Trusting your carrier is one thing but assuming that shipping staff will not drop a laptop or stack heavy boxes on top of an antique crystal vase during the entire shipping process is another. What is safe to assume is that a package will go through all sorts of rough handling during transport and it is your responsibility as shipper to provide your item with a safe, cushioned and protected environment inside its box so that it will survive all the bumps and falls it will encounter.
To make shippers realize how important it is to properly pack items for them to arrive intact, we will give a run down on what a package goes through during shipping.
A box weighing 50 pounds is expected to get turned end over end, around 10 times during a trip as it is moved from a shipping facility to the delivery truck. It will get dropped at the height of 4 or 5 inches at least half a dozen times as shipping staff stack it in trucks or in the warehouse.
During the longest leg of the journey, it will sit for hours or even days with a hundred pounds or more of boxes stacked on top of it. And, all the loose parts within the box will vibrate against each other for hours while the carrier’s truck is in motion. During wet season, the box may sit on the wet floor of the delivery truck. This is the very best handling you can hope for from companies who were conscientious enough to really handle your package with utmost care.
However, not all shipping companies will live up to their promise of “careful handling.” There will always be incautious personnel who will drop the box a foot once or twice during the trip or will walk, kick or sit on top of boxes to get other packages out of the truck. Of course they will not admit that they were irresponsible! They just assumed that you packed the box so well that it can handle such abuse. The same reason why some delivery men leave packages on the recepient’s front porch, exposed to the sun or pouring rain.
Smaller boxes are not safe either. In fact, they can be exposed to more rough handling as they are easier to throw around. Some postal conveyor machines, which can only handle small and lighter packages, can drop a box into a receptacle 3 feet below and then drop other boxes on top of it.
Now you know why the standard package shipping requirement is that the box should be able to take repeated 42 inch drops.
No amount of “HANDLE WITH CARE”, “GLASS” or “FRAGILE” labels will ensure that your package will arrive safely. It all boils down to you, the shipper, to protect your item with adequate packing.