The transportation of goods, whether by land, sea or air, is related to a series of hazards for the goods being transported. Vibrations, shock, falls and other unfavorable conditions may endanger the safety of the goods. In light of this, there are a series of international organizations that establish shipping test standards.

Through testing for shipping it is possible to anticipate and address the hazards that threaten the goods, saving costs and achieving the maximum level of safety for the goods.

The purpose of shipping testing standards is therefore to offer standards in regard to testing procedures, so that companies that transport goods are able to ensure the safety of their products.

Main shipping test standards

Nowadays we are witnessing an ever-changing global good distribution landscape.

A series of international organizations play a key role within this landscape, attempting to manage the safety of goods by establishing shipping testing standards.

Shipping test standards aim to offer references and guidelines to perform shipping test procedures.

  • Complying with the standards established by these organizations allows companies to ensure not only that they comply with these standards, but also that they optimize their packaging to guarantee the safety of the load.

Shipping testing standards therefore seek to guarantee that the products can withstand the hazards experienced during the distribution cycle (vibrations, shock, falls or compression forces, among others) without being damaged.

  • These standards establish a series of tests for shipping performed using transportation simulation machines that test the ability of a package to protect the goods during the distribution cycle.
  • The various standards clearly outline which shipping tests are to be performed, and under which conditions, in order to meet the requirements.

Performing shipping tests by following the shipping test standards proposed by any of these organizations certifies that the packaging or package is fit to protect the load.   

Keep reading: The importance of transport simulation with the increase of ecommerce

ISTA Testing for shipping

ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) provides testing protocols and design standards with sights on:

  • Optimizing packages
  • and guaranteeing that their contents are protected

Against the ever-changing hazards of the global distribution landscape.

ISTA was born in 1948 with the purpose of preventing the enormous losses experienced during shipping in the porcelain sector. It is one of the most important organizations worldwide in the field of shipping test standards and its objective is to minimize the damages caused to the products during transportation.

Through its shipping testing standards, ISTA aims to encourage the optimization of packages so that they are more effective in their purpose: the protection of goods.

The ISTA test series

ISTA standards are divided into 7 series:

The ISTA 1 series, Non-simulation Integrity Performance Tests

Involves the most basic shipping tests, which test the strength and robustness of the product + packaging system. This series includes the A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H test procedures.

The ISTA 2 series, Partial Simulation Performance Tests

Involves the combination of basic testing processes of ISTA 1 and certain processes of ISTA 3. This series includes testing procedures A, B and C.

The ISTA 3 series, General Simulation Performance Tests

Comprises a series of advanced tests that offer laboratory simulations of the motions, forces and conditions in transportation environments that may damage a load. Includes the A, B, E, F, H and K procedures.

Learn more: Ista 1a, Ista 2a, Ista 3a procedures: all you need to know

The ISTA 4 series, Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests

Includes a general simulation with at least one specific simulation aspect (related to the real distribution to be performed).

This series is performed using several machines:

The ISTA 6 series, Member Performance Tests

It consists of a series of testing protocols created to comply the requirements of specific members of ISTA. The series includes the following protocols:

  • 6-AMAZON.COM-SIOC
  • 6-AMAZON.COM-Over Boxing
  • 6-FEDEX-A
  • 6-FEDEX-B
  • Project 6-SAMSCLUB

In order to comply with the 6-AMAZON.COM SIOC and Over Boxing protocols, Safe Load created innAmazon, a set of machines that aim to assist you in obtaining Amazon’s Frustration Free Packaging certificate

The ISTA 7 series, Development Tests

Involves a series of tests that are used during the development of packages for shipping, and includes the D and E series.

ISTA Testing for shipping

ASTM Testing procedures

ASTM is a non-profit international organization whose purpose is to promote and publish voluntary conventions on technical standards for a wide range of products, services and systems.

In total, ASTM has published approximately 12,000 standards developed by expert volunteers from across the globe from dozens of different industrial sectors. In general, the goal of these standards is:

  • To improve product quality
  • To improve safety
  • To bolster consumer confidence

At Safe Load Testing Technologies’ academy you can see a list of all the ASTM shipping testing standards.

Among these standards, you can find the ASTM D4169 – 16 procedure, which proposes a set of testing methods that reproduce real distribution conditions.

It is a shipping testing standard that provides the necessary tools to evaluate the safety of shipping units.

Through this testing procedure, it is possible to test a package’s protective ability and optimize it to ensure the safety of a load during transportation.

Learn more about ASTM D4169-16 in this article

ISO Shipping test

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a federation of organizations dedicated to generate guidelines and standards worldwide.

This organization was born in 1946, when a series of delegates from 25 countries met in London with the objective of coordinating and unifying industrial standards.

Since then, they have published over 22,000 guidelines and international standards, reaching 161 member countries and 779 technical committees and sub-committees.

ISO shipping test aim to guarantee that products are safe during transportation; that they are reliable and maintain their quality. This means that their objective is to:

  • Reduce costs
  • Minimize expenses
  • Maximize production

ISO proposes a series of standards related to the transportation of goods that are focused on ensuring the safety of the products during shipping, handling and storage.

With this in mind, it has established about a ten procedures, outlined in this article. These shipping test standards are focused on different packaging materials or hazards that threaten goods, to anticipate potential dangers.

Packaging materials

EUMOS Shipping testing standards

EUMOS, or European Safe Logistic Association, is a non-profit association focused on guaranteeing the safety of cargo during shipping, including packaging, storage and loading processes.

The goal of EUMOS is to develop new knowledge, standards and test procedures to ensure the safety of loads during transportation.

EUMOS proposes several shipping test standards, including Eumos 40509-2012: Test method for load unit rigidity.

This standard outlines a testing method that evaluates the securing and rigidity of each cargo unit, and is vitally important for companies that distribute their products by road in Europe.

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we have created a free step by step eBook that explains how to comply with the EUMOS 40509 procedures.

How to comply with shipping test standards

Complying with shipping test standards implies performing the procedures and shipping tests proposed by these organizations.

Through systematic testing procedures, it is possible to simulate the potential damages that a load may suffer during the distribution cycle, and design a package that is able to protect it.

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we can help you comply with these standards.

Our transportation simulation equipment is designed to comply with shipping test standards. Furthermore, we offer personalized solutions tailored to the needs of each specific distribution cycle.

Many companies have already optimized their packaging and distribution processes thanks to our two decades of experience in packaging research.

If you want to prevent damages in your load during shipping and comply with existing standards, get in touch with us and we will start working so that you can attain your goals.