Personal Shipping in the Time of COVID-19

Many countries around the world are cautiously reopening as the spread of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 has been contained. We are venturing out of our homes, and some are pondering the plans they shelved earlier this year to move overseas for school, work, retirement or adventure. International shipping companies did not close down; indeed we are a critical part of the supply chain ensuring that essentials get where they are needed. But now we are hearing from individuals again who are curious about using personal shipping services for a possible relocation.

But is personal shipping different now? How can you keep your belongings safe from COVID-19 exposure during transit? Do you need to disinfect things upon arrival?  It’s a different world now in many areas of life. Individuals and businesses, including international shipping companies, have to learn new protocol to protect ourselves and each other. Here are a few things you need to know about personal shipping in the time of COVID-19.

Tips for Personal Shipping Safety

Your packing list might look a little different these days as masks and hand sanitiser are the new normal. But the basic rules still apply.

  • Hand sanitisers contain alcohol, which means they are flammable. You cannot just toss them in your boxes. Check with your airline about their rules for hand sanitiser in your carry on luggage and checked baggage. Each country will have its own rules about importing flammables, so it is critical to check those. As for packing, international shipping companies generally do not transport flammable or hazardous materials. Your best bet is to check online to see where in your new location you can buy hand sanitiser. Remember, soap and water for twenty seconds will kill coronavirus on your hands. There are no restrictions on bringing a bar of soap with you.
  • This coronavirus can live on surfaces. How long it lives depends on the type of surface and the conditions. So what does this mean for your personal shipping? It is impossible to guarantee that the exterior of boxes and parcels is free of the virus, but the risk is very low. Scientists tell us that COVID-19 can live on cardboard for 24 hours and on plastic for up to three days. When you receive your boxes, you can either wipe them down with disinfectant or leave them in a safe space out of the way for a few days. Remember to wash your hands carefully afterwards.
  • The contents of parcels and packages should be fine if you cleaned them before packing them or if they have been in transit for a few days. The box they are in would protect them from any exposure, so you don’t need to worry. Scientists do not think that contaminated surfaces are a major source of infection.

Your arrival in a new location will be different. Instead of going out eagerly exploring and meeting new people, you may be required to quarantine for up to two weeks. That can be disappointing, but it is important to protect your health so you can enjoy your new location fully when it is safe to do so.