A store employee packing items into a box

Common packaging terms defined

Common packaging terms defined

Custom packaging: A package specially designed by a customer. FedEx helps customers design custom shipping packaging, including specific dimensions and packaging materials. Learn more by visiting our FedEx Packaging Lab page.


Dimensional weight: Dimensional (dim) weight applies to both FedEx Express® and FedEx Ground® packages. It reflects the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. For each shipment, your charge is based on the dimensional weight or actual weight of the package — whichever is greater. You can calculate dimensional weight using our dimensional weight calculator


A photo of a FedEx box and its dimensions, showing how to calculate dimensional weight


Fulfillment center: Location where a product is packaged and made ready for delivery.


High-value shipping:  See the FedEx Service Guide for more information on declared value maximum liability


Insulated shipping: Packaging used to ship temperature-sensitive products, like food, to deliver product freshness. For more information, refer to the FedEx perishable shipping page


Label:  Every package has at least one label that provides useful information regarding the product, like how to use and/or transportation directions. Here are our recommendations for using custom labels to market your business.


Lead time: The time it takes for a package to arrive from point A to point B. For example: the time from a customer placing an order, to the arrival of that order at the customer’s doorstep. This includes order processing, manufacturing, and shipping time. Our shipping service portals can help lead you to specific transit information.


Mockup/prototype: Trial packages used to test the integrity of the package and products before taking the product to market in production packaging.


Off-the-shelf packaging: Packaging supplies that businesses can purchase and use directly.


Package design: Creating a custom solution to fit your packaging needs to prevent damage or loss when shipping. 


Packaging optimization: Changing the size and shape of packaging to reduce wasted space.


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. Seafood, dairy, plants, meat, fruits and vegetables, and live tropical fish are all examples of perishable shipments.


A photo of wine bottles being packaged in a box with a shipping label and packing tape sitting on top


Perishable shippers: Shipping vessels that can be used to provide appropriate temperature protection, stability, and assurance that packages will be able to withstand handling in different orientations and environments. Insulation and refrigerants are common perishable shippers


Retail packaging: The original packaging used when purchased from a retailer. This is meant for on-the-shelf applications, not shipping applications. 


Sustainable packaging: Environmentally friendly packaging that causes less waste or damage to the environment throughout its lifecycle. This can mean the packaging is sourced responsibly using materials like bamboo that regrow quickly and/or materials whose farming and manufacturing are done without exploiting workers. It can also mean the packaging is recyclable and/or non-toxic.


Thermal packaging: Packaging that maintains a specific temperature during transportation. See FedEx® Temperature-Control Solutions for more information and purchase thermal-insulated boxes through FedEx® Cold Shipping Solution.


Unboxing: The unpacking of new products usually done by the package recipient. This process is often captured on video and uploaded online to show other consumers the product and any accessories included.


A photo of someone unboxing a package of green tea