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How To Pack And Ship Biological Substances: Shipping Pointers and Tips

Shipping biological substances, such as scientific lab specimens and live animals, can be tricky. There are many things to consider, including how you should pack them and what type of appropriate shipment.

Even though this type of shipment may appear complicated, the process becomes straightforward once you learn its tips and find the right global logistic firm. Herein is a discussion on the best pointers for packing and shipping biological substances.

How to Pack Biological Substances

When shipping biological substances locally or internationally, taking precautionary steps in your packaging is essential. These steps include:

  • Use proper packaging materials: Ensure that you use a sturdy box to pack the shipment and include adequate cushioning materials, such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap. This will help to protect the containers and contents from damages during transit.
  • Pack all material in absorbent material: In case of any leakage or spills, it is important to have porous material on hand to help contain the mess. Place a layer of absorbent material at the bottom of your shipping container and pack additional absorbent material around the biological substances.
  • Ensure that all containers are adequately sealed: This is important for those handling the shipment and prevents leakage.

When packing biological substances, make sure to use sturdy and well-sealed containers. In addition, ensure to test all equipment for its sturdiness before shipment. This will ensure that the contents are not damaged in transit.

  • Label all containers: Label each shipment’s contents and include a packing slip for reference. The packing slip should provide the necessary information to someone unpacking your shipment.
  • Pack shipments properly: Ensure that each box contains a label with the recipient information’s contents. If you are sending more than one shipment, ensure that they do not get confused with each other.

The correct shipping of biological substances starts with the suitable packaging of the said substances.

How to Ship Biological Substances

It is essential to know the laws and regulations that apply in your country before shipping biological substances. Any global logistic company will help you comprehend these shipping regulations. So, how do you ship biological substances?

There are two types of shipments when it comes to transporting biological substances:

  • Non-hazardous material: This type of shipment does not pose any biological, chemical, or radiological risk to workers and the public.
  • Hazardous material: This type of shipment poses a possible hazard to those in contact with it. If not handled and shipped correctly, the material is a health and safety risk.

When shipping hazardous material, there are specific regulations that you must follow. These regulations vary from country to country, so it is important to do your research before shipping.

There are four steps involved in the shipping of biological substances. They are:

1. Classification – To ship a biological substance, it is important to determine if the shipment falls under the following categories;

  • Infectious substances: These contain pathogens that can cause human or animal infections. Such substances are only regulated if they can cause infections.
  • Biological products: These are products extracted from living organisms. These products are ideal for treatment, experimental, or investigations. They include vaccines and diagnostic products.
  • Diagnostic specimen: These are any human or animal materials, including tissue and tissue fluids, blood, and blood components on transport for investigation purposes.
  • Genetically modified organisms and micro-organisms: These are organisms whose normal genetic materials have undergone modification via genetic engineering.

2. Packaging – This includes using the correct packaging materials and preparing your shipment for transit. In addition, the packaging must contain any potential spills or leaks that may occur. For all infectious materials, packaging should follow IATA packaging Instructions 602.

3. Labelling – Ensure that you properly label your packages so that there is no confusion about the contents. The labels should include;

  • Sender’s and receiver’s names with their addresses
  • A description of the material’s classification and how to handle it safely.

4. Documentation – You must also include the proper documentation with your shipment. This will consist of shipping papers, a bill of lading, and a hazardous material declaration form.

Note: The packaging, labeling, and documentation of biological substances depend on the category of the substance. Different states give different regulations on how to ship biological materials.


Shipping biological substances can be a daunting task if unfamiliar with the regulations. However, by following these simple steps and using the correct packaging materials, you can ensure that your shipment arrives safely at its destination.