What Is a Shipping Mark?

A shipping mark is a symbol, word or number written on freight for easy identification of cargo. It shows the handler what type of product the shipment contains and other useful information, such as weight, size, destination, country of origin and consignee. Shipping companies follow certain rules in placing shipping marks.

For international flight, the information on the cartons correspond to the information provided on the supplier’s packing list. Generally, the fields printed on a box include the name or logo of the purchaser, product reference, net and gross weight, dimensions, number of carton and country of destination.

For shipment to warehouses and distribution centers, cartons are printed with the product reference, order number and other related information, such as type of goods, color, size and season. Pictorial markings are typically used to avoid potential issues with language barriers, especially when the workers handling the cargo do not understand the language used in the shipping mark. Most large shipping companies provide a copy of pictorial shipping marks to avoid confusion.

Stencil with waterproof ink is used to write the port and identification marks. Moreover, coded marks are used to ensure that handlers are not aware of the exact contents of the cartons in order to prevent theft. Shipment that requires special handling is indicated in the shipping mark.