Freight packing and labeling guidelines for Shopify Fulfillment Network

When you send inventory to Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) using Freight shipping, all products must be packed into boxes, pallets, and shipping containers that meet SFN's packing and labeling guidelines.

To avoid errors, delays, and non-compliance fees when SFN receives your products, follow these guidelines for packing and labeling your Freight shipments:

  • Separate product variants into their own inner cases, such as boxes or bags.
  • Use padding materials to protect products from damage during shipping.
  • Attach product labels to each inner case, box, and pallet.
  • Attach transfer labels to each box, pallet, and floor-loaded shipping container.

SFN packing guidelines for boxes

Use sturdy cardboard boxes that are strong enough to hold the weight of your products. Don’t use boxes that are wet, damaged, or have old labels attached.

The following sections provide guidance about how to organize and pack your products.

Separate your product variants

Organizing your products when you pack them for shipping helps SFN to receive your products quickly. Whenever possible, only pack one product variant per box. For example, if you're shipping a sweater that has 3 different sizes, then pack each sweater size into a separate box.

If you can’t avoid packing product variants together in the same box, then separate each product variant into its own inner case, such as a small box or clear bag. Attach product labels to each inner case, and then close them before shipping.

If your product variants aren't separated when SFN receives your shipment, then you're charged a non-compliance fee for the extra time that's required to process your shipment. Order fulfillment can be delayed by 10 business days for non-compliant shipments.

Protect your products from damage during shipping

When you pack products to ship to SFN, you need to protect your products from damage during shipping. SFN staff take every precaution to make sure that your products aren't damaged during receiving. However, gentle handling by your shipping carrier isn't guaranteed. Damaged products can be expensive to replace and many damage claims are denied.

To help protect products from damage, follow these guidelines:

  • Place at least 2 inches (5 cm) of padding materials between your products and the walls of each box. Padding materials can include the following:
    • bubble wrap
    • large industrial paper
    • foam
    • air pillows
  • Fill in empty spaces so that products don’t move around during shipping.
  • Avoid shipping boxes that are heavier than 50 lbs (22 kg). Heavy boxes are more likely to be damaged if they’re dropped.
  • To close boxes, use reinforced shipping tape that is at least 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Apply multiple layers of tape across each seam. Remember to securely tape the bottom of each box.

To support any insurance claims in case of damage during shipping, you can take photos of your padding materials before you close each box.

SFN packing guidelines for pallets

Use standard size pallets with four-way entry. Don’t use pallets with broken boards or exposed nails. The maximum height for pallets is 72 inches (182 cm). The maximum weight for pallets is 2,800 lbs (1,270 kg).

To protect your pallets from damage during shipping, follow these guidelines:

  • Stack the heaviest boxes on the bottom.
  • Make sure that no boxes hang over the edges of the pallet.
  • After stacking the boxes, secure the pallet with plastic shrink wrap.
  • If your pallets contain delicate products, then use edge protectors and straps to protect products from damage.

SFN packing guidelines for floor-loaded shipping containers

SFN accepts the following shipping container types:

Shipping container types and dimensions
Container type Length Width Height
Twenty Foot Equivalent (TEU) 20 ft (6.10 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 8.5 ft (2.59 m)
Forty Foot Equivalent (FEU) 40 ft (12.19 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 8.5 ft (2.59 m)

To protect your products from damage during shipping, follow these guidelines when you pack your shipping container:

  • Pack heavier boxes on the bottom of the shipping container.
  • Stack boxes in an interlocking pattern to distribute the weight and pressure across multiple boxes.
  • Avoid stacking boxes in columns. This method places the full weight of the column on the bottom box and can lead to damage.
  • To prevent shifting, pack boxes densely to the container walls, and secure boxes with load bars or straps.
  • If the shipping container isn't completely full, then use dunnage bags or other materials to fill in any empty spaces.
  • Seal each container with multiple secure container seals. These seals ensure the integrity of your shipment during the shipping process and final delivery to SFN fulfillment centers.

SFN label placement guidelines

After you download your product labels and transfer labels, ensure that your inner cases, boxes, pallets, and shipping containers are labeled accurately. The following sections provide guidance about how to label your shipment correctly.

Attach product labels to inner cases, boxes, and pallets

Product labels are used to identify which products are packed inside an inner case, box, or pallet. To ensure that SFN receives your products quickly and accurately, follow these guidelines.

Boxes

  • For boxes that contain a single product, attach a product label to the outside of the box.
  • For boxes that contain multiple product variants, attach a product label to each inner case and to the outside of the box.

Pallets

  • For pallets that contain a single product, attach the product label to the outside of the pallet.
  • For pallets that contain multiple product variants, attach a product label for each product variant to the outside of the pallet.

Attach transfer labels to pallets and shipping containers

Each shipment must have a transfer label to identify which inbound transfer the pallets or shipping containers belong to. If the transfer label is missing when SFN receives your shipment, then you're charged a non-compliance fee for the extra time that's required to process your products. Order fulfillment can be delayed by 10 business days for non-compliant inbound transfers.

Refer to the following guidelines for attaching your transfer labels:

Pallets

  • Attach a transfer label to each side of the pallet.
  • Attach all transfer labels on the outside of the shrink wrap.

Shipping containers

  • Attach a transfer label to each box inside the shipping container.

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