First and foremost, we should make some clarifications regarding the topic of this post. While the title may indicate that we’re simply going to be talking about haulage transport, the article is going to spread the net and also cover air and sea freight. In simple terms, it’s going to be the go-to guide for any business who is thinking about expanding and outsourcing to a third party shipping company.
Unfortunately, achieving the above is anything but simple and isn’t just the case of phoning up the local carrier and enlisting their services. As we’ll now highlight, the whole process is tedious to say the least and you’ll have to consider a whole host of factors…
What are you shipping?
This is more important than you may first think and when you first make a call to a carrier, you’ll be bombarded with questions about your products. You need to distinguish how many products you will be shipping in each batch, whilst calculating the dimensions and weight of this at the same time. Armed with this knowledge, you can approach logistics firms and ask for a quote. Additionally, you can start to consider which will be the most effective method of transport and if you are stuck between sea and air, you can determine the chargeable weight of each of your shipments to see if this is better value than paying for a whole container on a ferry.
Don’t forget about fuel surcharges
Ask anyone involved in the logistics industry;fuel surcharges will be their biggest problem. It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a haulage firm or one that will ship your products via air freight – the same issues still exist.
Unfortunately, you can agree a package with a provider, only to then see the terms alter in accordance with fuel price fluctuations. Therefore, always keep one eye on the markets so such increases don’t come as an unwelcome surprise, while this will also allow you to make sure that you are being charged fairly.
Don’t forget ‘hidden charges’
At the risk of putting together a “don’t forget” article, this next tip relates to the hidden charges that a carrier might decide to include in your deal. Unfortunately, although this is mainly in relation to the haulage industry, companies are starting to apply re-delivery fees and also ones that relate to when nobody is there to accept the delivery. As this is completely out of your control, you should be fighting tooth and nail to ensure that you don’t become a victim of this. Carriers will be expecting some form of negotiation – just don’t let them slap you with any old charge.
A lack of security could cost you dearly
Finally, make sure you consider all of the security implications of your shipments. While you should be insured in case something does go drastically wrong, you should be looking to avoid this by opting to use a company who at least puts some security systems in place. The container tracking systems by Loksys are a good place to start and as well as placing your shipment under a secure lock, you’ll also know exactly where they are in the country. This can prove to be an invaluable feature not just from a security point of view, but also from the perspective that you can relate to customers just where their product is if they call with any queries.