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:

  • Pack your boxes according to the boxing method you chose.
  • Use padding materials to protect products from damage during shipping.
  • Attach a box content label to each box.

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.

Book freight with Shopify

Shopify provides a freight option that allows you to access preferred rates.


  1. Provide the number of pallets you are shipping. Depending on the number of pallets you will be asked to provide your pallet configuration or the cargo weight in pounds.
  2. Click Calculate rate. You are provided with one quote for the lowest available rate that Shopify can offer you. Depending on the pallet quantity you will see less than truckload (LTL) or full truckload (FTL) rates.

  3. Add booking details.

  4. Review. You can change anything that is incorrect before submitting. You can cancel the transfer at this stage. However, if you confirm the transfer, then it will not be voidable and will be charged.

  5. Click Submit

  6. Optional: From the Transfer details screen, you can download your Bill of Lading (BOL), box content labels, or product labels.

Ship with your own carrier

After you select Freight as your shipping method, you can chose Shopify freight rates or provide your own by selecting Other. If you select to ship with your own carrier you will need to provide information:

  • Freight provider
  • Ship date
  • Progressive rotating order (PRO) number {#track-info}

In this section, you can also find your advanced shipping notice identification (ASN ID).

You also need to ensure that your freight carrier emails to schedule a delivery appointment. In the email sent, the ASN ID must be provided so that the warehouse knows which shipment they're scheduling a delivery appointment for. Deliveries without an appointment can't be received and will be sent back.

SFN packing guidelines for pallets

Pallet labels must be attached to the side of every pallet in a shipment. Each pallet needs a single label. For example, if you are sending four pallets in a shipment, then print four labels to attach one to each separate pallet.

Use standard size pallets with four-way entry. Don’t use pallets with broken boards or exposed nails. The maximum height for pallets is 90 inches (228.6 cm). The maximum weight for pallets is 2,500 lbs (1133 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.
  • Pallet labels attached on the side of each pallet.

SFN packing guidelines for floor-loaded shipping containers

SFN accepts the following shipping container types:

Shipping container types and dimensions
Container typeLengthWidthHeight
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.

Attach box content labels

Box content labels identify which products are inside each box. To ensure that SFN receives your products quickly and accurately, make sure that you attach the correct box content label to each box.

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