If you have ever shipped goods overseas, you must already be aware of the feeling of anxiety that comes with waiting for your long awaited cargo to arrive at your chosen destination. When moving freight, proper planning and execution is a must; otherwise, a lot of things can go wrong very quickly.
The honest truth is that even the most experienced freight forwarder makes mistakes every now and then. But more often than not, shipping mistakes, some of which when repeated can wreak havoc on your bottom line, can be avoided. Something as simple as failing to indicate the correct weight classification for cargo can result in upcharges; other times failure to fill out paperwork properly can set the stage for a disaster of epic costly proportions.
A lot of things can also happen when the cargo is in transit, which is why it is essential to always take the time to plan and prepare so that everything can go smoothly. Here are the most common shipping mistakes:
Weighing cargo inaccurately
There is no need to gueestimate what your package or shipping will cost you because your freight forwarding service should be able to provide you with an accurate freight quote that can help you plan your budget. Furthermore, there are cost calculators available online that can allow you to determine just how much everything will cost.
Using the wrong freight classification
Freight Classification or freight class refers to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) standard that is typically used to classify and rate any items being shipped based on the density and value of each cargo. Each commodity has to be categorized into one of 18 categories with the lowest class being 50 and the highest being 500. The freight classification that your freight forwarder will give you will determine the rates that you will be charged so you must always consult with your shipper to make sure that your goods have been classified properly or you might be dealing with unexpected charges in the end.
When packaging your cargo, always make sure to use cushioning material to protect your cargo while in transit. If you are shipping anything with knobs, handles, glass panels or anything that has delicate features on it, make certain that you take the extra steps to protect it from damage and to make it easier for the shipper to handle and stow your goods.
Whether you are shipping machinery or electronic gadgets, the packaging that you opt to use will matter significantly. Pick the right box and the right amount of protective fill to save yourself time and money.
Choosing the wrong freight forwarder
A lot of individuals doom themselves and their shipping experience by picking the wrong freight forwarder to handle their shipping needs. If you pick a freight forwarder that is not suited to the task, then you can obviously expect issues to arise. Some of the things that you have to keep in mind when looking for a shipper is the experience of the shipper, the forwarder’s familiarity with the pickup and delivery areas, as well as the shipper’s track record. You should always check the shipper’s reviews and online reputation to assess whether or not they are a right fit for you.
Failing to insure cargo
All freight forwarders offer their customers liability insurance but the terms will vary from one freight forwarding service to the next. If you are shipping expensive or precious cargo, you must speak to your shipper about having it insured at a reasonable cost. You have the peace of mind that you will be compensated should anything go wrong.
Unitize your cargo
If you are shipping a bunch of small items such as cups, household accessories and so on, it is generally advisable to package all your small goods in a unitized pallet rather than stow them individually. Not only will this make it easier for handlers to stow, but it will also go a long way in preventing damage and loss.
Improperly completed paperwork
Filling out your paperwork improperly can result in a disaster that can be crippling. For instance, filling in the wrong information on the bill of lading, for example, or completing shipping paperwork in haste can end up costing you in more ways than you ever imagined. Double checking your information before you hand over the documents should come as second nature especially if you plan to keep shipping. Always confirm your details to remove the possibility of any miscommunication, extra costs and preventable headaches.
Failing to track your shipment
The best and more reliable freight forwarders usually supply their clients with easy tracking options because it is one of the most ideal ways to make sure that your cargo gets to you in time. By monitoring your shipment and keeping track of it, you can alert your freight forwarder regarding any arising issue just in case your forwarder fails to notice and correct the problem.
Relying on the delivery schedule
Although delivery schedules can help you determine what time your package will get to you, these schedules are never a guarantee and you should never rely on them fully. Unfortunately in shipping, delivery schedules can and do inevitably change. That said, you can request a guarantee from a carrier to ensure that you freight arrives on time but you should never assume that the date is set in stone.
Failing to compare freight rates
No freight forwarder is alike and not all are created equal and that can be said of their rates as well. To make sure that you are getting value for your money and that you are paying the best rates, always make sure to compare the rates and standards of different freight forwarders and carriers. With a little research, you will be surprised by some of the differences that you will find.
Give it a try
Now that you are aware of some of the most common shipping mistakes made when moving cargo, you can work towards doing your best to avoid them. If you are concerned about any of these shipping issues cropping up, talk to Sidoman to see how we can help. Most of these mistakes can be avoided if you simply ask for help. As stated above, even the slightest mistake or delay can cost you thousands so contact us today!