In a perfect world, every shipment would get from its point of origin to its destination on time, in as-shipped condition, and with zero headaches for you, the shipper. Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Any individual or organization that uses domestic shipping services or international shipping services on a regular basis is going to encounter an issue from time to time. Fortunately, there are steps you and/or your specialty crating and shipping company can take to help minimize the risk of issues and reduce the impact of common problems if they occur.
Shipping Issues and the Proven Strategies for Managing Them
Having been a pioneer and leader in the specialty crating and shipping industry for more than 30 years, we’ve encountered just about any shipping challenge you can imagine. We’ve also learned from the experiences and found ways to avoid those problems, or at least deal with them quickly and efficiently if they can’t be avoided.
Nine of the shipping issues that occur most commonly are:
1. Items are damaged during handling or shipping
No doubt about it: Conditions in the shipping stream can be very harsh. The forces that items face as they’re loaded onto trucks, planes and ships, and transported over bumpy roads, through turbulence, and on rough seas are far greater than what they experience sitting at your business location or home. However, when the proper packaging and crating scheme is developed by a trained and experienced packaging engineer, the risk of damage is dramatically reduced.
2. Shipping costs are unreasonably high
There are, of course, expenses associated with transporting goods safely from Point A to Point B. But if the fees are higher than you believe they should be, there are actions you can take to reduce them. For example, you should compare providers, keeping in mind that improper handling and logistical errors on the part of a “bargain” shipper can end up costing you far more than what you would pay a premier provider.
It’s also helpful to arrange for shipping as far in advance as possible. Waiting until the last minute to make your plan can result in higher fees for expediting the shipment. And if shipping multiple items, you should consider the needs of each. If some of them are required more urgently but others less so, it may be cost-effective to split the shipment up, with the different components using shipping methods appropriate for their deadline.
3. Lack of knowledge about international shipping
The process of getting a shipment from Detroit to Houston is fairly simple. Your assets might simply be loaded onto a truck that arrives at the destination a few days later. Shipping items overseas is another matter altogether. There are customs requirements, forms that need to be completed, transfers from one carrier to another, etc. The best way to ensure that your international shipping goes smoothly is to work with a crating and shipping company that has significant experience in getting goods to their foreign destinations.
For example, Craters & Freighters can take the burden of learning about international shipping rules off of you because we’ve coordinated the transportation of assets to and from virtually every major overseas destination through the years. We help you with everything from securely packaging your items, to filling out the paperwork, to tracking your shipment every step of the way.
4. Shipping route disruptions
Many forces outside your control can impact shipping routes. Natural disasters, political unrest and pandemics are just a few examples. While these events can’t be prevented, there may be ways to work around them in many instances.
Working with an experienced shipping logistics company provides a few benefits. First, they monitor local, regional, national and world events in order to anticipate problems. Then, if issues arise, they leverage their knowledge and extensive network of industry contacts to determine if there is a way to modify the path a shipment will take to avoid trouble spots.
5. Lost items
With some shipping companies, once an item enters the shipping stream it can feel like it’s fallen into a black hole. It’s a different story with premium crating and shipping providers. They track your shipment throughout its journey and immediately take action if they lose contact with a package. The sooner problem resolution begins, the more likely it is that assets are found and get back on track.
6. The stress of “split shipments”
In some shipping engagements, like estate shipping, items are picked up in one location but must be delivered to multiple locations. This can create a major headache for family members if they have to coordinate the process. At Craters & Freighters, we step in to handle the logistics, carefully labeling, logging and tracking assets as they go their separate ways, always keeping shippers and recipients updated on the progress of the project.
7. Harsh environmental conditions along the shipping route
One hidden form of damage to assets is the effects of environmental conditions—in particular, corrosion and other internal damage that can be caused to electronics like servers by high humidity levels, such as during ocean transport. However, precautions like moisture-barrier packaging, desiccants and humidity indicator cards can help ensure that sensitive items are protected.
8. Shipping hazardous materials
There are many restrictions associated with the shipping of hazardous materials or “hazmat.” A crating and shipping company experienced in hazmat shipping can help you understand the packaging and handling requirements, and the related paperwork, so that you don’t break any rules or regulations in moving your materials.
9. The cost of repairing or replacing damaged goods
Despite your best efforts and those of your shipping company, items can still be damaged during transport. To keep from having to absorb the cost of repairing or replacing damaged goods, you can arrange for what’s called cargo insurance, ideally through the company that is coordinating your shipment. At Craters & Freighters, for example, we’re authorized to pack and crate almost any type of item with coverage through our insurance company thanks to many years of very low claims ratios.
Clearing the Hurdles to No-Hassle Shipments
A common denominator in problem-free shipping is working with an experienced specialty crating and shipping company. Their expertise can help you avoid or minimize common shipping issues so that you can turn your attention to other tasks.
If you have questions about how Craters & Freighters can make your life easier as your full-service crating and shipping logistics provider, we’re happy to answer them! Please contact your local Craters & Freighters brick-and-mortar location at your convenience or request a quote online.