Identify: What is a perishable shipment?
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) defines a shipment as perishable if its contents will deteriorate over a given period of time if exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures or humidity. Examples of perishable shipments include seafood, dairy, plants, meat, fruits and vegetables, and live tropical fish.
The Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) manual is the worldwide standard for the preparation, packaging and handling of time- and temperature-sensitive goods. It includes a comprehensive classification of hundreds of perishable commodities and the most up-to-date airline information, including specific rules regarding the transport of perishable cargo.
Plan ahead: Be aware of government regulations
Knowing about and complying with U.S. government perishable-shipment regulations, such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, can be difficult and time-consuming. FedEx Trade Networks can help. We'll take you through the facility registration process and transmit your Prior Notice and admissibility information. Your status will be available in real time through My Global Trade Data. Finally, we'll keep you compliant through the entire transition and beyond.
Be prepared: Packaging your perishable goods
Perishable products may be subjected to harsh environmental conditions, such as excessive temperature or humidity, on the way to their destination. So packaging your shipment correctly — including shipping containers and packing materials — is essential to keeping the perishables fresh until they're delivered. FedEx Express requires that perishable shipments in the U.S. be packaged for a minimum transit time of at least 12 hours greater than the delivery commitment for the shipment. See FedEx Express Terms and Conditions for details.
During shipping, insulation and refrigerants are key to preserving products like seafood, plants, meat, fruits, dairy, medical and chemical products.
With the proper combination of insulation and refrigerants, you can maintain products within specific temperature ranges. You can keep products frozen or prevent products from freezing.
Get expert advice
Want to ensure your packaging and packing techniques are making the grade? Ask our pros for help: FedEx Packaging Services provides complimentary design, testing and engineering information services that can help improve your packaging strategies.
For more information and assistance, use these resources:
Learn about shipping with dry ice
If you're thinking about using dry ice to keep your perishables frozen, it's important to know that dry ice is considered a dangerous good/hazardous material and this requires special handling. For more information, check out the shipping dangerous goods via FedEx Express and shipping hazardous goods via FedEx Ground sections of the FedEx Service Guide.
If you're new to shipping with dry ice, refer to our FedEx Express dry ice job aid: U.S. or FedEx Express dry ice job aid: International for information on packaging; marking and labeling your shipment; tips for preparing paperwork; and details on other resources.
Try our cold shipping package
For a reliable, cost-effective way to ship your temperature-sensitive perishables without the hassle of dry ice or gel packs, consider the cold shipping package provided by FedEx. The lightweight package includes a one-time-use chilling unit that you activate and place in the box with the contents. The unit continuously evaporates small amounts of water at low pressure, keeping your shipment at 2°C to 8°C for up to 48 or 96 hours1, depending on the packaging option you choose. Order packages at the link above or call the cold shipping hotline at 1.888.817.9993 (U.S. shipping) or 1.813.612.6010 (non-U.S. shipping) to learn more.
Get it there fast: Choose the right shipping service
The longer it takes for your perishable shipment to be delivered, the more likely its quality will decrease. We offer numerous shipping services — express and ground, package and freight, U.S. and international2 — to get your perishable items where they need to be, when they need to be there.
Ship with confidence: FedEx Custom Critical® temperature-control solutions
If you have out-of-the-ordinary shipments that require extraordinary solutions, turn to FedEx Custom Critical. You’ll have access to a full suite of surface and air expedited solutions to meet the needs of your temperature-controlled perishable freight shipments.
Learn more here or call 1.800.255.2421.
Be in the know: Shipment visibility and monitoring
With visibility into your perishable shipments, you can plan with confidence and even adjust or intervene when needed. We've got solutions that can help ensure on-time delivery and give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your shipment's on track.
- Monitor multiple shipments with ease. Track the status of up to 30 package and freight shipments online with FedEx® Tracking.
- Manage shipments across multiple locations and accounts with FedEx InSight®. FedEx InSight enables you to monitor all of your inbound, outbound and third-party shipments, all without tracking numbers. You can also receive automatic notifications of shipment status. It's ideal for moderate- to high-volume shippers of high-value shipments.
- Give your critical shipments an extra level of monitoring with SenseAware. SenseAware powered by FedEx is a multisensor device that monitors critical shipments from the moment they're packed and picked up to delivery and even beyond. Placed inside packages and pallets, the device collects and transmits data about the shipment's content via wireless communication to an online application for 24/7 monitoring and analysis.
And you can always call 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 to check the status of your shipment, or for any assistance with your perishable shipment.
1Actual cooling duration varies, depending on external temperatures.
2Perishable items shipped internationally via FedEx require a contract. For more information, call 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 to be put in contact with FedEx Sales.