Guidelines for Good Packaging
You can help make sure that your package arrives safely and on time with these good packaging guidelines
and procedures developed from UPS research.
- Use a rigid box with flaps intact
- Remove any labels, hazardous materials indicators, and other shipment markings from the box
- Wrap all items separately
- Use adequate cushioning material
- Use strong tape designed for shipping
- Do not use string or paper over-wrap
- Use a single address label that has clear, complete delivery and return information
- Place a duplicate address label inside the package
Weight and Size Limits for Packages
UPS has established specific weight and size limits for the packages that you send with all UPS services.
The restrictions below only pertain to individual packages. There are no limits to the total weight of your
shipment or the total number of packages in your shipment.
- Packages can be up to 150 lbs (70 kg)
- Packages can be up to 165 inches (419 cm) in length and girth combined
- Packages can be up to 108 inches (270 cm) in length
- Packages that weigh more than 70 lbs (31.5 kg, 25 kg within the EU) require a special heavypackage
label and will be subject to an Additional Handling Charge
- Packages with a large size-to-weight ratio require special pricing and dimensional weight
Note: Packages that exceed UPS weight and size limits are subject to an Over Maximum Limits charge.
The limits listed above apply to most packages and destinations, but there are some variances because of
different local restrictions in some countries. Please contact UPS for more details.
How To Prepare for Shipping
Step 1. Use a Corrugated Box
Whenever possible, use a new box. The more times a box is used, the more it loses its original protective
qualities, so a previously used box may not adequately protect your shipment.
If you must reuse a box, make sure it is rigid and in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, rips, or
corner damage, and that all flaps are intact. Remove any labels and all other shipment markings from the
Choose a box strength that is suitable for the contents you are shipping. Never exceed the maximum gross
weight for the box, which is usually printed on the Box Maker's Certificate on the box's bottom flap.
The UPS Professional ServicesTM package lab's engineers have developed specifications for box strength
after years of testing and analysis. Refer to this chart below for recommendations so you can determine
the proper size and maximum gross weight limit of a box.
Step 2. Provide Internal Protection
It's important that you cushion the contents of your package properly.
Please be sure that you wrap each item separately. Fragile articles need both suitable separation from each
other and clearance from the corners and sides of the box.
Each item should be surrounded by at least two inches (5 cm) of cushioning and be placed at least two
inches (5 cm) away from the walls of the box. This will protect your items from product-against-product
damage and shield them from the shock and vibration that can be conducted from the exterior of the box
to its contents in transit.
Please use proper cushioning material, combined with a strong outer container, to protect your shipment
fully. Make sure you use enough cushioning material to ensure that the contents do not move when you
shake the container.
Improper cushioning material includes clothing, blankets, and pillows. Instead, please use bubble wrap,
inflatable packaging, polystyrene “peanuts”, and other approved packaging materials available from The
Step 3. Close Your Container Securely
Proper closure of your container is just as important as proper cushioning for the safety and security of
To close a box securely, do not use masking tape, cellophane tape, duct tape, string, or paper over-wrap.
Instead, use a strong tape -- two inches (five cm) or more in width -- such as these types:
Pressure-sensitive plastic or nylon-reinforced tape
- Generally the easiest, most convenient tape to use
- Versatile because it adheres without water and sticks to a variety of surfaces and shapes
- Apply three strips to both the top and bottom of the box
Step 4. Use Proper Labeling
For fast and efficient delivery, keep these points in mind when labeling your package:
- Always include the recipient's postal code with the complete street address. For international
shipments, include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code.
- You must make every effort to obtain a street address. If a shipper should use a P.O. Box
address, the recipient's telephone number must be included on the label. Your package that is
addressed to a P.O. Box may be delayed, will not be covered by any UPS Service Guarantee, and
will require an address correction charge. Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO)
addresses are not accepted.
- Please include the apartment or unit number, if applicable.
- Place the shipping label on the top of the package. To avoid confusion, place only one address
label on the package. If you are using a packing slip, place it on the same surface of the package as
the address label.
- Do not place the label over a seam or closure or on top of sealing tape.
- Remove or cross out old labels or markings on a used box.
- Always include your complete return address, including full street address and postal code. For
international shipments, include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code.
- Place a duplicate label or other form of identification inside your package.
Note: UPS does not provide special handling for packages with "Fragile", package orientation (e.g., "UP"
arrows or "This End Up" markings), or any other similar such markings.
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