There’s a lot to consider when you’re moving heavy equipment halfway around the world.  A wrinkle in your plan can eat into profits so deeply you’ll wonder if the deal was worth the effort, after all.

How can logistics and transportation glitches make such a significant financial difference?  Here are some familiar scenarios that illustrate how your budget can go astray:

  1. The time between an order for big equipment is placed and an actual delivery date can be
    many months.  A lot can happen.  The day you finalized your order, fuel costs were low and ocean carriers were hard pressed to fill their ships.  But during the 10 months it took to design and manufacture your heavy equipment, fuel prices rose significantly and international freight carriers pulled several ships out of service.  Unless you’ve locked in, you’re bound to pay a premium for fuel and transportation and your original budget is tens of thousands of dollars lower than actual costs.  And so goes your profit.
  2. You went online and found a company that offered lower freight costs than any other shipper.  You went for it because it made your bid more competitive.  What the shipper didn’t tell you was that it had no agents on the ground, your documentation was insufficient and your equipment would be warehoused for more than a month while you ironed out the problems.
  3. The production schedule has been pushed back for a piece of machinery whose timely delivery is crucial to your client.  To keep your word that the machinery will arrive on time, you’re going to have to pay an enormous transportation premium that could have been avoided if you had tracked the production schedule closely and made contingency plans for shipping.
  4. Your shipping partner has little experience shipping goods out of India.  When they realize the difficulty finding ground transportation from the remote manufacturing facility to port and have not considered the complex customs rituals, your shipment is late and your shipper is ill-equipped to resolve the problems.

“Unfortunately, mistakes like these are not unusual,” says Neil Clavano, International Operations Specialist at ICAT Logistics Detroit.  “Of course, years of experience and thousands of international orders can prevent many of these problems.”

Any international shipment can be tricky, but when you’re moving oversize, heavy machinery from one part of the world to another, the more your shipper is aware of the design of the machine, the production schedule and how it is proceeding and the timetable you need to follow, the more they can ensure that you stick to budget, make a profit and meet your clients’ expectations.  Disassembling a machine for packaging and reassembling it at the port of destination may decrease transportation costs significantly, for example.  Working with a network of trusted partners overseas can eliminate delays and extra charges.

“These shipments take planning and teamwork.  We map out several contingency plans and look for aspects of the shipment that could cause problems so we can head them off before they happen,” Clavano said.

“We don’t like surprises, and neither do our clients,” he said.  “With experience, a strong network of partners across the globe and a plan built by a team of experts, surprises are rare and when they happen we know how to respond.”

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