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What Is A Shipping Label

What is a Shipping Label?

In the UK there is around 14 million parcels sent, a day. Without a system to be able to process all these packages it would be mayhem. Shipping Labels are the backbone in making sure that each and every package gets from its origins to its destinations. What on the surface is a simple label with an address, barcode and other details has all the information needed to ensure that everyone's package arrives safely. So, what is a Shipping Label exactly and what are the key elements needed to ensure that this shipping label has everything needed.

Unravelling the Shipping Label

A shipping label is a carefully created tag, printed or made online, that is stuck onto to a parcel. It acts as the unique fingerprint for each delivery, carrying all the important details. Here's what you'd usually find on one:

Sender Details

In accordance with UK regulations, the shipping label prominently displays the complete details of the sender, encompassing the name and address. This information is essential for swift and effective communication in case any issues arise during the transit process.

Recipient Information

Similarly, the recipient's name and address are prominently featured on the label, ensuring the package reaches its intended destination.

Tracking Number

The heart of the shipping label, a unique alphanumeric tracking number, plays a pivotal role in monitoring and managing shipments. It is an indispensable tool for logistics companies.


Alongside the tracking number, barcodes are integral for automating the sorting and processing of packages, enabling an expedited, error-free journey through the logistics chain.

Parcel Weight and Dimensions

Precise measurements of a package's weight and size are vital in calculating shipping costs, an essential factor for both senders and carriers.

Service and Speed Indicators

The label outlines the chosen shipping method (e.g., ground, air, express) and the expected delivery timeline. This information is crucial for effective planning and customer expectations.

Handling Instructions

For packages requiring special care or specific handling, the label may bear instructions such as "Fragile," "Handle with Care," or "This Side Up." These directives ensure that the package is treated in compliance with its unique requirements.

Customs Information (For International Shipments)

In the case of international shipments, the shipping label incorporates details necessary for customs clearance, including a description of the contents and their estimated value.

The Ingenious Mechanism of Shipping Labels

So how exactly do shipping labels help with all this information?

Automation: Automation is the cornerstone of efficiency. Shipping labels are meticulously designed to be easily scanned and processed by automated systems, resulting in faster and more accurate sorting and routing of packages.

Tracking: The tracking number featured on shipping labels is a quintessential component of the modern e-commerce experience. It empowers both businesses and customers to monitor the real-time status of packages, from the moment they leave the warehouse until they reach their final destination.

Efficient Handling: The handling instructions on shipping labels, complying with international standards, guarantee that packages are treated with precision, minimising the likelihood of damage during their transit.

Cost Calculation: Accurate parcel weight and dimensions specified on shipping labels are essential for the precise calculation of shipping costs, ensuring that both businesses and customers pay the correct amount for their shipping services.

Customs Compliance: For international shipments, the customs information contained on the label ensures compliance with UK and international customs regulations, facilitating a smooth transition across borders.

In the end, shipping labels are more than just pieces of paper; they're the backbone of the delivery world. They manage the flow, keep tabs on parcels, and ensure everything gets to its final stop, not just in the UK but all over the globe. So, the next time you pick up a delivered package, take a second to consider the shipping label. It's a small but mighty part of the whole delivery process, guiding your package home quietly but effectively.

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