Packaging is the act of protecting or enclosing products in such materials as cardboard packaging, corrugated boxes, or polythene material to facilitate its storage, distribution, and sale (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2011). Packaging plays various roles; protective, containment and, loading and transport roles.
One of the major functions of packaging is to offer protection to the material packaged therein (Lamb et al., 2011). Protection can be against natural deterioration, physical protection, or for safety purposes. Natural deterioration occurs due to interaction with gases, microbial organisms (for example, moulds, bacteria, and yeast), rodents, desiccation, and water (Lindh, Olsson & Williams, 2015). On the other hand, physical protection entails reducing shock damage owing to snagging, impact, vibration or friction, as well as improved shock protection. Products such as radioactive elements, liquid, gas and toxic material also require protective packaging to increase safety during transport owing to their hazardous nature. Consequently, packaging helps to minimise waste, for instance, during food distribution.
Containment involve use of packaging material with information about the material contained therein. The packaging containers or packaging material must carry the contents of the packaging after manufacture, during storage, and transport (Lindh et al., 2015).
Loading and Transport Role
Convenient handling of goods demands that the transport packaging material be designed in a way that it can be lifted, held and moved safely and easily. In this case, packaging plays a key role in improving the efficiency of handling, storage and transport of goods (Lindh et al., 2015). The strength and shape of packaging material thus facilitate easier transport and loading.
I once had a bad experience with poor packaging. I ordered some glass items from an online retailer as a wedding gift for a friend. I paid for the items using my credit card and they were shipped but when I received the package, some of the glasses were already broken because the retailer had packaged them with the ‘This Side Up’ sign facing down. I alerted the retailer about this mistake after which they requested a send back and a consequent replacement. However, this would take time. The most painful thing about this experience is that I ended up not giving a friend the present I had anticipated on the said day all because of poor packaging.
Dumping is a term used in reference to the act of selling goods at a lower price in a foreign market than the price that the exporter would charge for the same goods in their home market. The WTO (World Trade Organization) Agreement condemns dumping in case it threatens or cause material injury to local industries where foreign goods have been exported. This act of selling products at a price below the fair market value triggers economic controversy among the various countries taking part in such a trade. Although globalisation is meant to open up national and international boundaries and permit movement of goods, some countries operate based on the “survival for the fittest” rule so that they end up putting their interests first at the expense of those of the other countries with whom they are in trade. Nonetheless, it becomes very hard to prove if dumping is taking place partly due to the differences in production costs between countries (Howell & Ballantine, 2008). Also, countries engage in dumping activities as a means of increasing their market share and by extension, increase their prices. This is acceptable in free markets even if it means driving domestic producers out of business. Although many economists are of the view that dumping does not hinder domestic industrialization, others note that this practice actually affects the domestic market negatively, leading to reduced sales revenue and volume. Which in turn triggers such adverse economic effects as reduced consumer spending and unemployment.
A recent example of dumping involved Chinese aluminium manufacturers who were accused by their U.S counterparts of dumping their products in the U.S. market. This compelled the U.S. Aluminium Association to file a countervailing and anti-dumping petition for the Chinese importers over what they termed as unfair trading of Chinese imports on various types of aluminium foil, effectively inflicting “material injury” to the U.S domestic aluminium industry (Reuters, 2017).
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Reuters (2017). U.S. aluminum foil producers launch case accusing China of dumping. Retrieved