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Packaging Guidelines

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 calculations

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 box.

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 UPS Store.

Step 3. Close Your Container Securely

Proper closure of your container is just as important as proper cushioning for the safety and security of your shipment.

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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© 2007 The UPS Store @ ASU