Packaging, Handling, Storage and Transportation (PHS&T) is the combination of resources, processes, procedures, design, considerations, and methods to ensure that all system, equipment and support items are preserved, handled, and transported properly, including environmental considerations, equipment preservation for the short and long storage, and transportability. Some items require special environmentally-controlled, shock isolated containers for transport to and from repair and storage facilities via all modes of transportation (land, rail, air, and sea). PHS&T focuses on the unique requirements involved with package, handling, sorting and transporting not only the major end items of the weapon system but also spare parts, other classes of supply, infrastructure items, and even personnel. The requirements and constraints which a military environment imposes on these activities can significantly impact availability, reliability and life-cycle costs of the weapon system. Care must be taken to ensure PHS&T objectives are applied to the entire system and not just the spare and repair parts. Unfortunately, this constrained application happens quite often. Additionally, PHS&T items may require their own life-cycle support, such as maintenance of reusable containers or special storage facilities similar to those required for explosives.
PHS&T is defined by its functional area:
Packaging: provides for product security, transportability, storability, with the added utility of serving as a medium of communication from the producer to the user. The nature of an item determines the type and extent of protection needed to prevent its deterioration. Shipping and handling, as well as the length and type of storage considerations, dictate materials selected for preservation and packing (P&P).
Handling: involves the moving of items from one place to another within a limited range and is normally confined to a single area, such as between warehouses, storage areas, or operational locations, or movement from storage to the mode of transportation.
Storage: infers the short or long term storing of items. Storage can be accomplished in either temporary or permanent facilities.
Transportation: the movement of equipment and supplies using standard modes of transportation for shipment by land, air and sea. Modes of transportation include cargo, vehicle, rail, ship and aircraft.