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Marking and Labelling

Marking and Labelling

  • Marking and labeling are the practical way to differentiate packed cargo in order to fulfill some regulations applied in the Freight Logistics chain. 
  • It aims for safe arrival to destination, speed identification, compliance with official regulations, prevention of unnecessary damage, compliance with customs and other regulatory bodies. 
  • Correct marking of packages helps to prevent incorrect handling and delivery, accidents, losses of weight and volume and Customs fines. 

Marking Practice

The five essential aims of marking packages are;

  • Safe arrival at destination
  • Speed identification
  • Compliance with official regulations
  • Prevention of unnecessary damage
  • Compliance with customers or other contractual requirements

Essential Details On Labels

  • Name and address of consignor
  • Name and address of consignee
  • Warnings/instructions, e.g. hazardous goods
  • Product information/description/codes
  • Protective service symbol, e.g. temperature, air, light, moisture, exposure, etc.
  • Special handling symbols
  • Pictorial labels should be exhibited within a border and with contrasting colors.

Effects of Poor Marking and Labelling

  • Reduced efficiency/more time during order selection/sorting.
  • Possible errors of delivery due to identifications problems.
  • Customer dissatisfaction arising from above errors.
  • Rejection in importing country

Considerations in Marking and Labelling

  • Marks and labels must be such that they survive and remain legible and identifiable throughout the logistics cycle.
  • Marks and labels should be fixed to the packages in a manner resistant to tear and wear or accidental removal.
  • They should be easily visible and recognizable.
  • Advertisement should not obscure or shadow package identification codes. 
  • Avoid complicated markings that are difficult to read or understand or recall otherwise the purpose will not be achieved.
  • Product identification systems should be legible in warehouse storage environment and use within number of letter and number combinations necessary for identification otherwise the product/package may be misallocated. 

Marking in Shipping

  • In order to make certain that the handlers are able to identify the shipment it is crucial to provide shipping marks which show the handler what type of product is present within the carton or cardboard box used to pack the materials. 
  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), addresses these concerns through a non-mandatory global code of practice for the handling and packing of shipping containers for transportation by sea and land. 
  • In partnership, the three organizations developed Guidelines for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs) popularly known as the CTU Code. 
  • The CTU Code is an update of the 1997 IMO/ILO/UNECE Guidelines for Packing of Cargo Transport Units and was endorsed by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, the UNECE Inland Transport Committee and the ILO Governing Body in 2014. 
  • The CTU Code identifies various marks are essential to communicate nature of the cargo as shown in the two diagrams below for packaging in cartons.

Pictorial Marking in Shipping

  • It is important to note that during freight shipping, the cargo may be handled by those who do not speak either the language of the country of origin or destination. 
  • It is also a possibility that the cargo may come into contact with a worker who is illiterate. 
  • In order to solve this particular issue, it is prudent to use pictorial markings on the shipping box in order to make sure that no confusion is elicited.