When packing a parcel you should always remind yourself of the journey it will take. Similar to baggage at an airport, sending a parcel through any courier means the parcel will pass through a network of hubs and depots before arriving at its destination.

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A booming industry thanks to online retail, forecasts indicate parcel sending rates will increase 3% per year until 2023 –http://www.royalmailgroup.com/sites/default/files/The%20outlook%20for%20UK%20mail%20volumes%20to%202023.pdf.

The box

This will have to be large enough to ensure the item fits with ample space around it. Use a new box, as a used box will weaken over time and it is essential to minimise the risk of damage to the item. Boxes are available in either double or single walled cardboard. As a rule, boxes measuring over 30cm square or carrying an object weighing over 5 kg need to be double walled.

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Protecting and securing

Wrap the object in protective material, like bubble wrap, to cushion it along its journey. Place into your box with plenty of packing material, such as packaging peanuts, completely around the item to minimise movement in transit. If your parcel is intended to be delivered overseas, it is important to allow space for the expansion of air-filled products such as air pockets. Close up your box by sealing along all the edges with good quality tape. If the item could do with more protection, double box the item using a larger box with more packing material.

Address

Your parcel is now ready to attach the address label. This is dependent on the carrier company, as each has their own requirements. Some companies ask that barcoded address labels be printed at home, while others barcode the parcels themselves.

It is best to attach two labels onto your parcel, and it is then ready to be collected by a courier. For couriers in Reading use companies such as http://www.uk-tdl.com/same-day-delivery.html.

The courier, hub and depot

Once collected, the parcel will be driven to a depot, and then unloaded onto a conveyor. It will then be measured, weighed, scanned and sorted. Once this is complete, it will then be loaded onto a lorry and delivered to a hub, where it will be sorted once again and loaded onto another lorry to a local depot. The parcel is now loaded onto a courier van to be delivered.