Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems

ASTM-D4169 describes the standard practice for performance testing of shipping containers and systems. It provides a guide for the evaluation of shipping units in accordance with a uniform system, using established test methods at levels representative of those occurring in actual distribution. The recommended test levels are based on available information on the shipping and handling environment, and current industry/government practice and experience.

The tests should be performed sequentially on the same containers in the order given. For use as a performance test, this practice requires that the shipping unit tested remain unopened until the sequence of tests are completed. If used for other purposes, such as package development, it may be useful to open and inspect shipping units at various times throughout the sequence. This may, however, prohibit evaluating the influence of the container closure on container performance.


  • 1.1 This practice provides a uniform basis of evaluating, in a laboratory, the ability of shipping units to withstand the distribution environment. This is accomplished by subjecting them to a test plan consisting of a sequence of anticipated hazard elements encountered in various distribution cycles. This practice is not intended to supplant material specifications or existing preshipment test procedures.

  • 1.2 This practice does not include performance testing of packages for single parcel shipments.

  • 1.3 The suitability of this practice for use with hazardous materials has not been determined.

  • 1.4 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

ASTM D4169-05, DC=13 - testing sequence and types

Sequence Test Type Standard Schedule Description
1 Drop ASTM D5276 A Handling
2 Compression ASTM D642 C Vehicle Stacking
3 Vibration ASTM D6653 F Loose-Load
4 Vibration ASTM D4728 E Vehicle
5 Drop ASTM D5276 A Handling