There are several criteria by which to judge which form of packing would be most suitable in a specific situations:
1. Method of transport used: Damage may occur, for example, more readily in a ship than in an airplane if the goods are likely to be corroded by sea air. Pilferage is more common from railway wagons than from road containers.
2. Nature of goods: Pottery, for example, is more fragile than wooden toys. Sugar will not break, but absorbs moisture. Steel rods need little protection from breakage.
3. Environment and infrastructural conditions to be encountered. These may be climatic conditions especially extreme heat, cold or dampness. These may also be the local unloading, especially in places where modern equipment, such as forklift trucks, is not used or may be temporarily out of order Local transport conditions in the importing country are also important as goods ultimately would to be distributed all over the country.
4. Costs of packing: Packing costs money and therefore what type of packing is to be used needs a consideration of the relative costs and benefits. One type of packing may provide complete protection to the export cargo but would be prohibitively expensive while a different type can provide only reasonable protection from damage during transit but would be much less costly. The exporter has to decide which would be his best option.
Transport Packaging: The basic function of transport packaging is to ensure that the product will reach the destination undamaged. Improvements in packaging are needed to minimize the incidence of losses in transit due to mechanical and environmental hazards and to achieve greater speed in handling and deliveries. The materials used for packaging should protect the goods from the ill-effects of moisture, gas and light and preserve their attributes including weight, shape, fragility, rigidity, surface finish etc. Thus packaging plays a pivotal role in the storage, preservation protection and distribution.
In many cases, the exporter may not have any say in this regard, because the importers may lay done the shipment will have to be made and the packaging conditions will be duly incorporated in the export contract. Even when the importer does not impose any condition, it is the primary duty of the exporter to provide transport packaging of the type which will ensure the arrival of the shipment in merchantable condition. Therefore in deciding on the transport containers, it would be necessary to take into account the mode of transport to be used, viz., sea, air or truck, the normal hazards that may be encountered during the transit, including the handling conditions, the nature of the product to be sent and the time during which the shipment will be in transmit. In the sphere of transport packaging also the buyer’s preferences is paramount in the wooden cases as well as bales. Top ex-grades of tobacco are packed in cases or export to UK market, while bale packing is used for exportation to all other countries. Similarly cardamom is packed in cases for export to Sweden while ‘Moorah’ packing (barrel shaped gunny packing) is adopted for exports to Middle Eastern counties at the instance of the buyers.
National legislature on imported cargo is very important factor to be taken into account. Most developed countries have enacted comprehensive legislatures on the type of containers, both bulk and consumer, especially for food items, which can be used. For example, export of food products to the USA must confirm in all respects to the provisions of the US Food &Drugs Act. Similarly, Australian bans the import of any packing material containing vegetable matter in order to check insect contamination of the country’s wood resource. Large consignments of Indian goods were repacked at the Australian port of entry as the mildewed crates in which these were packed contravened rules and had to be burnt. This operation was carried out at the exporters’ cost leading losses In 1978, the USA directed that Indian export consignments in wooden packing be first fumigated before they are unloaded at US ports. The order was issued to control flux of certain kinds if insects which the US authorities consider to be possible health hazards.