The shipper has to follow procedures laid down by public authorities as well as commercial practice with regard to packaging, marking and declarations of contents.

The marking should embrace at least the following:

(a) Destination: Address of the end receiver, transhipment, order-number.

(b) Handling instructions: Especially with fragile commodities it is important to mark the package with handling directions to avoid breakage and other damages. To avoid language difficulties a set of internationally recognised signs are developed for cargo marking.

(c) Dangerous goods: Some goods are classified as dangerous. In general, goods are regarded as dangerous if they have chemical or physical properties which can damage other goods, materials or the environment. Examples are explosives, flammable liquids or gases and poisons.

IMO, the International Maritime Organisation, has worked out rules for the handling of dangerous goods at sea in conventions which have been ratified by most member countries. These rules incorporated in the IMDG code contain regulations regarding packaging, marking and labelling, stowage requirements, etc. for various types of explosives, gases, and various types of inflammable materials.