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If you are a business owner whose operations are expanding into new territories, markets and locations, you need to streamline your logistics to ensure maximum efficiency. A part of this involves ensuring that your products for shipping are properly prepared for transportation. This is where packing, packaging and containers come into play. But do you know the difference between these factors? In this blog article, we explore what each concept means, what function they play and why they are important. Let’s take a closer look.

The functions of packaging and packing

Although you may not have given it much thought, there are important differences between packing, packaging and containers. Although these concepts are often used interchangeably, there are several important differences between them. For example, packaging is the material that surrounds the primary product or item being sold to the final consumer.

Meanwhile, packaging is the protective covering or the supportive material for such packaged items that is used for safe handling during their transportation in bulk quantities. Therefore, although they sound similar, the packaging functions serve a crucial purpose of protecting items from damage, deterioration and tampering or pilferage during transportation as well as branding.

Meanwhile packing functions serve the purpose of branding, protecting the item when a consumer purchases it, offering detailed information, containing bar codes and shipping marks as well as labels and handling instructions. This is often not the case with packing.

What are the main aspects of packaging and packing?

When a customer purchases a product off the shelf, it is considered to be in its primary packaging or its outer cover. However, when it comes to transportation, that product (which is usually transported in bulk quantities) must be resistant to impacts, compression and stress. That’s because the product may be subjected to fluctuating temperatures, impact, vibrations and compressions during transportation and handling.

What is the difference between container and packaging?

Having covered the different purposes and functions of packaging and packing, we will now look at the differences between the two by exploring the characteristics of containers and packaging.

As a starting point, we look at the container logistics definition, whose ultimate objective is to preserve the product under certain conditions. This is the part of the presentation of the product for the final consumer and as such, they usually have an attractive design. The most frequently used materials for containers and or packaging are glass, plastic or cardboard.

As for packaging, this aims to protect the product from damage during handling, transport or storage. It is also used to identify specific merchandise. In some cases, it can be wrapped in a particular way so as to enhance its appeal. And finally, the materials that are most frequently used for packaging are wood, paper, plastic or cardboard.

Types of containers and packaging

Having covered the main differences between containers and packaging, we now take a look at what are the types of containers and packaging? In short, there are three types of packing that a product may go through, depending on the function in question. The first is primary packing, which remains in direct contact with the product. It provides immediate protection and can have a high commercial impact.

The second is secondary packing. This is the type of packing that protects the primary packing and is usually discarded when the product will be used. It also has an important brand value and can sometimes be used to group more than one product together.

Finally, there is tertiary packing which is also known as transport packing. Because of this, its main purpose is to protect the product during handling and transport. It will contain both the primary and secondary packing within it and it is used to ensure that products for export arrive in undamaged condition.

Examples of the types of packing materials include: cardboard/fibreboard, wooden cases, wooden crates, steel drums, bales, palletizing cargo (pallets) and cargo containers.

Of course, there are also different types of packaging. For example, there are disposable packaging materials that are used for a once-off purpose and are then discarded. Other types of packaging include recyclable packaging materials, reusable packaging materials, and others.

What factors determine the choice of packaging?

Finally, we explore the factors that determine the ultimate choice of packaging. In many cases, these will include:

  • The product characteristics (e.g. solid, liquid or gas)
  • Weight
  • Volume
  • Fragility
  • Hazard level
  • Value
  • Stability
  • Perishability
  • Environmental impact, and
  • Points of sale

For those who are just launching their businesses, it is worth knowing that there are differences between packing, packaging and containers. Sometimes, packaging and containers are used interchangeably as are packing and packaging. However, there are crucial differences between these concepts which must be considered.

If you are looking for solutions to help your business thrive in terms of packing, transportation and handling of your products, we at DRG Solutions are here to help. We can help with all your packing needs and ensure that your items are transported safely to practically any location around the world. We can also assist with any international courier service from Barcelona to help streamline your operations.

Simply get in touch with us!