Before looking “outside the box” for new ways to make your logistics or supply chain operations more effective, you may want to look first at how your team is handling what’s inside the box – as well as what’s on the side of the box and in the paperwork that accompanies it.
Because when it comes to industrial freight shipping, it’s the little things like efficient and safe packing and loading of containers, clear labeling, and accurate documentation that go a long way toward ensuring proper delivery of your shipments and avoiding costly surprises, such as holdups at the border.
Efficient and Safe Packing and Loading
Packing with care and with the proper materials can save time, money and the inconvenience and expense of insurance claims.
Risk management studies show that about a third of the cargo damage that occurs during shipment is the result of poor loading and packing. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than $800 million in annual claims are posted from damage on waterways alone. That number continues to grow as freight traffic increases along with clients’ emphasis on speedy competitive service.
Packing standards in some countries may not come close to meeting the necessary standards to protect your cargo from damage or from the rigors of loading and then rocking and rolling during international transport. The best freight shippers will have representatives on site anywhere in the world to ensure that your parts or equipment are expertly packed so they arrive undamaged at their final destination.
When preparing package labels, strive to answer every question that may arise during the transport of your cargo. Besides the obvious – the addresses and phone numbers of the shipper and consignee, bill of lading number, the SCAC code and PRO number to create a barcode — include a detailed and accurate description of the contents of your package or crate, taking special care if your cargo contains hazardous or dangerous goods or has special handling needs. Place labels in an easy-to-find location on every container in your shipment.
If you are counting on a timely international shipment, accurate and complete documentation is essential. Depending on where and what you’re shipping internationally or domestically, the list of necessary documents may vary dramatically. It will usually begin with a shipping label, commercial invoice, packing list, electronic export information, bill of lading, certificate of origin and a NAFTA certificate of origin. From there the customs requirements of the country of destination or origin will determine what other documents you’ll need.
Professional logistics and shipping experts can save you headaches and long delays. The documents required by China are not the same as those required in India, and the same is true in many of the world’s ports. It pays to ask for advice and counsel.
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