Items Prohibited from Shipping Containers

If you have a lot of goods or possessions to transport around the world, packing them into a shipping container and sending it via truck, train or ship is an excellent idea. It is also a very cost-effective option.

Shipping containers were specifically designed to be easy to transport, space-effective and easy to transfer between different modes of transport. You can get shipping containers in a number of different sizes – according to how much you have to put in there. Whether you are moving to a new house across the world or looking to export goods to another country, shipping containers are a great option for moving your cargo.

There are, however, some items that are prohibited from shipping containers. They are not suitable for everything and countries are usually very thorough in inspecting shipping containers to ensure that nothing which is prohibited gets through.

Flammable Substances

Highly flammable substances are not allowed in shipments due to the potential for causing damage to both other items in the shipping container, as well as the shipment in its entirety. These substances include batteries, household cleaners, solvents, aerosols, fireworks, oils, fertilisers and nail polish (and remover). For an extensive list of toxic or flammable substances and items that aren’t allowed you should speak to your shipping company.

Living Things

For obvious reasons, living things are not allowed to be transported in shipping containers. Many journeys are long – often taking weeks, and conditions not appropriate for people, animals or plants. It is highly unlikely that any of them would survive such a journey.

In addition, some countries have strict rules about plants and animals which have come from foreign countries. Some consider non-native plants and animals to be a potential health risk to the country as it is possible that they can transport dangerous parasites and germs into their territory.

If you are hoping to transport animals or plants to another country it is important that you speak to the relevant authorities to find out what their particular regulations are.

Items Which are Illegal

Every country has its own set of laws about certain items that are illegal. In general, these include drugs, arms, certain medication and ammunition and it is important that you find out exactly what the local laws are with regards to these items.

If you want to avoid running into any problems, you must ensure that any items that you are transporting are completely legal for the whole trip.

Some Food Products

Shipping can take sometimes months, so perishable food is a no-no. Fresh, refrigerated or frozen produce, for example, are not suitable for shipping in shipping containers.

Other Items

There are also other items which although not prohibited, shouldn’t be transported in shipping containers. If they are sitting in a steel box for possibly weeks, they run the risk (albeit low) of being damaged or lost whilst being transported and moved around.

You should, therefore, try to avoid shipping items such as irreplaceable, treasured possessions, important documents, other items that could be damaged by extremes of temperature, expensive jewellery or money.

For many people, shipping their items is an excellent and very cost-effective option. And for many items, there is no problem with sending them in a shipping container. However, it is important that you check what is and isn’t allowed, to ensure that you have no difficulties in transporting your cargo around the world. If in doubt, your shipping company will be able to clarify things for you.