There are many different steps that need to be taken to ensure that all drums and barrels are packaged correctly before they are ready to be shipped or transported, whether this is abroad or within the US. Protecting cargo and products protects your bottom line and profit margin. Just how do you ensure that goods reach their destination fit for purpose and undamaged?


Assessing your cargo

The transportation process is not gentle. From boxes being ‘thrown’ to other items banging against them, packaging needs to protect them in many different ways. But with consumers demanding less packaging (and packaging that is not expensive to recycle), finding the right balance is key. There are many options but assessing your cargo is important before you start the packing process.


  • Delicate items

Items that are susceptible to damage need to be protected in transit. There is a range of options including air-filled pockets and other materials that absorb forces that would otherwise damage the product. Clearly labelling packaging is important too.

  • Weight of items

Heavier items should be placed near the bottom of barrels and packed in such a way that movement is not possible within the container. When items move, they are more likely to be damaged but also result in instability within the container too.


Choosing the right protective packaging

Knowing and understanding your products, you will have a better idea of what kind of packaging will protect your products. You also need to be clear what it is you are protecting it from.


Damage doesn’t just mean something arrives broken. It could also mean it is contaminated. The range of contaminants are vast and depend on several factors. For example, will moisture in the drum damage the product or will dust or debris in the packaging render the product useless?


There are various packaging options for use with drums, including;


  • Barrier bags– are heat sealed to protect against leakages and spills. If a barrel were to fall over, for example, there would be less chance of the contents of the barrel spilling and leaking its contents.
  • Foil round bottom drum liners – leaks inside the container can lead to the cargo being wasted.Foil round bottom drum liners act similar to barrier bags in that they are heal sealed, guarding against leaks and spills.



Clearly labelling drums and packaging as to the nature of the contents is an essential part of safe and secure shipping and transportation.


Each barrel label must contain certain information to ensure that it meets regulations – these vary from country to country and so it’s important to provide the right level of information. This label must include information such as;

  • the type of barrel being used
  • the contents of the barrel and the month and year it was manufactured
  • the manufacturer’s code
  • the weight of the contents as well as the barrel

Not only does each barrel need to have a label affixed, but it is also advised to write the information in permanent marker on the barrel too, something that can help if the original label is damaged and the information illegible.


It is important to provide all the necessary and correct labelling information, as this is often a legal requirement. It also provides important information to carriers if there is a problem in transit.


Do your research!

You must provide all the correct information for customs if your shipment is going to the European or global market. Similarly, domestic shipping with certain carriers also means you will need to provide information. Just as important is making sure that everything is packed securely so that the potential for damage, spills and contamination is minimal.