Packaging Guidelines

TNT accepts shipments that have either used the original manufacturer's packaging or those of the shipper.  Please consider the following guidelines to ensure your consignment moves safely through our system.

For additional information or assistance please contact your local TNT service representative.

Please contact your local TNT customer service centre for details of the maximum item weights and destinations allowed when using our express services.

Proper Packaging

Proper PackagingOut boxes should be made of a rigid and tear-resistant material

Check the weight Check the weight specification of the package, and do not exceed this limit.  Make sure the packaging is in no way damaged (used or damaged boxes can loose 30% to 60% of their strength) and that all box flaps are intact.


Proper PackagingThe packaging should have enough uninterrupted flat surface area to attach a TNT consignment note or routing label without affecting the contents of the package.  If it does not, the contents will have to be placed inside a larger box.  Remove all old routing and address labels and barcodes.

Proper Packaging Items with surfaces that will be spoilt by adhesive labels, marked or easily damaged by normal handling should be boxed.

Fillers and cushioning material

Fillers and Cushioning MaterialPut a layer of cushioning material at least 5cm deep in the bottom of the box.  Delicate and heavier items will require more cushioning in the bottom, sides and top of the box.

Fillers and Cushioning material Wrap each item individually with cushioning material, and centre it in the box.  Ensure that each item is separated from other items in the box and that it is cushioned from the sides, corners, top and bottom of the box.

  Fillers and Cushioning material 

Fill all spaces firmly with additional filler and add another layer of cushioning material on top.

Filler materials offer limited protection for heavy metallic items, such as metal automotive components. Such goods should be transported in heavy reinforced boxes. Small, loose components must be placed in a heavy-duty inner plastic bag that is labelled prior to placing into an outer box.

Printed matter

Printed matter, such as magazines or other publications, must be correctly packaged to avoid moving around in transit, leading to soiled and damaged contents. Band or shrink-wrap all printed matter, then cushion the box at the bottom, sides and top with filler.

Rolled goods

Rolled goods, such as carpet, textiles or paper, should be wrapped in plastic with duplicate shipper / receiver address labels securely applied to the outer plastic. Wrap the items in ‘bubble wrap’ or reinforced plastic before placing them in a carton outer tube.

Sealing Packages

Sealing PackagesPackaging should enable you to attach routing label (on an uninterrupted flat surface), consignment note or document windows, thus allowing barcodes to be scanned by automatic sort systems and/or TNT employees to read the details easily.

Sealing Packages Ensure there are no sharp points or protruding edges. Cover such surfaces with firmly taped corrugated panels or pads to blunt them. Then seal package securely by applying three 5 cm-wide, pressure-sensitive strips of plastic tape to the top and bottom of the package.

Wrapping paper, household cellophane tape, masking tape, water-activated tape, string and rope should not be used. Paper will tear; string or rope will snag on automatic sorting equipment. TNT reserves the right to refuse packages wrapped in paper or with string or rope.

Sealing Packages When taping boxes closed, place a strip of tape over the seam and two other strips alongside to support it. The heavier the package, particularly publications, the more tape is needed. Heavy-duty plastic strapping applied in at least two directions is preferred.

Sealing Packages  Remember: Before sealing your consignment please put an additional copy of the address label inside the package that shows the shipper's address and phone number together with the recipient's address and phone (or fax) number. You may also wish to insert a business card or your letterhead in the package. This will help us if the outer address label becomes detached in transit.

Addressing and Labelling

Addressing and labelling Use an address label that has both the recipient's address and your return address clearly marked. Always include the post code and telephone details of the recipient on the consignment note and delivery address label. The post code must be for a street address and we cannot deliver to post office boxes.

Address your shipment using a standard TNT note and routing label created by our laser jet label printer software.  Please avoid the use of recycled packaging to ensure your goods are properly protected in transit and if necessary remove any old shipping labels from the package. The shipper and sender's address details must be shown on the package as well as on the TNT Express consignment note.

Affix your TNT consignment note or address label firmly on the top surface of the package. This assists with correct orientation of the item during shipment. TNT cannot ensure compliance with orientation markings such as ‘UP’ arrows and ‘This End Up’ markings, partly because packages are machine-sorted in our hubs. Never cover the bar code or allow labels to wrinkle or become dirty.

Shipping your Package

Call your local TNT depot to arrange a pickup, or if you have questions about how to use our service please refer to your local TNT Representative.

Please do:

  • Affix your TNT routing label or TNT consignment note to the top surface area of the shipping container
  • Ensure the label is printed on a proper functioning printer.  The bar code on the TNT routing label is used by us for sorting your package to the correct destination, and a poorly printed label may not scan, causing delays
  • Be careful to apply only one TNT routing label or consignment note to the package.
  • Ensure your TNT routing label conforms to our specification for the bar code size and please consult us if you are not sure about how to prepare the documentation.

Please do not:

  • Place any tape or shrink/stretch-wrap material over the TNT routing label or consignment note.
  • Please the TNT routing label or consignment note where it overlaps the edge of the box.
  • Crease teh TNT routing label or consignment note when fixing to your package.
  • Mark or scratch the TNT routing label or consignment note bar code.