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International Forwarding Association Blog » International freight forwarding » Safety Practices to Follow When Shipping Medical Equipment

Safety Practices to Follow When Shipping Medical Equipment

Shipping medical devices and equipment requires careful packing, crating, and unloading by following safety procedures as to avoid damage. European logistics companies often ship medical equipment for research and medical facilities, manufacturers, private practitioners, clinics, and hospitals.

Types of Medical Equipment

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities use different types of medical devices and equipment such as gastroscopes, ultrasound, X-ray units, oxygen concentrators, and patient monitors. Surgical units require instruments such as Bonney and tissue forceps, skin glue, rake and malleable retractors, and linear cutters and staplers. Hospitals need specialized equipment such as energy systems, clips and staplers, cystoscopic equipment, and laparoscopic instruments. Cardiac care units also require equipment for cardio-thoracic surgeries, including bronchoscopy and cardiopulmonary bypass.


Safety Practices

Medical equipment is often expensive and fragile, and shipping requires extra care. Many forwarders use custom crates to protect equipment and prevent damage, shock, vibration, and abrasion. Different shipping and packing options are available to safely deliver laboratory, diagnostic, surgical, and medical equipment. Specialized packaging materials are usually used for sensitive equipment such as surgical lab and photographic equipment, lasers, and CT scanners. To transport sensitive equipment, forwarders may also use extra bracing and cushioning to avoid vibration while in transit.

Packaging Materials Used

Forwarders use a wide array of packaging materials such as cardboard boxes, straps, adhesive tape, cling film, and moving blankets. They also use bubble wrap, hard cases, pouches, and cellophane overwrap. Smaller items are placed in pouches while straps help secure heavy and bulky equipment placed on pallets. Cellophane overwrap is used to protect medical equipment from dirt and moisture while bubble wrap offers additional protection for fragile items. Heavy medical equipment is often dismantled, and all parts are packaged using bubble wrap or cling film. Dismantling is usually required for bulky, odd-sized, and heavy equipment such as diagnostic equipment, MRI machines, X-Ray scanners, and ultrasounds.

Services Offered

Forwarders that ship medical equipment offer a wide array of logistics services, including customized ground transportation plans and expedited air and ground shipping. They also feature shipping preparation services and specialized handling and dismantling. Shipping and packing services are offered for a wide variety of medical equipment such as dispensing machines, storage cabinets, exam tables, dental chairs, and hospital beds. Depending on manufacturer location, type of equipment, and other factors, different modes of transportation can be used, including air, land, and sea. Intermodal logistics solutions are also offered to ensure safe and timely delivery of equipment. Equipment and devices are carefully boxed, crated, palletized, and packed to be transported to medical facilities and laboratories across Europe. Some types of supplies and equipment also require temperature-controlled environment as to ensure safe transportation.

A thorough assessment is made to choose the best packing materials and shipping method, accounting for factors such as final destination requirements, weather conditions, pickup conditions, size, value, and fragility. Additional services include proof of delivery, electronic invoicing, and automated order entry.