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3. PACKING THE GOODS.
In an inland town the packing is usually looked after by the exporter himself. In London and other large seaports, however, in cases where orders have been sent direct to the manufacturer in another town, the packing is usually attended to by the manufacturer, who also forwards the goods to the port of shipment when so instructed by the buyers.
In either case the packing must be carried out in strict accordance with instructions received. If no instructions have been sent, the mode of packing should conform to the recognised custom for the same class of goods for the same market, and care should be taken to so pack the goods as to minimise the risk of damage.
When goods are packed in cases, the cases should be of wood, lined with zinc or oilcloth, or waterproof paper (patent packing), as directed, and secured with iron bands (not strips of wood) nailed on to the outside. When packed in bales, the covering usually consists of paper next to the goods, then a sheet of cotton bagging or canvas, then a layer of tarpaulin or oilcloth, and double canvas outside of all. Sometimes lags or boards are used to cause the bales to retain their original shape. The bales should be well compressed and secured by iron hoops or ropes as may be desired. As far as practicable a package should contain only one class of goods, otherwise there may be trouble in passing the goods through the foreign Custom House.
In many cases freight is paid on the measurement of the packages, therefore in packing the goods no space should be lost consistent with the goods arriving in good condition. The exact size of the case required is ascertained by placing the goods in the position in which it is intended they shall be packed and then measuring them.
Many American exporters include the cost of packing in the price of the goods. In some cases this practice might be followed with advantage by British shippers. It is an irritating charge when shown separately, and might easily be done away with.
Hardware, tools, locks, hosiery, and small articles generally, should be put up in handy boxes properly labelled, instead of in
brown paper parcels, and made as attractive as possible. They should also be labelled on the top and at the ends.
Catalogues, pamphlets, and advertising matter generally may be inserted in the cases to fill up small spaces, but this should not be done without the consent of the buyer, as he does not usually wish his customers to know where he has purchased the goods.
In order to facilitate handling, a package should not be too bulky, and in the absence of special instructions it is desirable to limit the weight to, say, 10 cwt. For certain countries (parts of South America, for instance, and mountainous countries generally) the weight should not exceed say 110lbs., 220 lbs. being the maximum weight carried by mules-110 lbs. on each side. The following remarks by the British Consul at Bogota (Colombia) on this head are to the point:—
Goods to arrive at any interior Colombian town must be packed for mule transport whenever this is possible, but the requirements for this particular form of transport vary according to the quality of the road over which the merchandise has to travel; on some roads, that is to say, a mule can carry a load that he could not on another; sometimes it is a question of weight, sometimes of length of the road, and whether the road is muddy, marshy, rocky, precipitous, or tortuous, with rocky defiles, &c.; and sometimes the load can only be transported by bullocks where mules cannot travel.
Another question to be considered in packing is the equality of loads. A large consignment of merchandise packed in an infinite variety of shape, weight, and size may be kept waiting until each package can be paired; if this cannot be done with one of the same consignment, the carriers will pair it with one of another consignment, for which they will patiently wait months if necessary, to the loss and annoyance of the consignee, who perhaps will ultimately have to pay exorbitant special rates to obtain his goods, which careful packing might have avoided.
Again the question of goods arriving in the dry or rainy season, some roads becoming almost impassable in the latter period, makes a difference as to the method of packing, and consequent economy in transport.
Shipments that are too heavy for mule transport are conveyed by bullock carts in the few parts where a suitable road exists, or are carried on men's shoulders at enormous expense.
Marking. Each package should bear a distinctive mark with a running number, and the port of destination should be added (below the mark usually) in bold letters. The measurements of each package should also be marked on the outside, and in some cases it is necessary to mark the gross weight, tare and net weight as well; these weights are often required to be stated in kilogrammes.
When goods of different kinds are going regularly to the same customer it is desirable to adopt a special mark for each class of goods, each package being numbered consecutively as despatched. This facilitates the storing of the goods on arrival.
Various devices are made use of for the marks (measuring 15 to 18 inches each way) on packages, the most common being letters or numerals (3 to 4 inches in height) within triangles, double triangles, diamonds, hearts, or circles, thus
The letters usually represent the initials of the persons to whom the goods are shipped; the figures generally give the order or indent number.
Stencils (sheets of tin with the diagrams, letters, &c., cut out) are generally used for marking.
Patterns or samples of the goods should generally be sent to the customer, either by mail or with the goods (or both), and duplicates should be kept for reference. This is essential for shipments of yarns or piece goods, but it is not usually required for standard makes of goods, and it is obviously unnecessary for certain other articles, such as well-known brands of jam, pickles, biscuits, &c., though samples of such goods will be supplied by the makers when desired. When patterns or samples are sent they should bear the mark and number of the package or packages which they represent, and the invoice should state how the samples have been
THE EXPORTATION OF GOODS-continued
FORWARDING THE GOODS FOR SHIPMENT
When goods are forwarded by a firm carrying on business in an inland town the proceedure as regards shipping is very simple. The goods are usually sent to a shipping agent at the port where the vessel is loading, and this agent, for a small commission of so much per package, sees that the goods are put on board, attends to the Customs formalities, and takes out the Bill of Lading. In this case, all that the exporter has to do (after delivering the goods to the railway company, or carrier) is to fill up an Advice Note when forwarding the goods. This is sent to the shipping agent. It should contain full particulars of the goods, the name of the steamer or ship, the dock or port to which sent, the measurement or weight. of the packages, and the value of the goods. These particulars. should be stated very exactly, as they are necessary in order to enable the shipping agent to make the requisite Customs entries. The following is an example of an Advice Note in general use:
MANCHESTER, August 18th, 1898.
From TIMOTHY JONES & Co.
Messrs. Dockside Bros. & Co.,
We beg to advise having forwarded the undermentioned goods to.... Morpeth Dock for shipment per “Chancellor” to Calcutta ; B/L to be made out to our order.
L. & N. W. Ry.
A day or two afterwards a Freight Note similar to the following will be received in return, and the shipment of the goods is completed by the remittance of a cheque in payment of the freight and shipping charges :
Enclosed please find One set Bills of Lading for the above, which we trust you will find in order.
DOCKSIDE BROS. & CO.,
The following is another example of an Advice Note. It will be noted that in this case the freight and shipping charges are charged "forward" (i.e., to the foreign buyers of the goods), and that the shipping agents are requested to cover marine insurance: