Author Archives: Cratex

Tips on How to Avoid Extra Charges on Freight Shipping

Regardless of the size of your business, reducing shipping costs should always be a goal as it will increase your profit margin and is essential for the success of any business.  As the premier company for your packing and crating needs, we would like to share the following ways on how you can avoid extra charges on your freight shipping.

Get it in Writing

Get all your shipping quotes in writing.  This way there will be no discrepancy or disagreement on what the total cost of your freight will be.  When you are getting a quote, make sure that everything you will need for your freight is included in that invoice.

Fees that need to be included in the quote are:

  • Taxes and fuel surcharges. These types of costs can quickly add between 20%-40% onto your invoice.  Make sure they are included.
  • Get the proper insurance. You may need special insurance or more insurance than is normally provided.  Include this cost in your quote.
  • Make sure that the rate and quote are in your currency, not a foreign one. You do not want any surprises, so make sure that the dollar amount is in the currency in which you are paying.
  • Include any special services such as refrigeration or dangerous goods up front, so that you will know the total cost.

Correct Measures and Weight

Your responsibility when it comes to shipping is to correctly know the width and height measurements, as well as the weight of your freight.  If you do not know these statistics, be prepared to pay more when the carrier shows up to move your freight.

You will also need to correctly package your load.  Ensure that your freight is secured and protected.  This will prevent any freight damage and the time-consuming claims process.

Know Your Limitations

It is also important to know any limitations that you may face when shipping your freight.  These include:

  • Docking limitations. Can a large truck back into your loading dock?
  • The size of your facility. Can a 50-foot truck turn around in your facility’s space?
  • Are you a commercial or residential location?

These simple steps should help you to save money on your freight shipping costs.  If you would like other ways to reduce these costs or are looking for an experienced and capable company to handle your shipping needs, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your shipping process.  We look forward to working with you soon.

Be sure to discuss all limitations and what type of location you are with your shipping carrier.  This will prevent any cost overruns or the inability to even load your freight in the first place.

 

 

5 Green Freight Trends for 2019

Every year the quest for a greener approach to methods of transportation grows.  2019 will be no exception to this ever-growing trend.  As the premier company for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to share with you 5 green freight trends that are sure to influence how you ship your cargo this year.

2019’s Greener Approach Will Be Driven From The Largest Firms

Much of the demand for a greener approach to shipping transportation will be driven from the largest companies.  Companies like Whole Foods and even Walmart are going to demand greener and more ethical shipping routes and greener transportation partners.  Look for more large companies to use this type of green model for their shipping and transportation needs in 2019.

Localization and Shorter Supply Chains

Long distance shipping is quickly being replaced by shorter, more localized sources.  By sourcing locally, both air pollution and greenhouse gasses can be reduced.  This shift will also further strengthen diverse local and regional economies making this a more competitive shipping model.  This is now the preferred model of many large companies such as Whole Foods as it is supported by an ever-growing consumer base. Look for this trend to continue in 2019 as more large companies make this shift.

Rail Over Road

Rail is quickly taking over as the most preferred way of long haul shipping for a number of reasons such as:

  • Generally rail is a more cost effective way of long haul shipping (up to 60%).
  • Rail offers up to 66% reduction in emissions.

Although rail tends to be longer than truck delivery and can slow delivery time, the cost savings coupled with a reduction in overall emissions should only accelerate this trend in 2019.

Zero-Emission Ocean Shipping

Several large shipping companies are already providing lower emission cargo options.  These reductions are achieved through a combination of slower steaming and more efficient operational measures.  Firms such as Nissan are already using a combination of solar and diesel to ship their cars across the Pacific.  Look for other large companies and even freight companies to continue to reduce their carbon footprint and strive for zero-emission shipping in 2019.

A Changing Industry

The entire shipping industry is changing.  Each year it becomes more and more environmentally responsible and continues to reduce its overall carbon footprint.  This year look for even more radical changes such as:

  • Electric and hydrogen hybrid trucks to replace gasoline or diesel for local and long-haul freight shipping.
  • Solar and hybrid diesel/electric airships to replace conventional air freight.
  • Changes in port cities to clean up air and water pollution such as stricter laws and fines.

2019 promises to be the greenest year yet.  This is great news for the shipping industry and for your company.  Make sure to be an innovator and leader in this approach as this new green trend is not going anywhere.  If you would like more information about how you can become an environmental leader in your shipping or would like to know more about the direction the shipping world is heading, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your shipping network.

 

 

 

 

Tips to Lower your Freight Costs

If you are looking at trying to save some money on your bottom line this year, one place to focus could be your shipping costs.  Chances are, the costs associated with your freight are a significant portion of your company’s overall expenses.  By understanding what type of shipping method is best for your company, understanding how your cargo moves through the supply chain before it arrives at its destination and improving this overall process will save your establishment money.

As the premier company for all your shipping and crating needs, we would like to offer you the following ways on how you can reduce your shipping costs.

Is it Urgent?

Regardless of whether you are shipping locally, nationally or internationally, it is important to be aware of your specific market and when or if there are any peak times.  If you can ship at non-peak times, you may be able to save money on your freight bill.  Some peak times you may want to avoid or prepare for include:

  • Chinese New Year – all ocean carriers are at full capacity during this time.
  • The holiday season (Christmas) – many local shipping companies are at capacity.

Maximize your Loads

The higher the volume (the more freight you ship) the less you will pay per item.  If you are using ocean shipping, you will pay the same for a full or half full container, so it is important to maximize your load whenever possible.

Here’s the Deal:

Decide what size container will best suit your shipping needs and always make sure that you fill it to capacity.

Choose the Right Method

Choosing the right shipping method or a combination of shipping methods can not only save you money, it may reduce your overall transportation time.  Make sure to look at all the possibilities or combinations before making a final decision.

Find the Right Partner

To find the best method of transportation, it is so important to have the right logistic partner.  The right partner will not only save you money, they will also work with you to better understand all the components that are part of the complicated shipping world.  Questions that you may want to ask your logistics partner include:

  • Do they have multiple ocean carrier contracts?
  • Do they have access to a combination of shipping and transloading methods?
  • Can they provide alternate options in case of strike or other unforeseen emergencies?

At Cratex, we understand how important reliable and cost-efficient shipping is to your company and bottom line.  Our friendly and knowledgeable staff have been a major part of Vancouver’s shipping industry for over 40 years.  We can meet all your packing, crating and transloading needs and would love to be your shipping partner.  Please stop by or call us today, so we can get started.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

Boxes vs. Bags – 3 Things to Consider when Packaging Goods

Your packaging choice is an often overlooked but extremely important part of your business.  As the premier company for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to share the following 3 things to consider when packaging goods.

Transportation

The most important factor that will determine your packaging choice should be transportation.  If you are shipping goods a long distance it is important to fit a large amount of product on each pallet.  Your packaging choice should be as light and compact as possible to keep weight and bulk to a minimum.

Boxes are lightweight and can be easily stacked.  Boxes can also be easily manufactured to fit the dimensions of your product.  However, you may need to provide extra protection on both inside and outside the box to prevent any damage that may occur during the shipping process.

Bags are easily compressed and take up far less space than a box.  Vacuum packing or adding air can provide the necessary protection needed during shipping.  You will need an extra layer of outside protection or some type of tertiary container to place the bags.

Sustainability

Sustainability is quickly becoming one of the determining factors for consumers when it comes to buying products.  Many consumers want reusable or recyclable packing materials which means that your packing decisions should be sustainable.

Boxes are easy to break down and are recyclable and reusable.  Bags on the other hand can be great to seal in freshness and protect from the elements but may not be very environmentally friendly.  There are some biodegradable options available if bags are your only shipping option.    

Prestige

There is a reason why they are called “unboxing” videos and not “unbagging” videos.  There is definitely something more special about opening up a box and removing an item from a well packed inner layer.  It indicates that more care and thought has gone into the product and its presentation.  Whereas opening an air-filled bag and removing a product just feels a little less special.

The type of product you are shipping and the type of product you are selling will determine your packaging choice.  If your main clientele is looking for a higher end product and environmentally conscious, a cardboard box with sustainable packaging should be your packaging choice even if your shipping costs are a little higher.

If the product you are shipping needs to be fresh or must be protected from the elements, then a plastic protective layer or bag may be essential to the quality of the item.  If you are still unsure about what the best option for your packed goods is, please contact us today.  We would love to help you with your shipping needs, questions and concerns.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Preparing your Freight for Ocean Shipping

When it comes to moving freight great distances or internationally, you basically have 2 choices – ocean or air.  Although both have their advantages and disadvantages, ocean freight is definitely the most cost effective of the two.  As the premier company for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to offer you the following tips on how to prepare your freight for ocean shipping.

Pack it Securely

Although ocean freight is the most viable and most often used method of shipping internationally, as an exporter, you need to be fully aware of the demands that your goods will be subjected to.  The main problem that you need to be prepared for is freight damage and breakage.

Ocean freight is most often transported in containers.  These containers may be subjected to all types of movement as they are loaded and unloaded.  Containers may be jostled, dropped or shift unexpectedly.  Prior to loading your freight into shipping containers, be sure that all your goods are securely packed, properly stacked and on a pallet.  This should minimize any problems and your freight should show up in the same condition that it left your warehouse.

Choose the Right Materials

To ensure that your freight is not damaged, it is important that you use the right packing materials.  When it comes to packing your freight, use secure, heavy boxes and ensure that all your goods are securely packed and protected with extra material to take up any excess volume in each box.  Be sure that the weight is evenly distributed on each pallet and secure the pallet with cardboard bracing, strap and shrink wrap.

Prepare for Moisture

Another key concern when it comes to ocean shipping is moisture.  Moisture can damage freight, especially electronics, so make sure to keep your freight dry and your shipping containers moisture free.  When packing your freight in containers ensure that they do not block the built in ventilation.  This will allow warm air to escape and limit condensation and moisture in the container.

You may also want to pack your freight in desiccants. Desiccants are substances that create or help maintain a state of dryness.   Common packing desiccants include:

  • Activated charcoal.
  • Calcium sulfate and calcium chloride.
  • Silica.

With properly packed freight, you should be able to limit any damage that may occur due to moisture.

By following these tips, your freight should be ready for its overseas journey.  If you would like more information on how to prepare your goods for ocean freight or are interested in how our services can help you with all of your shipping needs, please contact us today.  We look forward to being part of your shipping team.

Preparing Your Pallets for Shipping

Properly prepared cargo is an important first step for any successful shipment.  Stable, well packed pallets can save you money in insurance claims due to broken or damaged freight.  It also saves time as well because packed freight is easier to move and stack.  As the premier company for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to share these tips on how to prepare your pallets for shipping.

Responsibilities  

It is important to remember that you are responsible for packing your own freight.  Moving companies are only required to move your freight from point A to point B.  If your pallets fall apart mid move, freight may be lost or damaged or it could just sit in a warehouse marked as undeliverable.  Take the time to pack your freight carefully, to avoid these types of scenarios.

Packing Boxes

A properly packed pallet starts with carefully packed boxes.  This includes:

  • Quality boxes, superior packing tape and other materials.
  • Fully packed boxes, leaving no space so products cannot be damaged or crushed during shipment. Use packing material to fill the empty areas.
  • Tape around the tops and bottoms of boxes to reinforce them and prevent them from being damaged.

Stacking Boxes

Once you have properly packed all your boxes, it is time to stack them on the pallet.  When stacking, make sure to:

  • Stack heavy boxes on the bottom of the pallet to stabilize the load and to prevent any boxes from being crushed.
  • Distribute the overall weight of the pallet evenly. It is important that there is equal weight on all sides preventing tipping or leaning.
  • Align boxes evenly to build a symmetrical pallet and to prevent any overhang that may cause damage during shipment.

Reinforce the Pallet Load

As you build the pallet, it is important to reinforce it to make it stronger and solidify the entire load.  To achieve this, you can use:

  • Flattened cardboard every couple of levels or rows to stabilize any loose boxes. This will also protect the boxes from damage.
  • Use cardboard beads or reinforced cardboard around the corners to strengthen the overall pallet load and to prevent any corner damage.

Secure the Pallet Load

Once you are satisfied with your overall pallet load and it is stable, reinforced and properly aligned, it is time to secure the load and prepare it for shipping.  It is always a good idea to wrap the pallet load with shrink wrap.  To properly shrink wrap your cargo, make sure to:

  • Wrap your freight 3-5 times for added strength.
  • Use quality shrink wrap and twist to add more strength.
  • Wrap the top part of the pallet, but make sure to leave space so that your pallet is accessible for a forklift.

These steps should ensure that your pallets are ready to ship and will arrive on time without any damaged freight.  If you would like more information on preparing your pallet for shipping or how our services can save you money on your shipping costs, please contact us today.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

5 Ways to Lower Your Freight Costs

Chances are that shipping costs are a significant portion of your company’s expenses.  As the premier packing and crating company in the Lower Mainland, we would like to offer you the following 5 ways to lower your freight costs and save your business money.

Maximize your Loads

The more you ship, the less you will pay for each load.  Before sending your next container, make sure that it is filled and you have made the most out of the container’s space.

Choose the Right Transportation Method

Maximizing your shipping load is only part of the solution.  It is important that you choose the right transportation method as well.  Sometimes the cheapest mode may not be the most cost efficient.  Some factors to consider when determining the right method for you include:

  • The type of product you are shipping – Is it fragile? Does it have an expiration date? Is it seasonal?
  • Your product’s destination –national, local or international.
  • Will you need multiple transportation methods and transloading – air/boat/rail/truck or a combination of the three?

Consolidate your Cargo

Consolidating your cargo or making it part of a larger shipment with other companies who are shipping to a similar area may be a great way to cut shipping costs.  Even if it means that your freight is travelling in a less direct route, it may make sense from a cost benefit perspective.

Remember:

Part of the total shipping cost can also include storage fees or time in a warehouse.  It is always better to get your product to its destination sooner rather than later.

Time it Right

Try to ship your cargo to its destination at non-peak shipping times such as major holidays.  You will typically pay more for shipping costs around busier times such as Christmas or Chinese New Year.  Many carriers are at full capacity at these times and your shipments may be delayed or charged premium fees.  Plan accordingly.

Reliable Partners

Find a reliable shipping partner that you trust and has your best interests in mind.  A responsible and competent partner should be able to help you consolidate your cargo and find you the most efficient and effective transportation method for all your specific shipping needs.  The right collaborator should also be flexible and have multiple contacts regardless of what type of transportation you are using.

At Cratex Group, we understand the unique world of shipping and work on a personal level with all our clients to not only reduce shipping costs, but to provide the tools and equipment necessary to ensure their freight arrives on time and in the same condition it left the warehouses or factories.  We look forward to working with you soon.

Plastic vs. Wooden Pallets: Which One is Right for You?

Pallets move the world.  They are an integral part of the modern shipping arena and are essential for both storage and transportation.  As the premier shippers for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to offer you the following review of plastic and wooden pallets and which one is right for you.

Plastic Pallets

Plastic pallets are not as prevalent as wooden pallets and are designed for certain shipping and storage needs.  Typically, plastic pallets are used for transporting food items as well as pharmaceutical goods or any other type of shipment that has strict hygienic standards.  Plastic pallets are perfect for this type of shipping because they are not porous and are easy to clean, wash and sterilize.

The main benefit of plastic pallets is that they have a significantly longer lifespan than a wooden pallet and can be reused many times without breakage.  They are sleek, light weight and splinter free, making them perfect for manual handling and stacking.  They are also durable, making them ideal for pallet wrapping.

Other advantages include:

  • A very long shelf life – can be used over 250 times with a life expectancy of over 10 years.
  • Easy to clean and will remain fungus free for its entire life.

The major drawback of a plastic pallet is that it is not biodegradable and must be melted down if it breaks.  Plastic pallets also cost 3 times what a wooden pallet does, so depending on what you ship or where you ship they may not be economical.

Some disadvantages of a plastic pallet include:

  • They are not suitable for loads over 1,500 lbs.
  • Their sleek surface makes them slippery and less stable to stack.
  • May not be economical.

Wooden Pallets

Most items are shipped on wooden pallets.  They comprise between 90-95% of all pallets used in the industry because they can be easily reused and repaired.  Wooden pallets hold more weight than plastic pallets (1,500 lbs. – 3,000 lbs.) and are fully biodegradable once they have reached the end of their lifespan.

Some of the advantages that wooden pallets enjoy include:

  • Lower costs.
  • Hold more weight.
  • Easier to stack on

Wooden pallets are more flammable and do not have the same fire rating as plastic pallets.  Make sure to check the building fire codes when deciding what type of pallet to use.

Some of the drawbacks of wooden pallets include:

  • Not ideal for fragile items such as paint.
  • Average lifespan of a wooden pallet is 5-6 trips.
  • Heavier and more cumbersome.
  • Not hygienic and can be difficult to clean. Needs to be sprayed to keep away mold and funguses.

Your decision on what pallet is right for you needs to be based on a combination of factors.  These include the product you are shipping as well as the industry that you are working in.  You should also look at your shipping budget, any shipping regulations and finally the long-term economics.

If you have any more questions about what type of pallet is right for you or how we can help with your shipping needs, please contact us today.

 

 

 

 

Shipping Heavy Haul

Heavy haul is a term that is given to oversized or wide load freight.  Heavy haul may require special permits as the load exceeds the legal limits for weight, height or width and can be more complex than regular freight.  Your heavy haul freight may require transloading partners as well as different permits and routes.  We understand the heavy haul process and would like to offer you the following tips on how to ship your heavy haul freight.

Know Your Dimensions

Before starting the heavy haul process, make sure to know the dimensions of the freight you are looking to ship.  Believe it or not, a few inches can make the difference of the cost, route or even the permits required to ship your load.

Here’s the deal:

If the proposed dimensions or weight are different than the actual dimensions and weight, your freight may be held up, as permits will have to be changed or re-applied for, all at your cost.

Plan Ahead

It is also advisable that you set out a timeline and be somewhat flexible with this timeframe.  Allow for time to secure the necessary permits and make the arrangements, especially if multiple carriers or transloading is involved.  It is also important to allow time or prepare for the unexpected.

Remember:

Construction or weather can drastically change shipment times and dates and need to be accounted for. Be patient and allow extra time for the minor inconveniences.

Seek out Professionals

Once you know the dimensions of the freight and a timeline, the next step is to find a shipping company that is reliable and can take care of all the other details such as:

  • Do you need any special machinery to load or unload? Make sure that your shipping company has cranes or forklifts and can unload and offload your freight.
  • Are there other special requirements? Requirements such as: braces, tie downs, flagging pallets or crates.
  • Can your shipping company take care of the necessary paperwork? Make sure that your carrier can handle the necessary permits and that they are included in your shipping costs.

The more factors that you and your shipping company can account for, the smoother the shipping process can be.  Preplanning can save you not only time but also money which will lead to a better bottom line for you and full customer satisfaction for your customers.

At Cratex, we understand the complexities that come with heavy haul shipping.  We provide state of the art specialized equipment that will get your freight on and off the trucks and safely to its final destination.  We will work with you to ensure that your freight is delivered effectively and efficiently as possible, regardless of its limitations.  When you are looking for a shipping partner for your heavy haul needs, remember Cratex.  We look forward to working with you soon.

How to Properly Pack your Freight for Shipping

It is important to keep in mind that a carrier’s job is to move your freight from A to B, not to prepare it for shipment.  It is up to you to ensure that your freight is properly prepared and packed if you want your goods to arrive at their destination undamaged. Here are some tips on how to pack your freight regardless of whether your goods are being shipped across town or via multiple transloading methods.

The Right Packaging Materials

Using quality proper packing materials is essential if you want your freight to arrive undamaged.  Make sure to use:

  • Quality Boxes.
  • Quality Pallets.
  • Quality Shrink Wrap.
  • Quality Tape.

Packing Boxes

The first line of defense is the box that you are using to pack your goods. Use many small boxes rather than a few large boxes.  When you are packing your goods, make sure that all your boxes are full and there is no empty space.  Space will allow your boxes to collapse and your items may get crushed or damaged.

If there is extra room use packing peanuts, bubble wrap or even newspaper to take up the extra volume.  Make sure to use enough quality tape to seal each box so that the box will not tear open when being shipped.

Properly Stack Your Freight

Once you have packed all your freight into the desired boxes, it is time to pack them on the pallet.

Here’s the Deal:

Always use a pallet to stack your freight.  A pallet provides a stable and sturdy base that will keep your freight off the floor, away from water.  A pallet is also easy to move if you are transloading your freight.

When stacking your boxes, ensure that your boxes are stacked evenly and that the weight of each pallet is evenly distributed.  Stack all the heavier items at the bottom and lighter boxes on top to prevent any of your boxes from being crushed.  Make sure that no boxes overhang or jut out from the pallet as these boxes will be damaged or may dislodge making your pallet unstable.

The Final Touches

A well stacked pallet should not be the end of your freight packaging.  A few final touches will really set your freight apart and ensure a safe and undamaged arrival at its final destination.

  • Applying a layer of flat cardboard every few boxes can help solidify and strengthen your freight pallet and ensure that the boxes that you are stacking remain even and aligned.
  • Cardboard corner beads are a great way to add an extra layer of strength to your freight.
  • Shrink wrap your pallet. Make sure to add at least 3-5 wraps of quality shrink wrap. Twist the wrap to add strength and do not wrap the bottom of the pallet as it will interfere with the forklift tilt.

These tips will ensure that your freight is ready to be shipped and you can rest assured that your goods will arrive undamaged.  If you would like more information on how to properly pack your freight or the shipping options that we can provide, please contact us today.