Category Archives: Blog

Understanding the Seasonality of Freight

The shipping world, believe it or not, is dictated by a wide range of factors that greatly affect times, costs and other factors.  These factors are seasonal and may drastically affect your business’ costs and time frames.  As your premier industrial shipping company specializing in packing and crating, here is an overview of the seasonal shipping calendar and how you can adjust to it to save your company money and time.

Like any type of business, the shipping seasons are dictated by the simple rules of supply and demand and are often broken down into 4 distinct seasons or quadrants.

The Quiet Season

The quiet season for shipping falls between January and March.  Typically, this season sees lower freight volume as the holiday season is rolling into the new year.  Although shipments by road may be difficult because of unpredictable winter weather, freight usually gets to its destination on time.

The Produce Season

The produce season sees freight volume begin to pick up and is traditionally seen as the months of April to July.  As the market gets more competitive and trucks become harder to find, the capacity and rates can change drastically from the rates of the quiet shipping season.  The higher paying loads such as peaches and other produce shipments tend to increase both the cost and capacity of the shipping world.

The Peak Season

The peak shipping season falls between August until October.  This season sees the “back to school” season as well as the beginning stages of the ultra-competitive and busy upcoming holiday season.  Sales are typically up and companies are moving stock in and out of their facilities to ensure proper supply for the holidays.

The Holiday Season

The holidays are here:

  • Thanksgiving weekend.
  • The Christmas season.
  • New Year’s.

Shippers are rushing to get their inventory out to their clients before the end of the holiday season.  This season obviously sees the highest rates for freight and the lowest availability for carriers.  Be sure to thoroughly plan for this season and even start to get your shipments out as early as possible to beat the holiday rush.

These four distinct seasons will greatly affect the cost and time frame of each or your shipments.  In order to ensure that your freight arrives at its destination on time and undamaged, it is very important to work closely with your shipping company.

As your premier industrial shipping company, we understand the pressures and the distinct seasons of the shipping world.  Our professional and knowledgeable staff will work diligently and endlessly to ensure that your freight is delivered on time and in the same shape that it left your warehouse.  Contact us today and see how we can be a part of your shipping line.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions for your Shipping Needs

Welcome 2020.  A brand-new year, new opportunities and time to make some New Year’s resolutions.  As your premier industrial shipping company specializing in packing and crating, we would like to share the following New Year’s resolutions to help you with all your shipping needs.

Watch your Weight

If you have been looking at last year’s shipping budget and trying to see places where your business can be more efficient while at the same time reduce costs, then this is the New Year’s resolution for you.  Every year the cost of shipping increases due to a wide range of factors. If you are not accurately weighing your freight, then chances are you are overpaying.

Here’s the Deal:

This year, be more proactive when it comes to measuring the dimensions and weight of your freight.  You may just be pleasantly surprised by how much money this saves your business.

Stick with your Carrier

Regardless of what type of business you are in, having a reliable carrier that you can trust is imperative.  A trusted carrier will ensure that your freight:

  • is handled properly on all its shipping stages.
  • arrives on time and undamaged at its destination.
  • can accommodate even the toughest shipping, crating or packing needs in a timely and professional manner.

Know Your Needs

Everyone’s freight is different and thus everyone’s shipping requirements are different.  Take the time to review the needs of your freight and if all these needs are being met.  Don’t be afraid to review these requirements with your shipping company and see if there are any alterations or ways to make both the shipping and the process more cost and time efficient.  When reviewing your needs, be sure to ask the following important questions:

  • Where are your consumers located geographically? Your shipping methods will vary greatly depending upon the answer to this question.
  • Do your shipments require tracking? Solid communication and real time tracking can give your customers extra reassurance as well as updates as to where their freight is.

When it comes to your businesses shipping needs, you should never be complacent.  Always try to monitor the aspects of each shipment and continue to be in constant communication with your carrier to ensure customer satisfaction.

These simple New Year’s resolutions will have your shipping department running more efficient in 2020 and may even save you a few dollars.  If you would like more information on any of these resolutions or ideas on how to better ship your freight, please contact us today.  Our professional and friendly staff would love to be a part of your shipping network and look forward to working with you soon.

Happy New Year’s from the Cratex Group.

 

Cut Your Shipping Costs: Save the Pallet

If your business relies on using pallets to ship your goods, then you will want to pay attention to this blog.  Pallets are an excellent way of shipping large amounts of goods safely, securely and efficiently.  Pallets can be stacked, easily moved and best of all – reused.  If you are not reusing your pallets you are overpaying for your shipping needs and costing your business unnecessary expenses.

As your industrial shipping leaders specializing in packing and crating, here is an outline of why you want to save your pallets and how this practice will greatly reduce your business’ shipping costs.

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand dictate the price of pallets as well as the overall availability of this resource.  When shipping needs are greater, such as right now around the busy holiday season, then the cost of pallets rises sharply – up to 40% in some cases.  If you have not been saving or reusing your pallets, shipping goods at peak times is going to add a significant cost to your business shipping expenses.

Here’s the Deal:

Be in control of your businesses shipping costs by storing and then reusing all your pallets throughout the year.

Versatility and Sustainability

Because of the increasing cost of wooden pallets, many businesses are turning to alternate sources for their pallets.  The most popular alternative is plastic.  Plastic pallets do offer some advantages over traditional wooden pallets that include:

  • Depending upon what type of freight you are shipping (food) you may need clean sanitary pallets. In this case, plastic is a great choice.
  • Plastic pallets will not break or splinter – unlike wood.
  • Sustainability and longevity. Plastic pallets enjoy a longer lifespan.

Other Options

Some options to explore if you have not been stockpiling pallets is to look at both the used and new pallet market.

If space allows, you may want to carve out a place in your business to begin stockpiling pallets and reusing them or even repairing your own pallets, so that you have them on hand for busy times.

Alternate shipping choices such as wooden crates to ship your goods –check with your shipping company to see what the most efficient method is.

If you are looking for ways to reduce your shipping overhead and save your business money, reusing your pallets may be an easy but overlooked way to achieve both goals.  If you are interested in other ways you can save your business money and still ship your goods effectively and efficiently, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your business shipping network and look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Shipping over the Holidays – Be prepared for Peak Season

Peak shipping season has arrived.  Typically, the months of November and December are the two busiest months for shipping companies, regardless of whether you are shipping nationally or internationally.  As your premier industrial shipping company specializing in packing and crating, we would like to offer you the following ways to beat the peak shipping season and ensure that your freight arrives on time.

Invest in …Time 

Before hitting the panic button and scrambling to get your freight out the door, take a minute to ensure that all of your freight is properly packed and packaged, labelled and secured.  A spilled pallet or an improperly filled out waybill can hold up your freight in any number of ways regardless of what shipping season it is.

Here’s the deal:

The adage – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – holds true when trying to ship over the busy holiday season.  Be thorough, be proactive.

 Know your Product

 Knowing what you ship, where it is being shipped and shipping details are essential if you want to get your freight to its destination over the holiday season.  What you are shipping:

  • Food, dangerous goods, fragile electronics – each of these categories will need to be shipped under different circumstances – know your product.
  • National, international, down the street – know the timeline and requirements for the type of freight and the carriers shipping it.
  • Know the tariffs and be sure that you have taken precautionary measures to ensure that the proper paperwork has been filed and filled out. This is especially true if you are crossing borders.

 Choose Wisely 

Choose your shipping carriers wisely.  The company that you ultimately decide upon should understand your shipping needs and even be able to offer advice on how to save you money and time on your shipments.  They should also understand the shipping business and have the proper machinery to load and offload all types of freight.  This combination and experience are necessary to ensure that your freight arrives undamaged and on time, regardless of what shipping season you are dealing with.  Choose wisely.

By being prepared for the holiday shipping season, you should have no problems getting your freight to its desired location on time and undamaged.  If you are interested in other ways of preparing your company for the busy holiday shipping season or would like to see how our shipping services can benefit you, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your shipping team and look forward to working with you soon.

Happy Holidays from Cratex.

 

 

 

 

3 Reasons to use Shrink-Wrap for Shipping

Regardless of what you are shipping or where you are shipping it to, as a business owner, your main concern is that it arrives on time and undamaged.  Unforeseen losses can lead to unhappy customers as well as extra paperwork and insurance claims.

One of the best ways to provide an extra layer of protection against damage is by shrink-wrapping your freight.  As your premier packing and crating company for all your industrial shipping needs, here are some reasons to use shrink-wrap to protect your freight.

Custom Protection

Perhaps the most important reason to use shrink-wrap when you are shipping freight is that it not only provides protection, it provides custom protection.  That means that regardless of the shape or size of your freight, you are guaranteed to protect every square inch of that item because of the malleability of shrink-wrap.

Not only does shrink-wrap protect goods from the regular wear and tear of bumps and bruises, it also will protect your freight from shipping hazards such as:

  • Corrosion from ocean spray if you are shipping materials overseas.
  • Protection from condensation and humidity.
  • Road grime and other environmental hazards.

Extra Support

One of the added bonuses of using shrink-wrap to protect your freight is that it provides an extra layer of support for each pallet.  This extra support will ensure that your freight doesn’t tip or shift when it is being loaded or offloaded – saving you both time and unnecessary freight damage.

Here’s the deal:

A stable and well-balanced pallet is key to guaranteeing that your freight arrives on time to its destination because over its shipping journey, it will be loaded and unloaded multiple times.

Extra Piece of Mind

Full customer satisfaction is the end goal of any business and by using shrink-wrap to protect your freight, you can be assured that your goods will arrive in the same condition that they left your warehouse.  This extra piece of mind will allow you to put more energy and time into growing your business, securing more customers and less time filling in insurance claims or problem-solving freight issues.

By adding the extra layer of shrink-wrap to your freight, you are not only protecting your material from environmental damage, you are also adding an extra layer of support to each pallet you ship.  The ability to customize your freight’s protection can be a huge game-changer and add a piece of mind to even the most difficult or oversized shipments.

If you would like to see how shrink-wrapping can protect your shipments or are interested in some of our shipping products and services, please contact us today.  We would love to be a part of your network and look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

Understanding a Bill of Lading

Regardless of what or where you are shipping, the most important document that you will be required to fill out is a bill of lading.  As your premier industrial shipping company specializing in packing and crating, we would like to help you understand what a bill of lading is and explain the importance and relevance of each section.

What is a Bill of Lading?

In general, a bill of lading is a shipping receipt that provides a detailed list of the freight in that shipment.

Bill of Lading Terminology

 Shipper

The information contained in this portion of the bill of lading provides the details of the shipper, who is shipping the cargo, including their name and address.

 Consignee

This portion of the bill of lading contains the consignee’s name and address.  The name attached to the consignee is the only person or business legally allowed to receive the cargo.

 Bill of Lading Number/Reference Numbers

This unique number must be provided by the client for any information about the shipment or the shipping line.  This information includes:

  • Sailing information.
  • Arrival times and other pertinent information.
  • Claims attached to the cargo.

The reference number space provides a number that will allow the client or other freight carriers to trace their shipment.

Port of Loading

The place where the cargo or freight is loaded by the carrier onto the ocean vessel for shipment.

Ocean Vessel

The name of the vessel and the voyage number that will be carrying the freight or cargo from the mainland port (port of loading) to the port of discharge.

 Port of Discharge

This is the port where the freight or cargo is discharged by the carrier from the ocean vessel.

 Place of Delivery

The destination of the freight or cargo.

 Marks and Numbers

This space identifies the number and kinds of packages as well as what each container or crate contains.

  • ‘Number and kinds of packages’ states how many packages are loaded into the container (Ex. 23 pallets and 16 crates).
  • ‘Description of goods’ describes exactly what cargo is being loaded in the crate or container (Ex. 22 packages said to contain 2200 tubes of toothpaste).

 Weight and Measurement

This space states the following:

  • Gross weight – the weight of the cargo packed in the container. Typically, this weight is the combination of the weight of the freight plus the weight of the packaging, but does not include the weight of the container.
  • Measurement – the calculation of the total volume of the freight shipment – length X width X height.

 Correctly filling out a bill of lading will ensure that your freight arrives at its destination on time and is properly passed from one carrier to another.  By understanding each part of the bill of lading, as a business owner, you will be able to gain a better understanding of how the shipping process works, allowing you to be more of an active agent and hopefully saving you time and money.

If you have any questions or would like more clarification on any part of a bill of lading, please contact us today.  We look forward to being a part of your industrial shipping network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Checklist for LTL Shipping

If your business relies on LTL for your shipping needs, then this is the blog for you.  LTL or (less than truckload) shipping is a great method for small businesses looking to get their product to various markets.  If you are using LTL shipping or are thinking about using this method, there are still more ways to optimize your shipping, saving your company money while at the same time getting your freight to its destination on time.

As your premier shipping company that specializes in packing and crating, here is a checklist that will optimize your LTL shipments.

  • Determine the LTL services that you will require.
  • Be sure to deliver on the deadline.
  • Take control and optimize the process.
  • Work with a company that you can rely on.

Determine the Services you Need

Certain types of freight require certain types of trailers.  In order to get the most out of your LTL shipping, it is critical that you know the specifications your freight requires.  Be proactive, know the dimensions of each shipment.  It will save your company money in the long run; help you find the right company for your business and save you time and unnecessary phone calls and inquiries.

Deliver on the Deadline

It is imperative that you get your freight where it needs to be, on time, every time.  The quickest way to lose business and customers is by being late.  Use shipping services that have warehouse space available in the centres that you are shipping to and can track your packages easily and efficiently.

Optimize the Process

The “last mile delivery” refers to the final leg of the transportation of your freight.  This part of the shipping process is where things tend to go wrong and costs can quickly add up.  Take control of this final step by choosing a shipping service with a wide range of options and by working with your customers so that they can choose a delivery time that works for their schedule.

Work with the Right Company

Working with a shipping company that is right for you is the key to any successful business.  You need a company that has expertise in all areas of shipping and one that you can rely on.  At Cratex, we have over 40 years of experience in the shipping industry.  Our experienced and professional staff uses the most up to date technology to ensure that your freight is tracked from the time it leaves your dock until the time it arrives at its destination.

We understand that every business is different and so are its shipping needs.  Stop by or contact us today and see why we are the right shipping company for you.  We look forward to being a part of your company 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.