Author Archives: Cratex

How to Safely Ship Artwork

So, you are in the market for art, have just found your favourite masterpiece, or are looking to ship a valuable piece to a dealer?  Regardless of what situation you find yourself in, the most important part of any shipment is making sure that it arrives on time and undamaged.  As your premier shipping company specializing in packing and crating, here are some suggestions on how to safely and securely ship art.

Wrap it Up

The better protected your artwork is, the better chance it has of arriving at its destination unmarked and in perfect condition.  To protect your valuable commodity, be sure to wrap it in as many layers as possible.  Before starting the wrapping process, it is important to:

  • Measure your artwork’s length, width and height so that you know the dimensions. This will allow you to choose a properly sized shipping container.  Knowing your dimensions will also help you estimate your shipping costs.
  • Protect the corners of the frame or the artwork by placing cardboard corner protectors.

Once you have protected the frame’s corners and measured your artwork, it is time to wrap your art. Bubble wrap is the best way to protect your artwork as it provides extra protection and cushion, in case of any bumps or bruises along the way.  Wrap your artwork in at least two layers of bubble wrap.  Place the smooth side against the art with the bubbles facing outwards to avoid any impressions or other damage.

Ensure that surfaces are completely covered by at least two inches of bubble wrap.  Tape seams along the bubble wrap with packing tape to create a moisture free barrier.  If you are shipping rolled artwork, make sure that you completely wrap the piece in at least one layer of bubble wrap and seal it before putting it in a mailing tube.

After you have wrapped your art, sandwich it between two pieces of rigid foam board that are at least a half inch thick to provide extra stability and protection.

Here’s the deal:

Do not tape these boards too tight as excess pressure can damage your artwork.

Select the Right Container

After you have the correct measurements of your artwork and have secured it with wrapping and foam board, it is time to select a shipping container.  The external box or crate must be rigid and free of any creases or damage.  Do not reuse shipping boxes with delicate art.  Try to choose a container that has minimal extra space in it and fill this extra space with packing peanuts or newspaper to prevent any shifting during the shipping process.

By following these simple guidelines, you will be able to ship any type of art with the piece of mind that it will arrive in the same condition that it left.  If you have any other questions about shipping artwork or are interested in the shipping services we offer, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your shipping network and look forward to working with you soon

 

 

 

 

Shipping and your Business – Becoming More Productive.

Just running the day-to-day affairs of a business can be exhausting enough, let alone having to deal with the extra demands of shipping.

  • Are you overpaying?
  • Are you getting everything out of your current carrier?
  • What are the locations that I need to ship to this week?

These are just some of the extra pressures that go along with shipping.  As the premier company specializing in packing and crating, we would like to share the following ways to increase your business’ shipping productivity.

Get Quotes

Regardless of where or what you are shipping, be sure to get quotes, so that you understand the shipping process and what that shipment is going to cost.  With so much business being done online nowadays, the length of time that you will have to wait for a quote from any carrier should be very short or almost instantaneous.  If this is not the case, you may want to think about looking elsewhere for your shipping needs – the adage ‘time is money’ applies in this case.

Reduce Paper

By going online, you will not only be reducing paper, you are also shrinking your business’ global footprint. Digital paperwork will also expedite the amount you are spending filling out time consuming bills of lading and other necessary shipping paperwork.

Try to find a company that uses an automated internal system that takes care of all paperwork.  This will drastically speed up the shipping process, including reorders and repeat customers.

Track It

Being a responsible business owner means managing the aspects of your shipping from the time it leaves your dock or front door until it safely arrives at its destination.  Again, try to find a company that uses an automated shipping system, so that checking the status of your shipment is as easy as logging on.

Go with the Pros

By using a company that understands your business’ shipping needs, you will increase your productivity by reducing the amount of time spent.  At Cratex, we have been in the shipping business for over 30 years and use a state-of-the-art internal computer network to track and store your shipping information.

By employing these simple solutions to your business’ needs, you should be able to streamline your shipping department, while cutting down on time and thus reducing stress while increasing productivity.

If you would like other ways to increase your business’ productivity or would like to know more about our various shipping services, such as our custom crating and packing, please contact us today.  We look forward to being a part of your business.

 

How LTL (Less-than-Truckload) Can Benefit your Business

Every business’ shipping needs are different.  If you are shipping items that are larger than parcel size, but an entire container is just too much, then LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping may be the answer.  As the premier company for all your shipping and crating needs, we would like to share the following reasons on how LTL shipping can benefit your business.

Flexibility

Perhaps the biggest benefit of LTL shipping is the flexibility it gives your business.  If you require a larger shipment one month and a smaller shipment the next, the flexibility of LTL shipping can accommodate this.  The other benefits of flexibility include:

  • Allows you to ship freight to several locations in a region of the country, province or city.
  • Allows consolidation of many different companies to create a load, thus sharing the total cost of shipping.
  • Will allow you to ship a variety of different products or freight in the same shipment, if needed.

Cost

LTL shipping is the most cost efficient of all the shipping options that are available.  The main advantage of using LTL shipping is that the shipping cost is shared between a wide range of businesses all looking for a similar service.  If your business does not require an entire truck and trailer to move your product from point A to point B then LTL shipping is for you.

Control

If you are looking for full control over your shipping needs, then look no further than LTL shipping.  Without the volume required to fill an entire truck then LTL shipping will allow you to control the amount of freight that you want to move while at the same time getting your product to its destination in the same amount of time.

LTL shipping also gives your company control over the amount of freight you want to ship and the opportunity to ship to multiple locations.  These features of LTL shipping give your company the flexibility and control of changing your monthly shipping quotas.

Additional Service Options

If you choose LTL as your main shipping choice, you will have access to a wide range of shipping services that go far beyond dock to dock.  These services include:

  • Liftgate loading.
  • Inside or bay to bay pick-up service.
  • Notification options to alert both shipper and consignee of when freight is being picked up or dropped off.

Go Green

LTL shipping is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to ship your freight.  Because LTL pools many different shipments together to make one full load, hence you are sharing the total emissions of that truck load with a host of other companies.  Many companies are taking steps to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce their emissions.  Why not be a part of this growing movement and choose LTL shipping as your preferred shipping method?

If you are looking for the most cost-efficient and flexible way to move your goods, then LTL is the answer for you.  If you would like more information on the benefits of LTL shipping or have more questions surrounding LTL, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your shipping network and look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

 

Shipping Jargon Unpacked – Part 2

With so many different terms used in the shipping world, we felt that just one blog was not enough to cover all the essentials.  As the premier company for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to define the following shipping terms so that you can better understand the shipping process for your business.

Packing List

A detailed document provided by the shipper that declares what goods are included in the shipment and how they are packed.  This slip also includes the number of packages or boxes, the number of items in each carton as well as the weight and dimensions of the shipment.

Shipper

The shipper is the person or company who is shipping the goods.  If you are importing the goods from an overseas supplier, then that supplier is the shipper.  The shipper is responsible for sending the goods to the consignee.

Container

A standardized metal box used for shipping goods that are usually either 20 or 40 ft long.  Containers can be easily interchanged between trucks, rail and ships without having to unpack the freight.

Hazardous Material

A shipment may be deemed hazardous if it poses an unreasonable risk to health and safety or property.  Examples include flammable or combustible material, oxidizing or corrosive material, poisons and compressed gas.  Extra precautions need to be taken when shipping any type of hazardous materials.

Waybill

A non-negotiable document prepared by or on behalf of the carrier at the point of origin.  A waybill shows the original point of shipment, the destination and route, consignor and consignee, a description of the freight and the amount charged for the shipment process.

Carrier

The company responsible for providing the transportation services to move products.

Warehousing

Refers to the storage of goods in a facility for a specific period.  Freight shippers often store their goods in a warehouse until they are ready to be shipped.

C.O.D

Cash on Delivery.  This is usually a request from the shipper to the carrier to receive payment upon delivery of the goods.  C.O.D. requests will be stated on the bill of lading and will include the accepted forms of payment.

Gross Weight

The weight of the freight, including its packaging.

Shipping Marks

Placed on boxes or packages for identification purposes.  Shipping marks can be the size and weight of the box, the recipient or even the shape of the goods.  They are used to differentiate what boxes belong to whom within a shared container.

By better understanding the shipping jargon, you should be able to decide what type of shipping method is best for your company.  If you would like more information or a clearer definition of any of the previous abbreviations or words, please contact us today.  We also offer a wide range of shipping services and solutions for all your packing and crating needs and would love to be a part of your shipping network.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

Shipping Jargon Unpacked – Part 1

There are so many different facets to running a successful business.  When it comes to getting your products to their consumers the last thing on your mind should be trying to understand some of the confusing shipping language that is often used.  As your premier packing and crating source, we would like to offer you the following on how to better understand shipping jargon.

Transloading

This is the shipping process of transferring goods from one mode of transportation to another.  Transloading is most often employed when one mode of transportation cannot be used for the shipment’s entire journey.

ETA

Estimated Time of Arrival.  This term is generally used to describe the time that the goods are slated to arrive at their destination port.

FCL

Full Container Load.  An FCL contains enough goods to fill an entire shipping container.

LCL

Less than full container load.   An LCL is when you do not have enough goods to fill a 20-foot container.  In this case, your goods will be loaded into a shared container with other companies’ products.

Bill of Lading

The official shipping document that contains the information about the shipment.  The bill of lading represents “ownership” of the goods.  The shipment will not be released until final payments have been completed.  Without a bill of lading, the goods cannot be delivered.

CBM (M3)

Cubic Metre.  This unit of volume is often used when calculating shipment space.  The formula is 100 cm X 100 cm X 100cm = 1 cubic metre.

High Cube (HC or HQ)

Refers to any container that exceeds 8 ft 6 in (102 inches) in height.

C&F (or CFR) and CIF

Cost and Freight or Cost, Insurance and Freight.  This term refers to the buyer paying the amount that covers not only the freight, but also the cost of transporting these goods to the port of discharge.  CIF also includes marine insurance.

Consignee

The person or company receiving the goods.  The shipper sends the goods to the consignee.

Tariff

A tariff is a document that sets all applicable rules, rates and charges to ship goods.  This document is essentially the contract for the shipper, consignee and the carrier.

Commercial Invoice

This invoice contains both the buyer and the seller’s details, the type of goods, their quantity and the price of each product as well as the terms of sale.  The commercial invoice is used to declare the details of the freight to customs and dictates the amount of duties and taxes that are to be paid.

By defining some of these confusing shipping terms, you should be able to better understand how your entire shipment process affects your business.  If you would like more information on these or any other terms, please contact us today.  We also offer a wide range of shipping services as well as packing and crating solutions for your goods.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce your Freight Forwarding Costs

Chances are, the shipment of your products is a large portion of your company’s bottom line and you are always looking at ways to save money on this service.  One area that you may be able to cut some costs is if you are using freight forwarding to move your goods. As the premier company for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to share with you the following ways in which your company can reduce its freight forwarding costs.

Evaluate Your Transportation Methods

Before you ship your next batch of items, take a moment and review your transportation methods.  See if there are other ways to ship the same goods for less.  You may want to choose a combination of ways to deliver your goods and this is where transloading can save both time and money.

Choose Off-Peak Times

Regardless of which method of shipment you choose, try to use off-peak times to move your product.  Even a day later or earlier can make a huge difference in your total shipment cost.  If what you are shipping is non-perishable and even non-consumer, you may want to take full advantage of off-peak shipping.

Ship More for Less

If it is possible, try to ship more of your product less often.  Like anything, shipping in bulk is always a lot cheaper than shipping individual items.  Again, shipping in bulk is only possible if you are moving non-perishable or other goods that are easily stored.

Eliminate Extras

Another great way to reduce freight forwarding costs is to be aware of all of the extra costs associated with your current shipping methods.  Be sure to do the leg work that you may be charged, such as wrapping and properly stacking your pallets, so that they do not tip or need to be wrapped halfway through the shipment process.   Some extra fees that you may be able to eliminate include:

  • Costs associated with weight adjustments.
  • Fees attached to residential adjustments.
  • Any additional handling fees.

By better understanding your shipping methods you should be able to find areas that you can improve upon or even cut costs on.  If you would like more information about how to better understand the different ways to ship freight and what methods may be the most productive and cost efficient for your products, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your shipping family and look forward to working with you in the future.

 

Understanding Dimensional Weight

If you have ever received a quote on international air or ocean freight and questioned how they arrived at that total, then read on.  Most companies use a formula known as dimensional weight to calculate the shipping total of your goods.  As the premier shipping company for your packing and crating needs, we would like to explain what dimensional weight is and the various formulas that certain shipping companies use.

Dimensional weight

Dimensional weight is the combination of the three dimensions of your shipping package, otherwise known as volumetric weight.  The 3 factors of dimensional weight are:

  • Height, Length, Width

Many carriers choose to use dimensional weight because of the large shipping capacities that are often underutilized, especially when it comes to shipping small packages.

Here’s the Deal:

Smaller, heavier items surrounded by packaging for protection is considered smart packing, but it also takes up extra room that could be dedicated to other cargo.  That is where dimensional weight comes into play.

Shipping by Air or Ground

If you are shipping goods via air or ground, then the dimensional weight calculations are based on pounds or kilograms.  Many domestic and North American companies such as Canada Post, Air Canada and UPS use this as their dimensional weight formula.

  • L x W x H (inches)/366 (International/Air) = Dimensional Weight (kilograms)
  • L x W x H (centimeters)/6000 (Domestic/Ground) = Dimensional Weight (kilograms)
  • L x W x H (inches)/166 (Domestic/Ground) = Dimensional Weight (pounds)

Package sizes are always rounded up to the nearest inch and weights are always rounded up to the next pound or kilogram for pricing purposes.  Carriers may also compare dimensional weight to gross weight and apply the heavier weight as their pricing.

Shipping by Sea

When shipping goods by sea, weight calculations are also based on dimensional weight, unless the gross weight is heavier.  Ocean freight uses multiples of 20 feet and 40 feet instead of single trailer or cargo areas, thus dimensional weight calculations are based in cubic feet or cubic metres.  The formula used to determine dimensional weight for ocean shipping is as follows:

  • L x W x H (inches)/1728 = Dimensional Weight (cubic feet)
  • L x W x H (centimeters)/1 000 000 = Dimensional Weight (cubic metres)

There are approximately 35 cubic feet to one cubic metre.  Each cubic foot is calculated at a weight of 10 pounds.

These standard formulas are how most shipping companies arrive at their quotes when using dimensional weight.  If you would like any more information or clarification on dimensional weight and how it impacts your business, please give us a call today.  We would love to answer your questions or concerns and be a part of your packing and crating solutions.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Tips for Shipping Heavy Equipment

Shipping heavy machinery or equipment is a different shipping process than other types of freight.  Not only does heavy equipment cost far more, it also comes with other shipping challenges.  As the premier shipping company for your packing and crating needs, we would like to share the following tips for shipping heavy equipment or machinery.

Pick your Destination

It should come as no surprise that distance is going to play a significant role in both your shipping cost and method.  Here is a detailed look at some variables that you will be faced with if shipping heavy equipment.

  • Short Distances

If you are shipping machinery across the city or other relatively short distances, chances are all you will need is a flat-bed truck.  You will need to know the flat cost of the hauler and whether they can handle the intended weight and dimensions of your freight.

  • Oversized Loads

In some cases you may need to ship oversized equipment from point A to point B.  In addition to a flat-bed truck you will need proper travel permits and check any road restrictions for oversized loads.

  • Long Distances

If you are shipping heavy equipment or machinery long distances or overseas, you may need to account for a variety of shipping methods.  Always check with the carriers to ensure that they can safely ship and accommodate the size and the weight of whatever you are shipping.  Other factors that you may need to account for when shipping long distances include:

  • Relevant paperwork, customs papers and other documents.
  • If your equipment or machinery needs to be secured to a flat or custom pallet.
  • Insurance to cover damage or loss.
  • If you need to hire a surveyor to assess the full value and to supervise the entire shipping process.

Be Prepared

If you know that you will be shipping heavy equipment in the future there are some key areas of preparation that you can do before the flat bed shows up at your shipping bay.  Some pre-shipment preparation includes:

  • Preparing necessary paperwork, obtaining permits and other documentation and confirming details with the shipping company.
  • Removing detachable parts and securing them.
  • Disconnecting batteries and draining fluids.
  • Thoroughly cleaning the equipment and doing a proper safety check to make sure that everything is in working order.

These important tips will allow you to be better prepared the next time you ship heavy equipment or machinery.  If you have other questions about shipping heavy or oversized items, please contact us today.  We would love to help you better understand the process around shipping this type of freight and can help with a wide variety of shipping, packing and crating needs.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

Shipping Boxes – What you Need to Know

No matter if you are shipping locally, nationally or internationally, you are going to need a container in which to ship your goods.  In most cases, the most logical and practical receptacle is a box.  However, not all boxes are created equally and what you ship will directly impact what type of box is right for you.  As the premier company for all of your packing and crating needs, we would like to share the following tips on what shipping boxes are right for you.

Size Matters

Choosing the right size box to ship your goods is an important consideration.  You will want to pick dimensions that are neither too big nor too small.  You do not want to cram your goods into a box nor do you want to use a lot of extra packing material to contain your goods during shipment.  Oversized boxes will get damaged more easily as there is a lot of empty space in them.  The size of box you choose will also directly correlate with your shipping costs, so choose wisely.

Know your Contents

The contents of your box will dictate what type of box you use.  The type of goods you are shipping, whether they are fragile, perishable, oversized or heavy all require different packaging.  Regardless of the type of product that you are shipping, always choose a high-quality box that is durable enough to withstand the bumps and bruises of its shipping journey.

Here’s the Deal:

You may want to think about shipping insurance, especially if your goods are rather expensive or fragile.

Pack and Stack

Properly pack each box and ensure that all empty space is taken up with packing material.  You do not want your goods shifting and moving around in their boxes.  Other details that you will want to account for, when packing and stacking your goods, include:

  • The weight of each box. Do not over pack items and make sure that the box is not too heavy and is manageable.
  • The total weight and dimensions of each box. This information is important once you are stacking the boxes on a pallet.

Proper Labels

If you are shipping hazardous or fragile materials, make sure to label all boxes and contents.  The last thing you need is damaged or unusable freight arriving at its destination.  Other labels that you should attach include:

  • A return address.
  • Any labels that are required to meet applicable laws and industry standards.
  • All of the proper paperwork, tariff bills or other important documents that your freight may require.

Choosing the right box for your goods will save money and reduce shipping costs.  If you have any other questions about how to choose the right shipping box or are interested in how we can help with all of your packing and crating needs, please contact us today.  We would love to help you with the shipping process.  We look forward to working with you soon.

Limiting Product Loss

In order to maximize profit for any business, it is important to protect your goods at every stage of the shipping process -from your warehouse all the way to their destination.  As your premier packing and crating company in the Lower Mainland, we would like to offer you the following ways to limit your product loss.

In the Warehouse

Limiting product loss starts way before your goods have been loaded onto a truck and are heading out on the road.  In fact, there are steps that you can take to manage any product loss in your warehouse.

  • Assess and communicate with personnel so that they understand their job, roles and responsibilities regarding protecting and preparing goods for shipping.
  • Double check the process. Make sure that your product is labelled, properly stacked and stored.  Take the time to review this process with your personnel and let them know what is expected of them.

Packaging and Packing

There can be many mistakes made at this stage that can lead to an increase in product loss, so take extra precautions to ensure that packing and packaging is done properly.

  • Check your freight’s dimensions. By knowing exact sizes, you can choose the proper way of packing and protecting your goods.
  • Understand the nature of your goods. If your goods are fragile, perishable or dangerous, ensure that the proper steps to protect your goods have been taken.  This includes properly labelling all pallets and boxes.
  • Pack pallets with care. Use shrink-wrap as well as cardboard corners to protect your freight and to prevent it from tipping or shifting during the shipping process.
  • Use the right shipping materials. Choose sturdy corrugated cardboard boxes and pack all materials according to their dimensions and durability levels.

During Shipment

  • Have your freight ready for pick-up at the scheduled time.
  • Ensure that labels are properly filled out and can be easily read. If your goods are fragile, take extra precautions and make sure that no other freight is stacked on top.
  • Have paperwork finished and ready to go. This will prevent your goods from being held up at customs or in a warehouse when enroute.
  • Opt for shipping insurance and tracking. This will allow you to know exactly where your goods are during any portion of the shipping process.  It will also ensure that your goods arrive at their destination in the same condition they left.

Post Shipment

  • Manage all customer concerns and have a customer service plan already established and in place. Be responsive, responsible, prompt and professional.  Customer service is a huge part of any business.
  • Have a reasonable refund or replacement plan, but take the time to ensure that the lost or damaged item truly is lost or damaged.

These simple tips should help you limit product loss from warehouse to your good’s destination and beyond. If you are interested in the shipping services that we offer or would like to see how we can help make your shipping methods more efficient and save you money, please contact us today.  We look forward to working with you soon.