Lab Equipment Shipping

At Pack and Post, we understand that the important thing about laboratory equipment is not that is fragile, or expensive, but that lives may depend on it. Compromised sterility, calibration, or test results can have very serious consequences. Whether you are doing research, product development, testing for purification, crime scene investigation, or surgery, it’s important work that not just any tools in any condition can perform. Quality control must always be the highest standard in science.

If you need to ship laboratory equipment of any kind, you can get a quick, accurate shipping quote right now by calling us at Pack and Post at 855.322.9684, or you can use our handy form. We can recommend and estimate custom crating and special transportation options. If your equipment is especially large or complex, like an MRI machine, you may email us a photo. We will get you an accurate shipping quote within 24 hours.

Mentioning insurance seems awkward, because no one likes to think of any problems with an important shipment. However, insuring your equipment correctly is always important, especially when you are shipping a precise and valuable piece of medical, dental, or lab equipment. Usually, you know the replacement cost of material and equipment used for your work. If you are unsure of the exact value, or if the value may have changed since you purchased the equipment in question, we can provide you with professional appraisers who are fully certified specialists in their fields, who have access to thousands of sales and auction records, and who can provide accurate documentation that will stand up to insurance or legal investigation. Carriers may have requirements for insurance, but making sure you insure for more than the minimum required amount can be important is there is any mishap.

Laboratory Equipment

Laboratory equipment is extremely varied and can range from room-sized units to tiny pipettes. Laboratories exist in universities, research and development facilities, food quality assurance centers, crime scene and forensic investigation units, hospitals, dental offices, veterinary clinics, schools, agricultural facilities, and many more places. Regardless of the shipment size or shape, no shipping job is too big or too small for Pack and Post.

Large Lab Equipment

Some lab equipment is very large and seems as if it was always built in to the places where it is used, but even that may need to be upgraded, replaced, or installed new.

  • X-Ray Machines and Units
  • MRI and PET
  • CT Scanners
  • Hoods with Ventilation
  • Specialized furniture, like dental chairs
  • Anesthesia Systems
  • Air lock and vacuum chambers
  • Detox showers and decontamination chambers
  • Freezers and Incubators
  • Hospital Beds with attachments and multiple functions

Instruments and Devices

Some of the most important equipment in research, development, investigation, and medical work is not extremely large, but its quality and condition is crucial to accuracy and safety.

  • Centrifuges
  • Viscometers, Colorimeters, Hydrometers
  • Scales and balances
  • Cautery Units and Syringe pumps
  • Dopplers, Vaporizers
  • Thermometers, Refractometers, Polarimeters
  • Magnetic Stirrers
  • Counters and support jacks
  • Microscopes
  • Compressed gas cylinders of all sizes

Lab Supplies and Small Items

Some lab equipment is simple and small enough to be shipped as just regular parcels, but other things require extreme care and planning because sterility and condition are so important to function.

  • Lenses
  • Beakers, flasks, bottles, tubes
  • Porcelain funnels
  • Burets, pipettes, stoppers, crucibles,
  • Burners and clamps
  • Gauges, Gloves, Masks
  • Waste receptacles and incinerators

Packing Laboratory Equipment and Instruments

Some parts of laboratory equipment are sensitive electronic devices while other elements are machined parts like the lenses for an electron microscope, and in any case, packing carefully is a must. Our team is experienced at this and ready to help. Sometimes, the safest way to do this is to remove some of the parts and peripherals, which can be individually wrapped in bubble wrap and then packed together. Other times, an entire unit must be packed as is.

Depending on the items, there are several packing methods and materials that should be used.

  • Moisture barriers to protect surfaces and parts from dust or contamination
  • Foam-in-place methods that wrap delicate items, then foam around them for stability
  • Pad-wrapping for extra cushion
  • Dust-free crating, an inside packaging facility
  • If multiple units are involved labeling and color coding
  • Palletizing can be useful, and may require banding
  • Boxes with high pressure ratings
  • Dust-free packing materials and vacuum sealing
  • Shrink wrap and plastic wrap for pallets, boxes, crates, etc
  • Vacuum desiccators or glove boxes with airlock chambers
  • Shock-mount bases to skids
  • Appropriate labeling if any chemicals or substances are involved

Once your equipment or instruments are packed and loaded, stability becomes a major concern. Some insurance providers have complex clauses when it comes to specialized equipment. They may cover damage that comes from a broken crate, but could refuse to cover damage if a part inside the crate comes loose or is shattered from vibration.

Depending on the size and shape of your shipment, whether it is in crates, boxes, or palletized, there are a variety of methods for securing cargo. Ideally, heavy lab equipment should be moved in air-ride conditions with ramps or lift gates. A two-man team minimum may be required for handling larger articles. Blocks of wood or foam may be used to brace a crate or pallet to prevent slippage. In some cases, a cargo crate will be suspended above the floor of a hold deck. Synthetic or polyester webbing may be used, and dunnage bags, which are airbags that inflate to hold securely and can be deflated to gently release an item, are another option. Foam may be used for added security, and it may be wise to place seals on the containers to prevent and detect any kind of tampering or compromise. In any case, we can be sure you are aware of all the options available and help you choose the right one.


  • White Glove Service

    This care is the same level of care we use for museums: protecting sensitive elements and components from dust, humidity, or damage with archival-level handling skills and individual wrapping. Cleanliness and sterility are crucial in lab instruments, supplies, and equipment.
  • Expedited Service

    In many situations, the lab instruments and equipment are being shipping because they are needed immediately. A delay can be costly on many levels, since time is valuable and human safety and health are often involved. Waiting is expensive, especially when highly-trained staff may be standing by. Additionally, much lab work is time-sensitive, and if the clock is running, we should be, too. We can provide overnight and other levels of expedited shipping.
  • Custom Containment

    Very little is as complex and varied as lab equipment. It comes in all sizes and levels of complexity; it must remain sterile; it has been precisely calibrated. Furthermore, the slightest damage or compromise can have deadly consequences. As discussed above, pieces of lab equipment, lab instruments, and their parts must be packed carefully, thoughtfully, and deliberately. They must be unloaded and unpacked with equal attention to detail. In most cases, you will want your item custom crated and mounted to skids, cushioned from vibration, protected from particles. If you need help, we can provide the team to do it.
  • Any location or method

    Same Day, Overnight, Ground, Air, Rail, and Ocean – whether you need domestic or international shipping, we will have options so you can select the best one for the requirements of your project.
  • Full service

    We provide full retrieval and delivery from and to any location. We can come to your lab, research center, hospital, or clinic and pack and load directly to minimize the risk of damage. Indoor packing on site and loading directly is one option. We can also arrange to unpack and install the equipment at the destination, and take away any packing debris. If the equipment must be packed in a special facility which contains sterile, clean rooms and vacuum chambers, we can assist with getting it there and then taking it from there.
  • Documentation

    We can provide full documentation and create a clear record for insurance or legal purposes. This is especially important if you are using a shipping method with multiple legs, such as truck to ship to shore to truck. If your equipment is being moved internationally, we can assist with the paperwork. This can involve at air waybills, bills of lading, commercial invoices, consular invoices, certificates of origin, NAFTA-specific forms, inspection certification, dock and warehouse receipts, destination control statements, SEDs, export or import licenses, export or import packing lists, and insurance certifications, among other things.

Tips for Shipping Laboratory and Medical Equipment

Calculate the Basics

As you fill out the forms or talk with one of our technicians for your quote, consider all the dimensions and properties of your equipment. Usually, you can find manufacturer specifications online for any model or item. If a thermometer contains mercury or fluid that can freeze or expand, we need to consider that. Using a moving weight estimator can help to get the basic weight of some items. href=””>

If you need assistance, give us a call; also, let us know if the weight you provide is an estimate (as opposed to actual weight from a catalog, for example.) Knowing the exact dimensions allows us to give you the best packing and shipping quote up front. If you are shipping multiple pieces of equipment, let us know if they are all identical or are different sizes. Some lab equipment is large enough to fill an entire room, some is tiny. Perhaps you are relocating and entire hospital. Either way, we can help.

Consider Your Shipping Goals

If you need your medical, dental, or laboratory equipment and supplies to arrive at a site overnight, one service may be better than another. Some may require more loading and unloading along the way. The handling and changes of carrier, the safer the transition.

Learn the Costs

Lab equipment is extremely varied and can be fragile, delicate, and sensitive. Special padding, insulation, and custom crating is always recommended, even for the smallest devices and materials. That could add to the base cost of transportation. We will be glad to help you understand the details of any quote we provide. It’s not just about the miles, it is about the quality and security you require.

Obtain Insurance

Make sure you have an adequate insurance. Some shipping carriers have coverage limits, and in some cases you may want additional insurance for especially hard-to replace equipment. Carriers may require that you have coverage, but may not require that it be enough. In the event of a catastrophe, being covered is crucial for recovery. Having professionals help can be useful, and Pack and Post can provide help. Although it is unlikely that anything will go wrong with your shipment, it is wise to be covered completely and adequately.

Know the Rules

Beyond their precious and fragile nature, shipments of laboratory equipment require special handling. Be aware of restrictions and regulations that may affect shipping if your computer is going to go to an international destination. Until recently, there were bans on shipping anything with a lithium battery, for example. So if you are shipping a digital scale, thermometer, or other device that uses one, it may be set aside for examination. Although regulations have loosened somewhat in the United States, they remain very strict in some other countries. Batteries may be required to be installed inside the equipment, and a fail-safe that prevents accidental activation may be required. ICAO standards set the tone, but ultimately countries get to make their own rules. You may end up having to use a marine shipping line.

Furthermore, some countries have regulations about the import of “used” equipment, many times lab equipment must be “certified” for use in that country. There are forms that may need to be filled out to demonstrate whether the move represents a change of ownership vs. relocation. VAT registry must be attended to. If the equipment contains sensitive materials, that may make a difference. Each country will have their own specific export, import, and customs regulations. Duties, taxes, and other fees will also vary depending on the locations involved. You will be asked to declare your shipment’s value and describe it in some detail. Even though we live in a modern world with a global economy, there are still many industrial rules and regulations that require extreme paperwork and some investigation when equipment for a scientific or medical application is moved. If tamper seals are in place, it is important to know if customs will require they be broken or replaced. Bear in mind that power plug adapters may be needed in some places. Seals and symbols indicating things like radioactivity or hazardous material must be in place, and often the shipment must be labeled in multiple languages.

Clear Communication

It is always important for everyone involved in any shipment to be aware of the schedule, especially when something as valuable and critical as specialized medical, research, or scientific lab equipment is being transported. Someone will be required to inspect it on its arrival to verify its condition and functionality. If the equipment had to be disassembled and broken down into individually-wrapped parts for shipping safety, it will have to be reassembled correctly and possibly tested on arrival. Let both your shipping carrier or broker know about special requirements up front, and be sure to give them ample contact information, such as cell phone numbers, email, and land line options for all the parties that will be involved. Notifying all parties of any potential delays, for example, can be not only courteous, but very prudent in a situation where paid experts are standing by at the destination or in which the target destination has high security. We can help coordinate this with you.

Types of Carriers for Shipping Laboratory and Medical Equipment


Freight lines are what we usually think of when we think shipping: big trucks with different kinds of trailers. Shipping with a freight line can be LTL, which means less-than-truckload, indicating that your item will share transport with other items, and may stop at different warehouses and locations along the way. This also may mean it is moved from one truck/trailer to another multiple times, which incurs risk to the equipment.

You will also hear about truckload freight, which means you have a truck dedicated only to your shipment and it will go straight from the point of origin to the destination. This is most desirable when possible. Air Freight moves more quickly than standard freight, but does not necessarily mean it is flown in an aircraft. When using freight for relocating laboratory or medical scientific equipment, it is important to stabilize the container. Some delicate pieces can suffer from temperature extremes, dust, and humidity, so a truck line with climate control may be required, and special moisture barriers should be provided even if the packing protects against these things.


Rail remains a quick and direct way to move cargo. Roll-on, Roll-off options may be available. Some shipping cars will have climate controls, so equipment that is sensitive to environmental changes can be maintained at a steady humidity or temperature. Again, the key is to be sure the shipment is on one car and stays in that car the entire journey with no moving or disturbance.

Van Lines

Van lines usually use actual vans or trucks which are designed for carrying specific kinds of cargo, but may also employ shipping containers. These will offer packing and crating. They may also allow you to do your own packing. With some lab equipment, you may want to take it to a professional packing facility first, and we can arrange that. Vans often have special fixtures like padded walls, and come with specialized equipment for moving heavy and awkward objects. You may also need a climate-controlled van, with air-ride suspension, and lift gates for smooth loading and unloading.

Air and Marine Cargo

Often, you may have to choose between these for international projects. Aircraft will provide a swift ride that is usually smooth with a minimum of bumping around, but it subjects your equipment to changes in air temperature and pressure. In some cases, this means it may not be practicable, depending on what you need to ship. With air shipping, there are not changes from one hold to another, and there are seldom multiple stops, which could provide risk.

Marine carriers are may have air pressure, temperature, and humidity challenges, depending on the route. Cargo ships are often best equipped for loading, transporting, and unloading large crates, with cranes and cradles. Considering transport from an airport or port to the final destination is another factor. In every case, there will be an ideal solution, and Pack and Post can help you find it.

Since Pack and Post is a professional, licensed shipping brokerage, we have access to every kind of packing and shipping provider in the business. We take your information and then look at the big picture with a complete understanding of what is required to get your fine equipment packed, shipped, and relocated. Most importantly, we are experienced in handling and packing delicate equipment with sensitive systems and special requirements. We know all the tiny details that must be attended to in order for the shipment to go as planned.

Pack and Post has over 28 years of experience, contacts all over the world, and all the tools for every job. We are glad to assist you in shipping your laboratory equipment and furnishings. You can relax, confident that every element of the packing, shipping, insurance, and even the unpacking and installation at the destination will be considered and allowed for. Call now at 855.322.9684 or use our convenient form for an accurate, professional, personalized quote!

No matter how much experience we have, each and every shipment is a unique and individual project with its own variables and details that must be considered. Trust us to pay attention to those and communicate with you every step of the way.