8 Ways to Prevent Shipping Damage for Delivery Drivers

Statistics state that shipping damage accounts for a loss of around $1 billion every year, only in the United States. Shipping damages account for a 0.5% deduction in the gross sales of your business

No one likes to open a package upon arrival and find it to be damaged. Starting from replacement costs to losing a customer, a business takes a big toll. You can minimize this loss when you are aware of the measures on how to limit it. 

Shipping damage mostly occurs at the last mile of the entire transit, when the order is just about to reach customers’ doorstep. But. most transportation companies consider shipping damage as part of their common operations. 

Get insight into the causes behind such losses and take steps to prevent shipping damage. You will realize how you can minimize your losses due to it and work on increasing your profits. 

What Are the Top Causes of Shipping Damage? 

When someone places an order from an eCommerce website or expects a personal courier, they always expect to receive the product in good condition. Damage-free delivery is one of the unique selling propositions to promote online shopping. 

Therefore, late and damaged deliveries hamper customer satisfaction. As a result, the parties involved in such a complaint will experience a loss or will earn a bad review themselves. 

Shipping damage is one of the most expensive mistakes in the delivery business and needs proper attention from the business owners. Knowing the causes of such damaging incidents will eventually help you take the right step towards preventing shipping damage. 

The causes behind products getting damaged during the shipping process are:

1. Leaving empty space in the box

If the product about to be shipped is packed in a bigger box with extra space, it is obvious for the order to move around in the box while it is shipped. And if the packaging is improper with a lack of padding, the order will be damaged before it reaches the final destination. 

2. Not properly packed not every item is wrapped

The items marked as fragile are packed with cushioning materials such as bubble wrap to prevent shipping damage. But this should not be the case! Many products are not fragile but can still experience damage during transit. 

3. Moisture damage

When the packages are placed in a moist area of the truck container, and the packing materials are not resistant to such an intensity of wetness, the product will be damaged. Moisture mostly damages perishable food items, electronic goods, and paper products. 

4. Infestations 

Food deliveries often experience damage due to infestations of rodents and insects. It is mostly a problem with the freight shipment through the seas. Such infestations can damage the food packages and contaminate them to make them unusable. It contributes to expensive replacement costs. 

5. Improper handling

The shipment being transported from origin to destination will go through several fulfillment centers and delivery vehicles if the distance is too far away. In this supply chain process, a package will be handled by many people. 

A single mishandling circumstance can damage the product. Even the products tagged as ‘Fragile Items’ experience such mishandling situations. Insurances are available for improper handling damages, but they make your customers unhappy.  

6. Unsafe driving

The routes need to be free from traffic and safe for transiting heavy trucks and shipping expensive goods. Manual route planning often leads the drivers to poor roads with potholes, and traffic disturbs the containers or truck trailers. 

This way, the packages tend to move a lot within the container and eventually experience damage. 

8 Tips to Avoid Shipping Damage with Examples 

You are now aware of causes that result in damaged product deliveries. So it is time you adopt the below 8 tips to prevent shipping damage in the next batch that you send out for delivery:

1. Use proper box packaging materials

Product packaging might be the cheapest part of a supply chain but is the most important to save a company from losses due to shipping damage. You cannot cut many vital costs from the transportation or storage section. Therefore, people try to cut down on packaging costs. 

Do not make this mistake, as it will cost you a heavy loss in the long run. While shipping multiple items in trucks, the drivers stack up the packages above one another. Therefore, the packaging needs to be strong enough to bear the weight of the parcels placed above it. 

The usual cardboard packaging boxes made of corrugated paper are not suitable for handling such stacking weights. Pick double-layered cardboard boxes or other alternatives that can bear the weight of other boxes when stacked. 

2. Pick the right size of the box

It is fine to have a box that is slightly larger than the product or order. But being too big will cause the order to wobble around every time the vehicle takes a sharp turn. Moreover, the wobbling of items within the bigger box can cause weight shifting in the box. As a result, the box might fall off or bring down the entire stack. 

Therefore, make sure the box size is not much larger than the product box. Pack it tight with cushioning all over the empty spaces that you find. 

3. Wrap all of the items properly

There is a dilemma that only fragile items need wrapping and cushioning. But almost all items that get shipped should be wrapped properly to prevent shipping damage. You never know what happens to an item at different fulfillment centers. 

Therefore, it is not right for you to assess if the product needs bubble wrap protection or not. Instead, you should consider wrapping all the products to eliminate the chances of having a damaged product due to inappropriate or no cushioning. 

4. Identify the fragile orders through their label

A logistics company’s job is to mark a red tag on the shipping label that says “Fragile.” It should be for glass, electronics, and pharmaceutical items. At the commencement of the transit, the delivery driver should be instructed that they are carrying both fragile and usual items in the batch. 

It is to ensure that the driver places such fragile packages at safe corners of the container. The “Fragile Item” tag will help this package’s handlers realize the precautions they must follow to prevent shipping damages. 

5. Pack the truck proficiently

One of the best ways to prevent shipping damages is to pack the trucks properly by distributing the weight evenly. The stack of fragile packages can be kept at the bulkhead area of the truck, which is at the end of the container, closest to the engine. 

In this way, the fragile boxes will not be able to move anywhere except from side to side, which won’t incur much damage on the packages. In the next placement lines over the truck, you can pack all of the other goods. Remember not to add too many fragile goods in one shipment.

Keep the heavy boxes stacked at the bottom while the lighter ones are on the top. You should follow this logical packing order to prevent shipping damages

Keep the heaviest boxes in the last line near the back axle. It will help you distribute the weight evenly during the shipping process. This way, the cargo damage will be minimized as the balanced weight across the vehicle will prevent the boxes from moving too much due to sharp turns and hill climbs. 

6. Add tilt/shock/impact indicators to the packages

Tilt/shock/impact indicators are visual indication devices placed on the shipment packages to determine if the goods have been tilted or experienced any shock or impact, which altered the actual position in which they were packed. 

It is the best way to determine any possible damage before it reaches its destination. Hence, the damaged goods can be returned from the fulfillment center where they got identified, and a new product will be sent to the customer. 

7. Collect data on shipping services and review the damage statistics

If your delivery business is experiencing consistent losses due to shipping damages, you must collect that data and record every specific information about it. You must report the damage type and cause behind it. Later, you can take measures to prevent these damages in the future. 

8. Use route planning software to find a safe delivery route

Feasibility of a route decides how smooth the transit will be. A road with potholes and damages will make it difficult for truck drivers to commute safely. Moreover, it will also slow down vehicle movement, which increases the risk of delayed delivery. 

Traffic and abrupt stops on the road for your delivery trucks can be minimized or stopped with the use of Upper Route Planner. It is an automated route planning and scheduling software that helps you determine the shortest and smoothest route possible for reaching the delivery destinations. 

Satellite mapping technology is implemented to determine which routes can speed up the commutes for trucks and bigger vehicles without many abrupt stops. So, get your subscription to Upper Route Planner and take the first initiative towards preventing shipping damage. 

Find Best Routes for Shipping packages

Get relief from manual route planning by acquiring the Upper Route Planner. From optimizing routes to dispatching drivers, all you need is a reliable route planner like Upper.


It is the damage that occurs when the truck is out delivering a batch of goods to the fulfillment center or the customers. The damaged products are responsible for hampering customers’ experience and eventually the reputation of your business.

The seller abided by the law to ship an ordered product to the customer in the condition which is promised to the customer. In case of any possible damage to the package during the courier process, the sellers will be held responsible as they have chosen the delivery business or are offering their delivery.

Even though the fault is not directly of the seller for damage to the products, they are still the ones who will bear the high product replacement and re-delivery costs.

The replacement cost of a damaged product for an eCommerce company is around 17 times more than what it originally cost for shipping the same the first time.

Summing Up

Dedicated management is essential for running a delivery business. It doesn’t matter if you are shipping your goods, taking courier orders, or are a third-party delivery carrier for some eCommerce business, you must emphasize how you conduct your delivery operations. 

Be serious about every order you pack and ship. Pick the correct box size, load the packages properly in the truck, and ship them through safe routes to the destination. 

Before streamlining the packaging and truck loading measures, it is crucial to be prepared with a route that is not just the shortest but is also safe for trucks to commute. There should not be any unexpected traffic or poor road conditions which might slow down the fleet. 

So, to ensure that, use Upper Route Planner and get automated digital routes ready and accessible through the mobile application. Import the customer addresses from Excel to Upper Route Planner, and allow the software to mark the delivery order as per their locations. 

It will help you pick the shortest possible routes with route modification features if any sudden traffic or halt arises on the given route. In such scenarios, you will get automated updates on the alternative routes. 

Get a better insight into Upper Route Planner through its . Learn the strong and profitable points of utilizing route optimization for your delivery business with our free trial. Experience how freight damage can be minimized with just the effort of optimizing routes. 

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner. A subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems, Rakesh has been involved in technology for 30+ years. Looking to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges, Rakesh started Upper Route Planner with the ultimate goal of simplistic operations in mind.