A-Z of Shipping Labels
Personalized, Bar Coded to Fragile
Shipping labels are one of the most important elements of any shipment. Incorrectly labeled goods will be delayed and in some cases may never arrive at their destination at all. For this reason it is essential to make sure that all shipping boxes, shipping containers and packages are correctly labeled, and that shipping labels are visible and easily readable at all times.
If you are reusing a shipping box, make sure that you remove all old labels from the box so as to avoid confusion. Place only one address label on the package and make sure that it is positioned on the largest surface of the shipping container. Make sure that the address label contains both a return address and a contact telephone number so that the parcel can be returned should anything go wrong with the delivery.
Avoid placing labels on corners or seams and refrain from placing any tape, banding or shrink wrap over the labels. Information and shipping specific labels should be placed alongside the address label on the largest surface of the package.
Listed below are some of the main types of shipping labels that are available from major shipping companies and shipping supply chains:
Personalized adhesive address labels : these can be rectangular, circular or oval in shape and can be white, colored or fluorescent in color. They are designed either to be handwritten, or for printing on laser and inkjet printers. In most cases these labels will be both waterproof and smudge proof.
Bar-coded address labels : major professional shipping companies such DHL and UPS encourage their customers to utilize bar coded address labels. These can be ordered directly from shipping companies or they can be computer generated and printed on inkjet or laser printers using specialized shipping software. The main advantage to using bar-coded labels is that they pass through scanning and sorting systems far more quickly than ordinary labels and therefore decrease overall shipping time significantly. A wealth of information can also be stored on a single label, thereby eliminating the need to use more than one label per package.
Hazardous shipping labels : these labels may contain either words, pictures or both. In all cases they are used to indicate the hazard class of goods within the package. These labels should be placed on the largest surface of boxes and containers alongside address labels. Examples of hazardous material labels include magnetized material labels, heat sensitive labels and marine pollutant labels.
Time frame labels : in most cases, shipping companies will have their own color coded time frame labels that will need to be stuck to boxes to indicate their priority. Next day delivery and priority shipment labels will usually be the brightest labels so as to attract the most attention and be instantly recognizable.
Custom shipping labels: fragile, heavy load, live animal and this-way-up labels : these labels are used to indicate parcels that should be handled with extreme care and remain upright at all times.
Additional information labels : examples of these types of labels include special export control labels and additional tracking labels. These labels provide staff and export officials with additional information regarding the nature of the parcel and the level of delivery that customers have selected.