An In-Depth Guide To Box Maker’s Certificates

November 16, 2017

Do you need a Box Maker’s Certificate?

Back in 2012, Packsize posted a blog post titled, “Do you need a Box Maker’s Certificate?” To this day, we still get questions regarding Box Maker’s Certificates. This article is to address how to get information about Box Maker’s Certificates, the requirements for having a certificate, and additional regulations relating to shipping fiberboard corrugated boxes. We have found that most of our customers do not currently need a Box Maker’s Certificate. However, here are a few things that can help you decide whether you will need a certificate.

  1. Determine whether your carrier requires this certification.
  2. Additional tariffs will apply when using rail service without a Box Maker’s Certificate.
  3. Most carriers do not require customers to have a certificate. Carriers typically require a certificate if the box is over a certain weight. For example, UPS only requires a Box Maker’s Certificate if the box exceeds 70 pounds.

Acquiring Box Maker’s Certificate Information

It wasn’t easy to find information regarding Box Maker’s certificates. I had to call a number of federal agencies. Almost every call redirected me to another agency. After several phone calls, I determined the two advisory agencies that oversee the Box Maker’s Certificate. These agencies are the National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC) and the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA).  NFAC Rule 41 governs shipping on the rail and NMFTA Item 220 governs shipping over roads. The language may be slightly different, but both laws require fiberboard boxes to pass either the Edge Crush Test (ECT) or the Mullen test (Burst test).

Requirements to Receive a Box Maker’s Certification

In the United States, corrugated boxes must be certified by a lab executing TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry) test procedures for conditioning and testing specific protocols. In Europe, the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO) is the regulatory body for this testing. The Burst test, which is more common when shipping heavy items, measures the pressure required to burst through the fiberboard corrugate. The ECT is more focused on stacking so it measures how much weight the box can support. Click here to read more about these tests.

Box Maker’s Certification Chart

Other Regulations

The general rules mentioned above are important when determining if you need a Box Maker’s Certificate. However, there are different regulations that also apply if you are shipping glassware or earthenware. The shipment of hazardous material and food carry strict guidelines and regulations as well. We’re planning on talking more about this in a future blog. Lastly, when shipping to the United States, you do not need a Box Maker’s Certificate. If your box is certified, you can include a Package Certificate.

Package Certificate Visualization
Example package certificate

Right-Sized Packaging from Packsize

As mentioned, most Packsize customers do not require a Box Maker’s Certificate. Depending on your machine and wall type, you may be able to certify your corrugated boxes. To determine if you need a Box Maker’s Certificate, you’ll need to reach out to your carrier.

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