Transit Packaging Testing: A Guide to ISTA Test Standards

Who is ISTA?
ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) is a member-based nonprofit that empowers organizations, and their people, to minimize product damage throughout distribution and optimize resource usage through effective package design.

Advancing Packaging, Together!

What is ISTA packaging?
The ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) is a globally-recognised set of standards and testing procedures designed to ensure the safety and protection of products during transportation. The primary aim of ISTA is to control costs and reduce the damage caused to products during distribution and achieve efficient use of resources by employing efficient package designs.

ISTA packaging is divided into several levels, each designed to address specific aspects of the transportation process.

ISTA Test Procedures

ISTA tests range from those utilized early in the design process as a screening tool (1-Series) to tests that are general simulations of the hazards typically found in a specific shipment type (3-Series), common Types of ISTA tests: ISTA 1 series, 2 series, 3 series.

1 Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests

Challenge the integrity of the product and package combination. Useful as screening tests but not designed to simulate environmental occurrences.

There are 7 testing procedures of 1 series which are 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1G and 1H, they are all useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

2 Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests

More thorough screening test useful for refining preliminary designs. Not intended to be predictive of shipping performance.

The are 3 testing procedures of 2 series which are 2A, 2B and 2C.

3 Series: General Simulation Performance Tests

Provide a simulation of the damage-producing motions, forces, conditions, and sequences of transport environments. Useful as a predictive tool to understand risk of damage.

Applicable across broad sets of circumstances, such as a variety of vehicle types and routes, or a varying number of handling exposures. Characteristics will include simple shaped random vibration, different drop heights applied to the sample package, and/or atmospheric conditioning such as tropical wet or winter/frozen.

The are 5 testing procedures as procedures 3A, 3B, 3E, 3F and 3H and 2 testing projects as Project 3K and Project 3L.

6 Series: Member Performance Tests, 6-SAMSCLUB, 6-FEDEX

Created by an ISTA member or in cooperation with ISTA to establish unique requirements or to reflect their particular conditions of distribution. Useful in evaluating the effectiveness of packaging against hazards represented in their supply chain.

ISTA 6-Series protocols are Member Performance Tests created to reflect supply chain elements of Global 500 Retailers or Carriers determined by the ISTA Standards Council to be unique and therefore do not translate well to industry standardization. The tests may be completely original or may be modifications or variations of ISTA Procedures or Projects or other published and accepted tests.

7 Series: Development Tests

Used in the development of transport packages by comparing the relative performance of two or more container designs but are not intended to evaluate the protection afforded packaged-products.

There are 2 testing procedures of 7 series which are 7D, and 7E.

How can GICG help?

We offer a wide range of transit packaging testing and certifications for package product integrity and performance. GIC Testing & Inspection Services Sdn Bhd has been accredited by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) to certify that your packaging complies with current ISTA packaging requirements. ISTA, an international organization dedicated to improving packaging methods, is a leader in specifications for the testing of packaged products and certification of qualified laboratories worldwide. GICG is also an official member of the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier (APASS) network. For more information:


For more information on our transit packaging testing:
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a guide to ISTA test procedures
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