the two ends or the two sides. Ant old markings must be completely removed from previously used packaging.
In addition to the port marks, the customer identification code, and an indication of origin, the marks should include the package number, gross and net weights, and dimensions. If more than one package is being shipped, the total number of packages in the shipment should be included in the markings. The exporter should also add any special handling instructions. It is a good idea to repeat these instructions in the language of the country of destination. and use standard international shipping and handling symbols.
Customs regulations regarding freight labeling are strictly enforced. For example, many countries require that the country of origin be clearly labeled on each imported package. Most freight forwarders and export packing specialists can supply the necessary information regarding specific regulations.