1  Definition
"Fit-for-purpose packaging"

[German version]

Fit-for-purpose packaging:

Packaging is fit for purpose if it ensures that the packaged goods arrive at the recipient undamaged, taking into consideration the shipping loads, shipping distance, shipping duration and the transport load profile. Packaging that is fit for purpose in this sense will be deemed ’suitable‘ in the context of the DTV Cargo Insurance Conditions.

The following terms must be specified in order to define the term "fit for purpose" with respect to wooden packaging:

Packaging: Umbrella term covering all packaging containers and packaging aids (DIN 55405 Part 5).

Packaging container: Type of packaging (in this case, manufactured from lumber), that encloses or binds together the packaged goods to allow them to be transported, handled or stored (DIN 55405 Part 3).

Packaging material: Material from which packaging containers or packaging aids are manufactured (DIN 55405 Part).

Packaged goods: Goods which are packaged to allow them to be transported, handled or stored.

Package: The packaging containing the packaged goods.

Shipping load: Effect of all external, mechanical, climatic and biotic influences on the package or packaged goods during shipping. These loads are sometimes known as transport, handling and storage loads.

Stress: The result of the action of loads on the packaging or packaged goods.

Shipping distance: Distance travelled by the package between the consignor to the consignee.

Shipping duration: The time between handing over the package to the transport company to its arrival at the consignee.

Means of transport: Truck, rail, inland vessel, ocean-going vessel or aircraft.

Transport load profile: Means of transport used or combination of different means of transport.

Concepts that have been used previously, such as "seaworthy packaging" or "ordinary commercial packaging" are not defined and are replaced by the term "fit-for-purpose packaging". Packaging cannot be designed to suit the stresses that will be encountered unless these stresses have been defined beforehand during the packaging planning phase. Packaging is subject to different stresses depending on the means of transport used and the distance the package is transported. This fact means that all packaging is individual.

However, it also assumes that adequate information is exchanged between the client and the contractor (packager).

If manufacture of the packaging is not outsourced, in other words if the packaging is manufactured in-house, such information must be exchanged between the departments concerned. Certain responsibilities devolve upon the parties involved:

(planning instance)
Service provider or packaging department
(executive instance)
Provision of information on the number of packages planned, unit packages, weights of packaged items, dimensions of packaged items, center of gravity, any particular sensitivity of the product, schedule, transport and storage times, transport distance, destination of the packages, planned means of transport, marking requirements and any protective measures already applied to the goods to be packaged. In consultation with the client, selection and specification of suitable external and internal packaging measures, e.g. corrosion protection.
Realization, verification and documentation of the external and internal packaging measures.
Company- and group-wide packaging directives. Realization of the packaging measures as specified.
If deficiencies are identified, information must be passed to the client and an agreement must be reached with the client with respect to any changes required.

Function of wooden, fit-for-purpose packaging for shipping

In respect of wooden packaging, functions specific to shipping are described in terms of four individual functions:

  • Protective function
    The principle of the protective function is that the packaged goods are protected from the shipping loads and vice-versa. The inward protection is designed to ensure that the packaged goods remain in perfect working order. To achieve this, the packaging must reliably be able to withstand the mechanical, climatic and biotic loads to which it is subjected during transport, handling and storage operations and to protect the packaged goods from such loads. For economic reasons, the protective function should be dimensioned in such a way that it only covers any deficiencies with respect to the resilience of the packaged goods as determined by any specific product sensitivity to the loads encountered during shipping. Knowledge of the product sensitivity is vital in this respect. The packager must receive or request any relevant additional information.

  • Storage function
    Packaged goods rarely have an appropriate external form or are sufficiently robust to allow them to be stored without the need for any additional measures. This concerns the susceptibility of the packaged goods to corrosion, that must be compensated for by suitable additional measures. A further important function is the suitability of the packaged goods to be stacked in combination with either the same goods or with others. In this case, the job of the packaging is to absorb pressure and to be constructed in such a way that it allows stacking. The facility to stack packages safely is not only required during storage; it may also be necessary during transport in some circumstances.

  • Transport and handling function
    The packaging makes packaged goods suitable for transport and handling. It must be sufficiently strong and designed in such a way that it reduces the dynamic loads arising during transport and handling to the extent that they do not reach critical levels for the packaged goods.

  • Quality function
    Packaging is the last manufacturing stage in the production process. Packaged goods leave the production line in a quality that guarantees that they are saleable and that they function correctly. The task of the packaging is to ensure that these characteristics of the packaged goods are upheld until the goods reach the customer, irrespective of any transport, handling and storage loads that may arise. Packaging serves to maintain the quality of the packaged goods and should therefore be an integral part of the consignor's quality management system.

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