General Packaging Guidelines
Proper packaging is an important part of the delivery experience. These guidelines are designed to help protect your shipment, and ensure that your delivery arrives safely and without incident.
Improper or insufficient packaging could affect the outcome of a claim, so please follow these guidelines when preparing your shipment.
Have questions? Refer to the OnTrac Terms and Conditions for additional information, or contact us. We are ready to help.
General Packaging Guidelines
You can use any packing and shipping materials with OnTrac. We provide paper waybills, WebOnTrac self-adhering label sleeves and label rolls for stand-alone shipping systems. You can order the supplies here.
It's best to use new packing materials whenever possible. The structural integrity of a new box and unused packing material is the best way to prepare your shipment.
If you are reusing a box, please make sure it is rigid, in excellent condition, and has no tears or damage in the corners. Remove or cover all previous labels and markings and make sure there is enough room for cushioning material around the inner contents.
- Make sure the packaging is sturdy and undamaged with all flaps intact and securely sealed.
- Chipboard boxes, such as gift or shoe boxes, must be packed into a corrugated outer box.
- For heavier items, it is a good idea to use double-wall boxes.
- When shipping smaller packages, it is best to place them inside a larger outer box.
- For fragile items, double-box it and allow for 3" of cushioning in and around the smaller box.
- All items should be wrapped individually with cushioning material and centered in cartons away from other items and away from the sides, corners, top, and bottom of the box.
- When shipping bottles that contain liquids, make sure they are placed upright. Use an inner seal and perforated breakaway cap, with an inner packaging that must be able to contain leaks.
- Place items that might be damaged by normal handling, (such as soiling, marking, or application of adhesive labels) in a protective outer box.
- It is best to wrap or tape all content with sharp edges, protrusions or odd and irregular-shapes.
- Enclose an extra label, business card or letterhead with the shipper’s address and phone number as well as the recipient’s address and phone number inside the package before sealing it.
Actual Weight Versus Dimensional Weight
When weighing packages, OnTrac charges the greater of the actual weight or dimensional weight. Dimensional weight applies when the package is relatively light as compared to the package size.
How to Calculate DIM Weight
Dimensional weight is calculated by dividing the cubic size of the package by 166.
- The cubic size of the package is calculated by multiplying the length by the width by the height, in inches.
- Any fraction of the actual or dimensional weight is rounded to the next whole pound.
- Letters less than or equal to 8 ounces will be billed the Letter Rate.
Shipment Size and Weight Restrictions
The maximum size of any shipment limits any dimension from exceeding 72", with the maximum combined length and girth not exceeding 130". Any package that exceeds 130" will be subject to a large package surcharge. Palletized Freight dimensions should not exceed 48" x 48" with a maximum height of 72". Each pallet should not exceed 1800 pounds. Any pallet exceeding the recommended dimensions will be subject to a large package surcharge.
How to Calculate Girth
Girth equals twice the width multiplied by twice the height plus the length. The total should not exceed 130”.
- If height = 12” width = 13” length = 36”.
- Then 2(12) + 2(13) + 36 = 86”.
Single-Box Packing Method
The single-box packing method is where you use one box filled with packing material to protect the contents of your shipment.
- It is best to ship non-fragile products like soft goods inside of a sturdy outer box.
- We recommend using crumpled newspaper, loose fill peanuts or air-cellular cushioning material such as Bubble Wrap to fill any spaces. This also helps to prevent movement of goods during shipping. It is also recommended to place any content that might be affected by dirt, water or outside conditions inside a plastic bag.
- Consolidate small parts or granular products in a strong sealed container or sift proof plastic bag, then package that in a sturdy outer box.
- For best results use an H taping method for sealing your package.
Double-Box Packing Method
The double-box packing method is a safer way to ship. The contents of your shipment are protected by an inner box which is then packed in an outer box.
- Wrap product(s) individually with at least 2" thickness of air-cellular cushioning or foam material to fit snugly inside a corrugated box.
- Use crumpled newspaper, loose fill peanuts or other cushioning material to restrict product movement inside the box.
- To help prevent accidental opening, close and tape the inner box using the H taping method.
- Use a second box that is at least 6" longer, wider, and deeper than the inner box.
- Choose the wrap or fill method to cushion the inner box inside the larger sturdy outer box.
- Wrap fragile products individually, and make sure there is a minimum 3" thickness of cushioning material.
- Wrap the inner box with 3" thickness of air-cellular cushioning material or use at least 3" of loose fill peanuts or other cushioning material to fill the spaces between the inner box and outer box on the top, bottom, and all sides.
- Fill any spaces with cushioning material.
Sealing Your Package
- When sealing your package it is best to use pressure-sensitive plastic tape, water-activated paper tape (minimum 60-lb. grade), or water-activated reinforced tape that is at least 2" wide.
- The use of cellophane tape, duct tape, masking tape, string, or rope to seal a package is not recommended.
- Use tie-on tags on transit cases, e.g. golf bags, skis, luggage, and trade show booths.
The H Taping Method
Apply tape evenly across the flaps and seams of both the top and bottom of the outer box, forming an H.
Addressing and Labeling Your Package
When addressing a package, labels and packing slips should be applied facing the same direction and on the same side of the package.
- Avoid wrapping labels around the corners or placing them on the edge or seam of the package.
- Place shipping labels on the package’s largest surface. If your package has "Up" arrows or other orientation markings, proper label placement will increase the chances that the shipment will be transported in the correct orientation.
- Placing delivery information inside and outside the package can help ensure the package is delivered in case of an accident, include an address for your recipient and yourself.
- Only DirectPost shipments can be delivered to P.O. Boxes. All other OnTrac services require a physical address.
- Please ensure that any old address labels are removed from the outer box, and that the correct shipping address and labels are visible.
Palletized Freight Packing Guidelines
When shipping a pallet, please follow these guidelines:
Each pallet should only have one tracking number. The individual pieces making up the pallet are not tracked, but labeling each box with the same tracking number as the pallet is an additional precaution in case a box is separated from the pallet.
- Pallets should be built with 3.5” of clearance and be able to be used with a pallet jack from two sides of the base.
Products and packages should not overhang the base of the pallet.
- All freight should be secured with stretch wrap and/or banded to the pallet.
When building pallets, an interlocking pattern and flat surface are recommended for good weight distribution.
- Pallets should be stackable. A Large Package Surcharge could be applied to any pallet that is not stackable.
- If a pallet cannot be broken down for transport, please attach a “do not breakdown” label to the pallet, or in some other way indicate that the pallet should not be broken down.
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