The importance of commodity preparation
Jaime López, 26/11/2004

When an exporter is getting ready to embark a product for abroad he must be aware of the packing, labeling, documentation and insurance requirements.

As the commodity is being embarked by unknown transporters for distant customers, the exporter must be sure to follow all embarking requirements to assure that the goods are correctly packed in order to arrive in good condition; labeled to assure that the commodity is dispatched and arrives on time to the right place; well documented to satisfy the national and foreign governmental requirements, as much as cashing norms; and insured against damage, loss and thief and, in some cases, delays.

The physical protection of the goods
To choose the most adequate way to organize a transport operation, it is fundamental a perfect knowledge of the product characteristics (density, fragility, persihness, pulverulency, value, dangerousness), the geographical obstacles, the climatic factors and the duration of the transport.

Package and packing
The package, bottle or bag in which a certain product is kept, has as main purpose to dose the product for its sale. Besides the presentation and dosing, it is fundamental the compatibility between the product and the receptacle.

Packing means the set of actions that obtain for the goods an exterior coverage that protects it and makes it easily manageable and identifiable, or also the result of this technology (box, sack, container, etc.).

Unlike the package, its fundamental aim is the protection of the goods for the process of transport, as well as to facilitate its manipulation and receipt; to allow the easy identification of the goods, sender and addressee, as well as its essential characteristics by means of its markings and labeling according to international procedures; to facilitate the customs inspection by means of attached pockets, facilitating the capture of samples, etc. To diminish the risks for the persons, avoiding interior displacements by means of the materials of lashing, eliminating sharp edges, etc.

When packing an article to export, the exporter must know the requirements that the exportation needs for the package. Four problems must be born in mind when a pack is designed: breaks, weight, dampness and theft.

If the buyer does not specify the requirements of packing, it is suitable that the exporter is sure that the goods are prepared bearing some observations in mind:

- Use strong packing, sealed and properly filled.
- To obtain the right position in the package or in the container, the weight must be well distributed, with independence of its size.
- The packing and the stuffing material of the same must be done with materials resistant to the humidity.
- To avoid thefts, the contents of the packing must not be named. In addition, the iron straps, seals and tight wrappers are effective ways of preventing thefts.
- The goods must be packed in maritime containers, if possible, or in pallets to assure easier manipulations.

The best shipping method is to use containers for maritime transport. Containers differ in size, material and construction and can accommodate more loads, but they are more adapted for sizes and forms of standard packages. Though the most part of the load is transported in containers, great part of it is still embarked as bulk cargo or in a conventional way.