Shipping Fragile Items Internationally: What, Why, and How


Shipping Fragile Items Internationally: What, Why, and How

Shipping fragile items can be a nerve-wracking experience, whether you're an eCommerce store owner or an individual sending a precious item. It's part of the process that often keeps us up at night, worrying about the safety of our fragile cargo.

But fret not! We're here to put your mind at ease with our ultimate guide to shipping fragile items. We'll equip you with valuable insights, essential materials, and expert tips to ensure your items arrive at their destination unscathed.

What Is a Fragile Item?

When we talk about shipping fragile items internationally, it's crucial to understand what qualifies as a fragile item.

Fragile items are those that are delicate, vulnerable to damage, and require extra care during the shipping process. Delicate glassware, mirrors, antiques, lampshades, intricate ceramics, or precious artworks are the usual products. But it doesn't end there. Think musical instruments and sensitive electronic devices, bending and folding with fragility.

The common thread among these items is their vulnerability to damage, demanding extra care and precaution when shipping and handling.

Why Do You Need to Be Extra Cautious While Shipping Fragile Items?

In the ever-competitive world of eCommerce, a disrupted transit of your fragile products can spell disaster for your business. There are several reasons why eCommerce merchants need to be careful when shipping fragile items internationally, including:

The Hefty Price of Replacement 

When it comes to fragile items fulfilment, the costs of damages can skyrocket, putting a dent in your bottom line. Customers expect their orders to arrive in pristine condition, and if they don't, you're on the hook for replacements and reshipping

That means shelling out extra cash to fix the damage or replace the damaged item. But here's the kicker: not only do you lose revenue from the original sale, but carriers may even charge you to investigate the damaged shipment. And while you wait for answers, precious time ticks away—time that could have been spent making another sale. 

Negative Reviews 

Shipping damages can wreak havoc on your business. Beyond the cost of replacements, there's the fallout of upset customers. Unhappy customers don't come back. They don't spread the positive word about your business either. Your reputation takes a hit, making customer retention a challenge. 

Lost Time 

Lost time is a costly consequence of dealing with the woes of shipping fragile items. It's not just the money you spend on replacements or the customers you lose—it's the precious time and energy you sacrifice. Think about it: constantly battling shipping issues takes away from other crucial aspects of your business. The time you spend resolving shipping problems could be better invested in growing your eCommerce venture.

Increased Returns

Resolving a damaged shipment complaint is costly. You'll pay for reshipping undamaged items and potentially for return labels if inspection is required. And if you offer free product returns as part of your international shipping policy, guess who's covering the freight cost? Yep, it's you. More expenses. But customers’ frustration skyrockets if they have to bear the shipping cost. They endure damaged goods, longer waits, and the hassle of paying for product returns

Cost of Repairs 

Returned fragile items can bring additional costs in parts and repair. Businesses may refurbish items with cosmetic damage, but this incurs labour and replacement parts expenses. While selling the repaired product can still generate profit, it won't match the earnings from a brand-new item. Repair costs eat into the bottom line, impacting overall profitability.

How to Ship Fragile Products: An Easy Guide to Protecting Precious Cargo

While shipping fragile items may seem daunting, following best practices can be a straightforward process. Here are some key tips on how to ship fragile items the right way:

1. The Right Box Is Like an Armour to Fragile Goods

Choosing the right box for fragile item shipping is crucial. Don't settle for a box that's too big or too small—under-filled boxes may collapse, while over-filled ones may burst. Excessive empty space allows contents to shift, making them more vulnerable to breakage. 

Instead, aim for a two-inch gap between your item and the box's sides, allowing space for padding. 

It's important to steer clear of reusing old boxes for shipping fragile items. Over time, these boxes can lose their rigidity and structural integrity, making them less reliable for protecting your delicate goods.  Say no to poly mailers—they won't safeguard fragile items. 

Always use high-quality corrugated cardboard boxes, particularly double-wall or tri-wall boxes, for added security while shipping fragile items. Moreover, lightweight yet strong boxes may also help you reduce shipping costs

2. Packaging Material for Shipping Fragile Items Internationally

Protecting your fragile products during transit goes beyond just using double-walled boxes. It may seem like a lot to handle, but the effort is worth it when your packages arrive safely and on time without a scratch.

Internal packaging has a vital role to play in achieving this. If your products aren't packaged with strong materials, you'll need ample dunnage and foam to wrap and secure your breakables. 

Next, take box security up a notch by using bubble wraps and foam pellets/peanuts to fill any empty spaces. You may also reinforce the box walls with corrugated inserts for an extra layer of protection. This prevents items from shifting and reduces the risk of damage during transit. 

To provide optimal protection, consider investing in moulded infill, ensuring a snug fit is crucial for high-value breakables.

However, air pockets are a great alternative if you're looking for a more environmentally friendly infill choice. Not only do they offer protection against impact and movement, but they also minimise waste. Air pockets consist primarily of air, making them an efficient and sustainable choice for packaging fragile items.

For added protection, consider box-in-box packing. This involves placing the box containing your goods inside a larger box with adequate filling to cushion the contents. To seal the deal, use the H-taping method to tape the edges of the boxes securely.

3. Securing with the Right Packing Technique 

Now that you have the right packaging materials, it's time to apply the proper packing techniques for shipping fragile items.

  • Reinforce the Bottom: Don't overlook the importance of preparing the bottom of the box. Use extra layers of tape to seal the bottom of the box securely. This ensures it can withstand the weight of the items inside.

  • Add Cushioning: Place packing materials, such as bubble wrap or foam, at the bottom of the box. This provides a protective layer that prevents items from getting crushed when the box is placed on the ground.

  • Wrap individually: Wrap each fragile item separately in bubble wrap and secure it with tape. For hollow products like vases or glasses, fill them with crumpled paper before wrapping. If shipping multiple goods in a single package, use corrugated inserts or dividers to keep them separate. 

  • Handle Oddly-Shaped Items: If you're shipping oddly-shaped items like piano, add crumpled paper or an extra box to minimise their irregular shape and provide added protection.

  • Maintain Distance: Keep your items safe in the middle of the box, at least 6 cm away from external walls. 

  • Arrange Heaviest Items First: Place the heaviest items at the bottom of the box. Doing so prevents them from potentially damaging lighter breakables that should be placed on top.

  • Padded Cardboard Box: Place the item in a padded cardboard box and fill all empty spaces with void fillers and cushioning material. Ensure the objects are immovable and seal the box with adhesive tape. Ensure the chosen fillers can handle the weight of your shipment to avoid deflation or sinking.

  • Box-in-Box: For extra protection, pad a larger box with polystyrene sheets, insert the smaller box, and seal it securely.

Image Source: The studio manager

4. Special Handling Labels to Fulfil Fragile Orders

While marking your parcel as fragile may seem simple, it's easy to overlook. To ensure your package receives the attention it deserves, consider these tips:

  • Boldly Mark as Fragile: Use a big, bold marker to write the word "Fragile" on the box's exterior. Alternatively, you can purchase a stamp designed explicitly for marking fragile items and use it all over the box. You can attach a ‘Handle with Care’ label alongside the ‘Fragile’ label. 

  • Direction Arrows: Draw clear direction 'UPWARD' arrows on the box to indicate how it should be handled and which way the items inside should face during transit. This helps the shipping company understand the proper orientation for safe transportation.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

By following these packing guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage when shipping fragile items internationally.

How Can Pack & Send Help You Ship Fragile Goods Confidently?

When packing and delivering fragile and unpacked goods, look no further than PACK & SEND. Our highly trained specialists are ready to provide professional packing services and reliable delivery solutions tailored to your specific needs. Whether it's a single item or a large volume of goods, we have you covered with our 'No Limits' philosophy.

Packaging & Packing Services:

PACK & SEND has a wide range of packaging materials designed to protect fragile, sensitive, and valuable goods. From boxes and cartons to crates and pallets, we have everything you need to ensure your fragile goods are safely packed. Our experts are skilled in handling items of all shapes and sizes, handling the time-consuming packaging process for you.

Customised Solutions:

We understand that your goods may not fit into standard boxes. That's why our specialised logistics solutions include custom-made packing materials tailored to your specifications. We consider the mode of transport, your budget, and your timeframes to create a customised service that meets your business requirements.

Freight Plus Warranty:

For added peace of mind, we offer the option of Freight Plus Warranty cover. This additional protection safeguards you and your customers against loss or damage of goods during transit. With PACK & SEND, you can have confidence in safely delivering your fragile items.


Shipping fragile items for your eCommerce business doesn't have to be a headache. Following the right steps ensures your products arrive at their destination intact, without any breakage.

If you've been facing frequent breakage issues with your fragile items, it's time to explore more reliable shipping options. Fortunately, we are here to provide you with the best packing and delivery solutions for your unique requirements. Get in touch with us today to receive a pricing quote for our retail fulfilment services and find out if we're the perfect fit for your business. Let's make shipping a breeze!

Contact our experts today at 1300 668 000 or visit your nearest Service Centre. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What are fragile products?

Fragile products are prone to shattering or breaking with the slightest impact. Think delicate ceramics, dainty tableware, intricate musical instruments, and fragile furniture. However, the risks can be significantly minimised with proper packaging, suitable shipping methods, and cautious handling.

What should I do if a fragile item arrives damaged?

If a fragile item arrives damaged, document the condition with photographs and immediately contact the shipping carrier or your shipping service provider. They will guide you through filing a claim and seeking compensation for the damage.

Can I insure my fragile shipments?

Yes, it is highly recommended to insure your fragile shipments. Insurance provides financial protection in the unfortunate event of damage or loss during transit. Consult with your shipping or insurance provider to explore the coverage options for fragile items.

What is the cost of shipping fragile items internationally?

The cost of shipping fragile items internationally can vary depending on various factors. These include the countries involved in the pick-up and delivery, the dimensions of the parcel, and the specific service selected.


Image sources: Singapore Post, The Studio Manager, Adobe Stock

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