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  • Required delivery date 
  • Cost of transport service
  • Reliability and service quality
  • Shipment size and item type
  • Anticipated transit time
  • Number of transshipment points
  • Range of different services offered by a third-party provider 
  • Modes that realistically cannot be considered should be ruled out of the decision process immediately
  • Geographical factors should be considered, as they may remove the opportunity to use a particular mode
  • Lack of appropriate infrastructure may also remove the opportunity to use a particular mode


Shippers should be aware of several potential problems when packaging cargos for any form of transport:

  • Breakage.
  • Moisture.
  • Pilferage.
  • Excess weight.
  • Spoilage/Expiration.
  • Temperature sensitive
  • items 
  • items. 

Any and all packaging should meet the needs of the shipped item, the recipient, the duration of the transport, and the method of shipping. Packaging should:

  • Meet shipping regulations.
  • Ensure proper handling.
  • Conceal the identity of the contents (where appropriate).
  • Help receivers identify shipments.
  • Insure compliance with environmental and safety standard.

Not only does the cargo need to be adequately packed but instructions be given to all parties handling the cargo at some stage of the venture to ensure safe delivery.


Labeling for transport is an important consideration. Knowing that cargo is often broken down or shipped loose means that shippers must adequately mark cartons to facilitate tracking of cargo, especially for cargo transported by air. Insurance brokers also have the right to dishonor a claim of damage to goods, due to inadequate packing and marking for the selected mode of transport. It is strongly advised that all cargo intended for air transport be labelled at the level of the carton or handling unit, and should have some - if not all - of the corresponding data:

  • Shipper.
  • Logo of agency .
  • Intended Destination.
  • Packing List Number/Consignment Number.
  • Weight and measurement of the package.
  • Package contents (if appropriate to list externally without fear of pilferage).
  • Numbered “Package 1 of X”.
  • Special handling requirements (temperature control, fragile, etc).
  • Dangerous goods contained within.

Properly labelled packages will help reduce loss while in transit. Professional freight forwarding services tend to be extremely good at keeping large consignments together throughout the course of an air movement. Depending on the arrangement with the forwarder, large consignments can be split into multiple smaller shipments, and will be reconsolidated prior to delivery. In emergencies however, movement can be chaotic and cargo frequently delayed or lost. The more visible and easily identifiable relief cargo is, the more likely it is to reach its final destination.