Shipping Instructions

I have to ship something. What do I have to do, basically?

  • Fill out the shipping request form with complete information,
  • Respond promptly to any follow-up questions from Stockroom and/or Margaret Rakas,
  • Properly pack your package to be shipped,
  • Bring your box to the Ford stockroom at the agreed-upon day and time.
  • Remember that we WANT your package to be delivered successfully. Some types of shipments have complex compliance requirements that take time to work through, but are worth it to get your package where it needs to go on time and with no additional fees. 

Read on for more detail…

I have to ship something. What do I have to do in detail?

  • The shipper is responsible for filling out the shipping request form prior to the requested ship date (3 days for domestic, 5 days for international). This information includes:
    • The full ship-to name, address, phone number, and email for the recipient. We cannot ship to PO Boxes.
    • A complete description of ALL item(s) being shipped
    • Requested shipping date, delivery date, and shipment service (such as overnight, 2-day, etc.)
    • Identifying funding sources for shipping and pick-up charges.
  • The shipper is responsible for responding promptly to any follow-up questions about the shipment from staff via scienceshipping@smith.edu and/or Margaret Rakas.
    More information, steps, and time WILL be required for shipping:

    • Anything international
    • Lithium batteries
    • Anything on dry ice (weight of dry ice used will be required)
    • Anything on nonhazardous gel packs
    • Any live plants or animals
    • Anything hazardous
    • Shipping materials that have not been shipped by the college before
    • Combinations of the above. 
  • The shipper is responsible for packaging the shipment properly (see below for guidance) and being available for inspection of package(s) when necessary.
  • The shipper is responsible for completing required shipping documents, as prompted by Margaret Rakas or stockroom staff.
  • The shipper is responsible for bringing the prepared shipment in final packaging, with required documents, and being present for inspection (if required) on the requested ship day (M-F only) to Ford Hall Stockroom. International shipments must be ready by 11:00 am on the requested ship day. Domestic shipments must be ready by 2:00 pm on the requested ship day.
    1.  
  • For all shipments, the shipper will receive
    1. An automatic email confirming the receipt of their shipping request form
    2. A follow-up email from staff, confirming details of the next required steps and ship date
    3. A follow-up email from staff, IF the package is not picked up when expected
    4. Emails from the courier service (UPS or FedEx) with tracking information and alerts indicating:
      • When the label is generated,
      • when the package ships,
      • any delays along the way,
      • the package has been delivered.
  • For all shipments, charges will be submitted via Workday, by the stockroom staff, on the approved funding source, indicated on the shipment request form. Financial documentation will be uploaded to Workday. The shipper may need to approve the charges in Workday, depending on the funding source.

Nonhazardous vs. Hazardous Materials

What are nonhazardous materials?
Nonhazardous materials…

  • Are nonpathogenic organisms (do not cause disease),
  • Are not flammable, corrosive, or toxic chemicals (including buffers, preservatives etc.),
  • Are not radioactive,
  • Do not contain lithium batteries,
  • Are not shipped on dry ice.

What are HAZARDOUS materials?

Hazardous materials are one or more of the following:

  • Pathogenic organisms (will cause disease),
  • Flammable liquids (ethanol, acetone) or solids (magnesium ribbon),
  • Items containing Lithium batteries,
  • Corrosives such as hydrochloric acid or potassium hydroxide,
  • Toxic chemicals (such as methylene chloride). These may still be considered hazardous if present in a piece of apparatus, such as the “Drinking Bird” which typically contains methylene chloride.

Shippers must be present for physical inspection of packages containing hazardous materials. Appointments will be made with shippers and Margaret R for inspections.

If you purchase fully-regulated hazardous material or items containing fully-regulated hazardous material, please be extra careful ordering.  Even if a vendor is able to ship the product to us, we may not be able to ship it back because of shipping regulations.

Proper Packaging

How do I package my shipment properly?

If you are reusing packaging materials make sure:

  • that any old labels are removed or completely obscured with black marker. Boxes with all-over printing of logos etc. are not a good choice.
  • there are no markings or stickers that are not relevant to the contents of the package. For example, make sure your box does not have “flammable liquids” printed on the side if you are shipping non-hazardous solids.

With any packaging make sure:

  • that the container is big enough to comfortably hold the contents and packaging material so that it can be securely sealed after inspection,
  • that it has at least one side that is at least 6” x 8” (domestic) or 7” X 9” (international) so the label can be affixed without distortion,
  • that the label is affixed with clear packing tape or document pouch; when shipping with documentation such as a CI, use a document pouch (available from stockroom),
  • that there is packing material if needed to cushion the contents (the stockroom has recycled packing peanuts and bubble wrap free to anyone to use),
  • that the package is left unsealed for inspection.

How do I ship material on dry ice?

  • We are required to use FedEx for ALL dry ice shipments. If a third-party account number is to be used for dry ice shipping, they should give us the number and not prepare a label.
  • The weight of the dry ice used must be noted separately and recorded for shipping documents, via email to scienceshipping@smith.edu
  • The package must be properly packaged by the shipper (see below).
  • When properly packaged it should be brought directly to the Ford stockroom (with the weight of the dry ice noted) as per arrangement with Stockroom and/or Margaret Rakas.
  • There is a scale in the stockroom to determine total shipping weight.
  • Packages should be ready as early as possible on the requested day of shipping but no later than 11:00am.
  • The package should be left unsealed for inspection.

How do I properly package a shipment on dry ice?

  • Shipments on dry ice MUST be in a Styrofoam cooler inside of a cardboard box. Stockrooms usually have some extra coolers and boxes.
  • Items should be placed into double Ziploc bags (available from Burton 115 or Ford 255) with a piece of paper towel or another absorbent that can absorb ALL the liquid of those items.
  • Dry ice must NEVER be placed in a screw-top or other tightly sealed container.  Dry ice is placed around the Ziploc bag(s) containing the material to be shipped.
  • DO NOT seal the cooler lid with tape, the gas must be able to release.

How do I ship material on gel packs?

  • Items should be placed into double Ziploc bags (available from Burton 115 or Ford 255) with a piece of paper towel or another absorbent that can absorb ALL the liquid of those items.
  • Gel packs should be placed around samples.
  • Use packaging roomy enough for samples and gel packs.
  • Note that shippers provide their own gel packs.

How do I ship something with a lithium battery or another kind of battery?

  • You must contact Margaret Rakas first for guidance and approval to proceed.
    • Accept that this is complicated and will take extra time due to transport and export control regulations.
    • We are required to use FedEx for ALL battery shipments.
    • The package must be properly packaged by the shipper (see below).

How do I properly package something with a lithium battery or another kind of battery?

  • Equipment containing, or shipped with, lithium batteries is regulated and requires specific packaging and labeling. Contact Margaret Rakas first for guidance.

How do I ship live plants or animals?

  • Contact Margaret Rakas first for guidance.

How do I ship something internationally?

Follow the steps above, with a few additional items:

  • Accept that this is complicated and will take extra time. Any and all shipments outside of the United States are tightly regulated. Even equipment to be returned to the manufacturer for servicing is subjected to compliance. Additional time WILL be needed to comply with transportation and export requirements. Start your shipment as soon as possible.
  • Fill out the shipping request form prior to the requested ship date 5 days ahead for international shipping.
  • Answer questions from stockroom staff and/or Margaret Rakas ALL items to be shipped outside the US MUST go through Margaret Rakas, Lab Safety and Compliance Director so they can be reviewed for Export Compliance per Shipping & Export Control memo dated 10/26/20 from the Associate Provost. Further details on this process and applicability can be found at https://www.smith.edu/about-smith/risk-management/export-control in the document “Shipping: Export Control Review Criteria”
  • Fill out the commercial invoice (CI) according to instructions from Margaret Rakas and /or stockroom using the PDF sent via email along with the table of harmonized codes. Return the CI to scienceshipping@smith.edu and Margaret Rakas. Margaret will sign and print the necessary copies for inspection and shipment.

Getting the prepared shipment to UPS or FedEx

  • There are no FedEx or UPS drop boxes on the campus or scheduled pick-ups. The stockroom staff must call the courier service to arrange pick-up. A 2-hour pickup window is generally required by FedEx or UPS.
  • The shipper assumes responsibility for getting a package to a drop-off location if a pick-up cannot be arranged (IF the package contains non-hazardous materials that are allowed to be transported by private vehicle). If it is after 2:00 pm, the package will need to be brought to a FedEx or UPS drop-off location in order to ship that day.
  • For international shipments via FedEx, other than documents it is best to have a driver pick them up or bring them to the shipping facility in Hatfield 174 West Street (Route 5) West Hatfield, MA 01088 so that a FedEx employee can make sure that the documentation is in order. The facility in Hatfield is also the last possible drop-off time to ship on that day (Mon-Fri) 6:30 pm for express, 6:00 pm for ground. To date, the Hatfield facility accepts dry ice shipments.
  • Other drop-off locations can be found by searching at http://www.fedex.com/us/ under “Find a location”. There are locations in Northampton and you can find one that is on the way in pretty much any direction. These can be used ONLY for non-hazardous shipping, and not for dry ice packages.