Category Archives: Blog

Tips to Prepare for the Spring Shipping Season

For any business to run effectively and efficiently, a certain level of preparation and planning need be in place.  A portion of this planning should involve your shipping and supply lines.  As we move from the winter shipping season into the spring, are you, as a business, prepared and ready for this transition?  As the premier industrial shipper for all your packing and crating needs, here are some tips to help you prepare for the busy spring shipping season.

Supply Check

The first case of business is to ensure that all your shipping, packing and crating supplies are well stocked and ready for this busy time of year.  With increased demands for all types of shipping, supplies can quickly become difficult to find or even non-existent, delaying your shipping network and costing your business time and money.  The best way to keep your suppliers happy is to be sure that you are well stocked with pallets, shrink wrap, packing invoices and any other shipping supplies that you may need.

Focus on Relationships

Strong relationships are important for any type of business.  Instead of trying to save a buck or look for the best deal when shipping your product, it is in your business’ best interest to focus on building and maintaining a relationship with a single shipping company.  Find a company that understands your goals, and always has your best interests in mind.

By staying with a company that you have developed rapport with, you will have peace of mind that:

  • Your products always arrive on time at their destinations.
  • Your products are taken care of and will arrive undamaged.
  • You can inquire and know where your shipment is at all times – reliability.

Think Long-Term

As a business owner, you will want as much control over the entire shipping process as possible.  Working with a shipping partner that not only understands your needs but also has years of experience and full working knowledge of each part of the shipping process -from transloading, to trucks, to overseas.  When looking to grow your business the one question you should keep in mind is – how much is my shipment worth?

The overall value of your shipment is far larger than just its contents.  Be sure to not overlook long term customer satisfaction and the importance of undamaged and on time freight delivery service.

By being properly prepared for the busy spring shipping season, you should be able to ensure that all your freight arrives on time and undamaged.  If you have any other questions about how your business can prepare for the spring season or are interested in the industrial shipping services that we offer, please contact us today.  Our knowledgeable and professional staff understand the pressures of today’s shipping world and would love to be a part of your company’s shipping network today.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.  Crates can be manufactured to fit the dimensions of your product.  However, you may need to provide extra protection on both inside and outside the crate 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.  Custom-made wooden crates are essential for shipping industrial goods and freight.

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.