shipping marks

When you are importing goods from China or any other country, how do you make sure that your items don’t get mixed up?

Well, that is where the shipping marks come in.

In the business of eCommerce, it is highly important for cargo handlers to identify what type of items they are dealing with. Because if not, there can be huge consequences.

It is the responsibility of cargo handlers to take important measures to ensure easy transportation and safety. They cannot do that if there are no shipping markings on the box.

So, EJET has compiled a blog that contains details about what shipping marks are and why they are important.

In this blog, we will cover information such as what kind of shipping marks are there, the guideline for adding shipping marks, and more. So, make sure you are reading this till the end.

Chapter 1: Shipping Marks- What is their Important in International Trade?

Chapter 2: Type of Shipping Marks used and their meaning?

Chapter 3: What kind of Marks are needed on Shipping Cartons?

Chapter 4: Important Shipping Marks that need to be present on the Box?

Chapter 5: Who arranges what for the Shipping Marks?

Chapter 6: Guideline for Proper Shipping Marks?

Chapter 7: Things that are important when applying Shipping Marks

Chapter 8: Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Marks

Chapter 1: Shipping Marks- What is their Important in International Trade?


commerce has reached every corner of the world. People buy products from every part of the world.

However, in order to make sure that the products/boxes reach safe and sound, there is a need for some markings.

That is what shipping marks are. In this chapter, we are going to talk about shipping marks in detail so that you can get an idea of why these markings are important.

1. The role of Shipping mark in Export Business

Shipping Marks- What is their Important in International Trade

According to famous dictionaries like Meriam-Webster and Oxford, a shipping mark is defined as a label that shows the consignee’s name, weight, and destination.

Moreover, these marks also include the size of the item, the country it is originated from, and the number of products in that single box.

Info that is pasted on the carton should match your supplier’s list. In export businesses, shipping marks are used to identify the type of product and how to handle it.

 They are there so that the freight officers can manage them easily. Along with that, the labels are pasted so that people can manage the products when they receive them.

2. Why Shipping Marks are needed?

The question is why shipping marks are needed when you can just send the items to the receiver. Well, there is a huge math’s behind it. First of all, shipping marks are needed so that handlers can carry/load your cargo properly.

Moreover, when the items reach export/import offices, there is a need for an indicator that shows the customs officers, logistics team, inspection team, and warehousing people how to handle the products.

Why Shipping Marks are

If there is a cold storage mark on the box, they will place it in the freezer. If it is fragile, they will pick/move the carton with care.

In order to identify the goods for import or export, shipping marks are required. That is because they show the information related to the consignee and the product type.

Keep in mind that, attaching shipping marks on the box has become a rule and everyone has to follow it. No matter, which country you are from, you have to place relevant shipping marks.

Let’s take an example. Suppose you are ordering glassware from a Chinese supplier. Now, for that time being, only you and the supplier know that the box contains fragile items.

Moreover, only you and the supplier know the quantity and shipping address. The question is how will the export/import office know what is in the box.

That is where the shipping marks come in. Your supplier will attach a label “Fragile-handle with care sticker” on the box. Moreover, he will also paste the list that contains information such as quantity, the material used, and delivery address and more.

If the supplier does not paste these important stickers, you can lose your order, or it will reach the final destination in broken pieces.

That is why shipping marks are important and they should be used on every carton in order to have a smooth transaction.

3. Pros of adding Shipping mark on cartons

In the above section, we have you a little information on why shipping marks are important. Here, we will talk about that in more detail so that you can know the importance of shipping marks.

  • Makes it easier for import/export officers

Import/export officers deal with thousands of boxes in a single day. They need an indication that the package belongs to you and it should be handled with care.

Shipping marks make it easy for them to identify and they can handle the box in a more efficient manner.

  • Gives clear information of content inside the box

Shipping marks are meant to deliver the most accurate form of information. Keep in mind that, the customs officers are not allowed to open the carton unless they have a suspicion

They can only get the information from the labels outside. Shipping marks give them detailed information such as an address, consignee name, supplier name, receiver’s name, and content of the box.

This way, the import/export officers will know when and how to deliver the boxes to the receiver’s name.

  • Makes it easier for you to handle

Suppose you have ordered those shirts that have 5 different variations. Now, your supplier will put a label on each of the boxes to show which variation that box contains.

This way you will be able to handle it more easily, instead of opening each box and seeing what is inside the carton.

  • Prevents mishaps and incidents

Lastly, the main reason shipping marks are added is so that everyone can prevent any major mishaps.

Remember, the Beirut incident. Yes, that happened because the items were not stored correctly. We can assume that there were no proper guidelines to store the material.

In order to prevent those mishaps, there is a need to deliver crucial information on how to handle the products. That is what shipping markings deliver.

4. Do you really need a Shipping mark on the carton?

Do you really need a Shipping mark on carton

After all this information, the role of shipping marks, and the pros, what do you think, “Do you need a shipping mark”. Well, the answer is yes. You need the shipping marks and they have to paste on the cartons.

This is because they enable smooth transactions and keep everyone safe. Plus, if you don’t want to lose your order, you have to make the supplier arrange the shipping labels.
Keep in mind that, if there are no shipping labels, customs officers can seize your products. So, make sure you are adding the marks on boxes and cartons.

Chapter 2: Type of Shipping Marks used and their meaning?

Type of Shipping Marks used and their meaning

Moving towards the second chapter, here we have added information about the types of shipping labels and the meaning of these labels.

This chapter will help you in understanding what type of labels are required for your specific product. Let’s talk about these labels.

1. Handle with Care mark

The first and most important type of shipping label is the “Handle with Care” mark. This type of mark is used on cartons that contain sensitive items such as electronics, microcontrollers, furniture items, and related products.

If this mark is present on the box, the handlers will place and move the cartons with care.

Handle with Care mark

2. Keep Dry mark

Another most important mark in shipping labels is the “Keep Dry” mark. Keep dray mark states that the items present in the box should be kept away from water or any liquid. Products such as spices, electronics, earth minerals, and powdered items.

3. This side Up mark

Moving towards the next label, it is “This Side Up”. This type of mark is used on the box that contains items which are needed to be placed in an upward direction.

Just to give you an example, there is a sensor used in car steering. If it is placed downwards, the sensor is of no use. It is important to place these sensors in an upward direction.

So, if you are ordering a box full of steering sensors, make sure the supplier is placing those  “This Side Up” label on the box.

This side Up mark

4. Explosive mark

If there are any items that can explode or contain explosive content, then this mark is used. We are sure that you have seen this mark on the box of Lithium-Ion cells.

Li-ion cells can explode if they are properly handled, so an explosive mark is used on the cartons to prevent any mishap.

5. Flammable Mark

Like explosive mark, the flammable mark is also used on cartons that contain electronics or any chemicals.

If the box contains “Flammable Mark”, the handler will make sure that the carton is not placed under extreme heat, or it is not placed nearer to any carton that contains sparking equipment.

Flammable Mark

6. Toxic Mark

“Toxic” mark is used when the items contain any dangerous material. This type of label is mainly used on drums, oil cans, liquid nitrogen storage canisters, and products related to that.

A toxic symbol is important, and if you have items that don’t contain this symbol, customs will surely seize your products.

7. Corrosive Mark

Corrosive symbol states that the items inside the box or drum should get in contact with metals or other related material.

Corrosive material is dangerous and can cause incidents that are difficult to recover from. Make sure you are adding the corrosive symbol if you are ordering items like acids or chemical bases.

8. Fragile Mark

Next to the corrosive mark, there is a fragile mark. Fragile mark is mostly used on cartons that contain glass items.

Products like a drinking glass, picture frames, and any other product that contains the use of glass should be labeled with a “Fragile” mark. With this mark, handlers will make sure your items are handled with care.

9. Do not Stack mark

We discussed the “This Side Up” mark. Like that, there is a “Do Not Stack” label. This is used to show that the contents of the box should not be stacked up.

This label is used when a single carton is full of contents, and cannot be afforded to be stacked on top of another box that has the same amount of content.

10. Protect from Heat mark

Protect from Heat mark

“Protect from Heat” or sometimes also known as “Flammable” marking is used when there is a need to protect the contents from extreme heat. Most of the time, these items are either pharmaceutical items or medicine.

11. Food mark

“Food” mark is there so that the handlers can know that the carton contains food items. Items like canned goods, packed meat, frozen items come under this mark.

Handlers make sure that Food Labeled carton is stored under proper temperature and humidity.

12. Center of Gravity Mark

Lastly, there is a COG mark. This mark is used when the items have to be placed in an accurate position. COG mark is used on cartons that contain electronic equipment or liquid items.

Chapter 3: What kind of Marks are needed on Shipping Cartons?

What kind of Marks are needed on Shipping Cartons

Shipping marks are important for import/export. There are plenty of shipping marks available out there. Some of them have to be pasted, while some are an exception.

But, which of these are important and which ones are not. In this blog, we will talk about that so that you can see what kind of labels are necessary.

1. Primary Shipping Marks

The primary label is the first type of shipping mark that is important and should be present on the box. These labels are simple geometric shapes that contain information such as contents inside the box, consignee name, credit number, and shipping marks.

Keep in mind that the primary shipping label should be designed in such a way that it shows all important information. It should be matched with Bill Of Lading, shipping order, manifest and more.

Primary Shipping Marks

2. Secondary Shipping marks

There is another type of shipping mark and that is secondary shipping labels. You should paste these markings along with the primary labels. These marks further help in smoothing the import/export process.

  • Port of the destination name

Port of Destination is the secondary label that shows the information of the destination port. Suppose you have a package coming from China and you live in America.

The Port of Destination name on your package will be a port of America. Don’t worry that port will be nearest to your house address.

  • Description of items present in the carton

Moving towards the second label, it is the description of items label. That label shows what kind of items are there in the carton. Don’t worry, it does not show the exact contents. It gives a reference to handlers on how to handle those cartons.

  • Weight and dimensions

Weight and dimensions are important factors in shipping. Based on this label, the price is calculated and items are moved efficiently. The weight & dimension sticker shows the exact weight of the box and the space it will require in the storage.

  • Country of Origin

Take Port of destination, Country of origin shows where the products originated from. If it is China, China will be written on the box. Basically, it helps the customs department to calculate relevant taxes and fees.

  • Box Number (Package Number)

Lastly, there is a box number label. If you have 200 boxes, then the label number in the box will be used. It helps the handlers distinguish between your cartons.

3. Indication Markings

Indication Markings

In the above chapter, we discussed indicator shipping markings. There are two most common indicator markings used on cartons. These markings are

  • Handling mark

Shipping labels such as Handle with Care, Fragile, This Side Up, and Center of Gravity come under the handling mark. Customs officers handle the cartons with care and according to rules if there are any of these marks present on the box.

  • Dangerous good marking

Moving towards second indication marks, it is there to prevent any mishaps. Stickers like Corrosive material, keep away from fire, flammable, and toxic are dangerous goods marks.

If a box or carton has any of these marks, handlers will keep them under the supervision and will move them using proper equipment.

Chapter 4: Important Shipping Marks that need to be present on the Box?

When you are preparing the boxes for shipping, it is important to paste the relevant information on the carton. That is because, with the information on the boxes, the handlers know what to do with it.

To keep the process smooth, there is some important information that needs to be present on the box. Keep reading this chapter, and you will get an idea.

1. Consignee Marks and Details

Consignee Marks and Details

One of the first important details that should be present on the box is the consignee sticker. The sticker contains the name of the consignee, his address, contact information, and other details related to that.

These details help the handlers in contacting the consignee if there is an issue with the cartons.

2. Weight Marks

Secondly, you have to write the weight and dimensions of the carton. The thing is freight officers place the boxes according to the weight and size to save space.

If your box has the weight and dimensions mentioned, the officers will add it to the relevant place.

3. Carton Size and Number

Another crucial thing to add to the carton is carton size and the number of that carton. See, if you are sending 50 cartons, the handlers have to know that you are sending 50 cartons.

So, when you mentioned the carton number, handlers can easily identify your boxes.

4. Country of Origin

Country of Origin

COO or also known as the Country of Origin mark is very important in the export/import business. It specifies where the product belongs to. The country of origin label is used for many purposes. It is used to calculate the taxes, shipping fees, and more.

Plus, handlers also use the COO label to contact the concerned person of that country.

5. Handling Marks

Lastly, you have to add handling marks on cartons so that you can prevent any type of mishaps. If your cartons contain glassware, add a Fragile sticker. If there is any dangerous material, add a corrosive/flammable material sticker.

Chapter 5: Who arranges what for the Shipping Marks?

Who arranges what for the Shipping Marks

In order for a smooth transaction, both supplier and buyer have to work side by side. Yes, we are talking about shipping marks.

For this whole system to work, some of the shipping labels are arranged by the supplier and some are arranged by the buyer. In this chapter, we will talk about who arranges what type of shipping marks.

1.  Shipping marks by buyers

Here are the shipping marks that buyer has to arrange.

  •  Amazon Private Label marks

It is the responsibility of the buyer to arrange the Amazon private label marks. Private label marks can be of any type. A buyer knows his products and has to arrange the labels that are associated with the product.

Then, when he has arranged those labels, he will send those to the supplier so that the supplier can paste the marks on the cartons.

  • FKNSU barcode mark

FKNSU barcode mark

Amazon business owners know what FKNSU barcodes are. These barcodes are basically given by Amazon itself. FKNSU codes are used to differentiate your product from other products.

In simple words, Amazon scans this barcode and gets to know that the products belong to you. When you create a shipment plan, Amazon generates these codes for you. After that, you print these codes and paste them on the carton.

In the case of suppliers, you send these codes to the supplier, and he pastes them on the carton.

  • UPC Barcode

UPC Barcode

UPC barcode is an international identification that G1 provides. It basically specifies that the product belongs to you and you are the only owner of that product. Remember, this is different than FKNSU.

You can get a UPC barcode from your respective G1 website. When you have that, send that code to the supplier and he will paste that on the carton.

2. Shipping marks by Sellers

Talking about the role of sellers in arranging shipping labels, here is what they have to do.

  • Hazard Labels

If the seller is selling you a product that is dangerous or can cause major mishaps, then he has to mention that on the carton. Suppose, if there is any acid, then the seller has to paste dangerous goods label.

Keep this in mind that the seller will handle this phase. He will add the necessary labels so that the product does not get seized on the port.

  • Box dimension label

Next, the seller has to mention the dimensions of the box on the carton. Since the seller knows how many units he can fit in the box, he will have the idea of box dimensions.

  1. Item description Label

The item description is important because, with this information, export/import officers get to know what is inside the box.

The seller will mention the item type, its quantity, and other related information on the carton so that the officers can cross-check.

  • Seller’s Company Name and Address

Lastly, the seller will add his personal information on the box so that the boxes can get returned easily. The seller will add his company name, company address, and contact number (In some cases) on the carton.

Chapter 6: Guideline for Proper Shipping Marks?

Guideline for Proper Shipping Marks

Shipping marks play a vital role in the export/import business. So, it is important that you should follow the guidelines for pasting the shipping labels on the cartons. In this chapter, we will discuss the guidelines that you need to follow for shipping labels.

1. Port/Destination should be applied by Stencil

Port of destination is an important part of the business. With this information, the handlers decide what to do with the carton.

So, it is important to apply the port of destination name with solid ink. According to the guidelines, the port of destination should be applied using the stencil and waterproof ink must be used.

2. Coded marks should be used rather than trademark

In the export/import business, there is a high chance of theft. That is because no one has eyes on what is going on. In the past, there were many cases of people getting empty cartons.

So, to prevent that, companies started using coded marks, instead of trademarks. With this, export/import handlers don’t know what is exactly inside the box.

Hence, their products are saved from any thefts. Make sure that when you are sending the products, their trademarks are coded.

3. If box requires any special treatment, add the labels

Another important guideline is adding the necessary labels on the box. If your box requires cold storage, then you should add the cold storage label. If there is any toxic material, you should add the toxic label.

These labels are meant to give handling instructions to the handlers so that their lives, as well as your products, stay in a safe condition.

4. Use Stencil for markings and logos

Use Stencil for markings and logos

Like we discussed the port of destination name, you should add the logos and markings using the stencil.

Actually, stencil works pretty well on cartons, so that is why it is used by many shippers. Plus, the stencil method is more efficient than screen printing or stickers.

Chapter 7: Things that are important when applying Shipping Marks

Every freight is handled by many handlers, so it is important that the carton should contain maximum information so that every handler can do his job without any major effort.

In this chapter, we will talk about the things that you need to know about shipping marks so that you can follow every detail when applying the shipping marks.

1. Picture Shipping Markings

Picture Shipping Markings

Different ethnicities are working on the ports, some of them can understand the information mentioned on the box, while some cannot. So, the best method is to use pictorial shipping marks instead of writing.

These pictorial shipping markings are standard all over the world and can be recognized by almost any handler. So, that is why you see pictorial shipping marks on many boxes.

2. Hazard Categories that require the marking

This heading is about hazard categories. If you have something that can cause major mishaps, then it is important to apply hazard marking on the box.

We have mentioned plenty of hazard signs that are most commonly used. Here is an overview of hazard markings that are used on the cartons.

  • Flammable liquid substance markings
  • Products that are prone to combustion
  • Products that generate toxic gasses
  • Radioactive substances
  • Products that can cause corrosion
  • Substances that are dangerous and should be handled with care
  • UN Packaging Standards

UN released Performance Packaging Standards in 1991 so that handlers can stay safe from any mishap. UN standardized the markings and now it is important to follow these standards when you are applying the labels on the cartons.

A detailed list of shipping marks standardized by the UN can be found on the internet. Make sure when you are pasting the labels, they are according to UN guidelines.

3. What else you should include in marking the box

Nowadays, people are using indic

What else you should include in marking the box

ator labels on the cartons. There are labels that show the exact orientation, impact reading, and more.

Use those indicators so that the handlers can make sure that your products are safe. Plus, these indicator labels will also help you in winning the claim if in case the damage is greater.

Chapter 8: Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Marks

1. How to make a shipping mark for the carton?

There are plenty of ways through which you can make the shipping marks. Some people use stencils, while some prefer screen printing. Another way of adding a sticker label is by printing it on the sticker paper and pasting it on the box.

2. What type of shipping marks are there on carton?

There are some important shipping marks that need to be present on the box. Here is a list of important shipping marks.

  • Port of Destination name
  • Supplier company name and address
  • Box number
  • Box quantity
  • Description of items
  • Indication pictures

3. How Suppliers add Amazon FKNSU code on shipping box

When you generate a shipping plan on Amazon, Amazon generates the FKNSU codes. You send those codes to the supplier and then the supplier prints them using a stencil on the carton of the products.

4. Is there any advantage of adding shipping marks labels on boxes?

Yes, there are a lot of advantages of adding a shipping label on the cartons. First, it helps the handlers in handling the products, resulting in no damage or breakage. Secondly, it prevents any major mishaps.

5. Are these shipping marks important in export

Shipping marks are important in the business because it helps in smooth transactions. Moreover, it helps the customs officers in managing the orders. Lastly, you have to add the relevant shipping marks because the UN has made it mandatory.


In order to have a smooth transaction, it is important that suppliers, buyers, and customs offices work side by side. Both suppliers and buyers have to provide complete information so that the handlers and customs officers can do their work more efficiently.

For instance, suppliers have to provide a Bill of Lading, approvals, export paperwork, and more. On the other hand, the buyer has to arrange import paperwork and manage the transportation.

They both have another common role and that is arranging the shipping marks for the products. Shipping marks are important for the business because they provide complete information on how to handle the cartons.

In this blog, EJET has added a detailed guide on what are shipping marks and how many types are there. We hope that this blog will help you in understanding the role of shipping marks.