Can I Really Ship That?

One of the most common questions our Worldwide Express (WWEX) team members get is this: "Can I really ship that?" The "that" in question almost always falls into one of two categories: Dangerous and hazardous goods, or irregularly shaped objects.

Fortunately, we're usually able to respond with a resounding "yes" to shipping both kinds of items. That said, there is definitely more care and consideration that need to take place when dangerous and irregularly shaped items are being shipped. Let's go over exactly what types of items fall into each of these categories, and how to ensure they're shipped safely and successfully.

Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials
There are a wide variety of items that are considered hazardous or dangerous by UPS®, and depending on the type of item and the method with which it is shipped, additional fees can apply and service agreements must be completed. Your shipping partners at Worldwide Express are well-versed in all the paperwork required to ship such items.

Examples of items that typically fall into this category include:

  • Lithium ion and lithium metal batteries
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Medical items

Besides ensuring that you complete the proper documentation, it's also very important to properly package dangerous goods and hazardous materials. Safe shipping starts with the outer box: make sure you select strong outer packaging that is able to resist crushing, tearing and other damage that could expose the contained goods. Carefully pad and separate dangerous and hazardous items from one another inside your package as well, including protecting battery terminals and keeping metal objects away from batteries.

Keep in mind that there are also a few dangerous goods that UPS cannot ship, including explosives, toxic gases, radioactive materials and other extremely harmful substances.

Irregularly Shaped Items
We realize that not all items your business ships come in nice and predictable rectangles, and so does UPS. Ironically, the easiest way to approach shipping an irregular package is to look at it as if it were in a rectangular box. Measure your item from its most extreme points to determine if it will fit within UPS's guidelines, which are packages that measure up to 165 inches in length and girth combined, and weigh no more than 150 pounds. If you don't feel up to determining your shipment's girth yourself, Worldwide Express' online shipping system, SpeedShip®, can do it for you.

Once you've determined that your item will meet UPS's guidelines, it's critical to package it well. As with dangerous goods, a strong outer box that is very well-sealed, along with carefully considered padding and/or insulation are a must. UPS has a handy guide to help you correctly pack irregularly shaped items.

With both dangerous goods and irregularly shaped items, insurance can also be a very important consideration. Your local WWEX shipping expert can help you learn why adding insurance to these difficult-to-ship items is almost always worth the small extra expense – and the even smaller effort of quickly adding it in SpeedShip.

Still have questions or concerns regarding shipping dangerous goods and irregularly shaped items? It's never a bad idea to consult the right shipping partner for support and guidance.