Perishable Goods

What to know about shipping perishable goods?

With fresh fruits and vegetables becoming more and more popular year-round, transportation of perishable goods is in high demand. Shorter travel time and controlled temperature make transporting perishable goods by air the preferred means of shipping.

Application and regulations for shipping perishable goods

When shipping perishable goods by air, specific steps and regulations apply to the process of shipping by air. Is the cargo acceptable? Is it marked and labeled? Does it meet the prescribed conditions, etc.? There are also shipper and carrier responsibilities that must be met. Regulations for each step of the process must be in compliance. You can learn more about these responsibilities in sections 1.2 and 1.3 of the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations Manual (PCR).

Marking and labeling for shipping perishable goods

There are numerous documents needed for shipping perishable goods. The process begins with ensuring that the Air Waybill is filled out completely and accurately and without unreasonable requests for handling the perishables.

The cargo manifest should be labeled with the proper IATA handling codes. These codes are for internal use but ensure your perishable goods are handled properly. Cargo handling codes can be found in Appendix D of the IATA PCR.


Other documentation may be required, such as some countries may need the permit numbers included on the cargo manifest.

Shippers should always mark what is contained in the packaging and whether dry ice is used because it is classified as a dangerous goods. Then the packaging should be correctly labeled with the standard IATA label as such: "perishable," "this way up," or "wet cargo."

Packaging for shipping perishable goods

There are a wide array of perishable goods, and they are each subject to deterioration, some faster than others. Appropriate packaging and handling are crucial to the perishable goods being delivered in good condition.

The packaging must facilitate both the integrity of the goods as well as the handling and storage of the goods.

The packaging must meet food safety regulations and meet food-grade standards while still being durable enough to withstand temperature changes and stacking. A lot goes into creating proper packaging for perishable goods. You can find more information about the specific structures in Chapter 5 of the IATA PCR.