Category Archives: Blog

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.

3 Common Pallet Shipping Mistakes and How you can Avoid Them

Regardless of whether you are shipping freight nationally, internationally or just across town, chances are you are going to need to use pallets.  Both experienced and inexperienced shippers can make costly errors when using pallets.  As your premier shipping and crating company, we would like to discuss the three most common pallet shipping mistakes and provide tips on how your company can avoid them.

Choosing the Wrong Pallet

The right pallet can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your freight and preventing it from slipping or shifting during its journey.

  • Avoid pallets that are slick or plastic unless you specifically need such a pallet for your goods.
  • Prior to loading your freight, inspect each pallet to ensure that the ones you are using are sturdy and undamaged.
  • Choose a pallet that is the right size for your freight. The standard pallet size is 48” by 40” and can hold up to 4600 lbs.

Improper Preparation

Once you have the right pallet for your shipping needs, the next step is to properly pack and prepare your freight, so that it will arrive at its destination in the same shape that it left your warehouse.  Pay attention to these common mistakes when preparing your freight for pallet shipping.

  • Top heavy freight. Pack all your heavy freight on the bottom of your pallet.  This will not only stabilize your pallet, it will also prevent the heavier items from crushing and damaging lighter or more fragile goods.
  • Poor shrink wrapping. Shrink wrapping is one of the best ways to stabilize a pallet – if it is done properly.  To shrink wrap your pallet, wrap the entire pallet a full 5 times from top to bottom.  You will want to create one stable and secure unit.  If you are shipping fragile items, ensure that nothing is stacked on top of the pallet.
  • Not properly strapping your pallet. To get a secure and stable pallet, it is important to use straps as well as shrink wrap.  Make sure that the straps are tightened and go through the bottom space or opening of the pallet.

No Documentation

A stable and secure pallet load is not going anywhere without proper labeling and documentation.  These important papers will let the shipping company know the nature of the goods as well as where they are going and how they are going to get there.  Be sure that all proper documentation is securely attached to the outside of your pallet.

These helpful tips should help you avoid common and costly pallet shipping mistakes.  If would like more information on pallet shipping or would like to see how we can assist you with your shipping, packing and crating needs, please contact us today.  We look forward to working with you soon.

 

Shipping Heavy or Oversized Freight?  How Custom Skids Can Help.

Shipping heavy or oversized freight presents challenges that are far different than standard freight shipments.  Many of these logistical problems can be solved with the right shipping materials such as skids and proper shipping methods.  As the premier packing and crating company for all your shipping needs, we would like to share how a custom skid can help you with your heavy or oversized freight.

What is a Skid?

The skid was the main shipping foundation for all freight into the 1930’s.  They were used extensively in World War 2 because of their ability to be pulled by a truck through all types of terrain.  With the advent of the double faced pallet, the skid became primarily a shipping foundation for oversized and heavy freight.

Skids are not pallets and there are some important differences as well as advantages to both, depending upon what you are shipping.  The main difference between a pallet and skid is:

  • Pallets are constructed with a top and bottom deck whereas skids lack a bottom deck.
  • A pallet can provide more stability than a skid, especially for lighter freight.

The reason a skid lacks the bottom deck and rests on pedestals is twofold:

  • The skid’s unique design allows it to be highly mobile and easy to move from all sides.
  • This design also makes the skid stronger than a pallet and can accommodate a wide range of heavy or oversized freight.

How a Custom Skid Can Help  

Not every piece of oversized freight is going to be the same dimension, nor will they be transported or shipped the same.  This is where custom skids come into play.  A custom skid is designed to account for not only the unique size and shape of your freight, but it will also accommodate any specific type of lifting device or any other transportation hurdle that your freight may encounter.  In short, a custom skid allows your oversized or heavy freight the opportunity to become mobile.

Custom skids can also be used to provide a permanent and stable foundation.  This can be especially important if you need to move or relocate heavy machinery around a jobsite.  Custom skids are designed to be stable and reliable and take up little space when not in use because they are stackable and easily stored.

Depending upon your shipping needs, a customized skid may be right for you.  If you have further questions or are unsure if your freight requires a skid or a pallet, please contact us today.  We will be able to answer any questions, and help you with your packing, crating and shipping needs, regardless of the type of freight you are moving.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

Shipping Internationally – 3 Things you Need to Know

Has your business been expanding?  Are you now looking at larger trade markets and thinking about shipping your product overseas?  If this is the case, then there are some important factors that you need to know.  As the premier business for all your packing and crating needs, here are 3 things that you need to know about shipping internationally.

Know Your Markets

The most important aspect when it comes to shipping is understanding your target market.  An international market will require additional steps when it comes to shipping as well as additional preparation.  From a shipping standpoint, you should be able to answer the following questions.

  • Does the market I intend to ship to have a free-trade agreement with Canada?
  • Do I have local connections in my new market or another viable plan for distribution?
  • Are there any regulations and restrictions that I will face in this new market?

Some in-depth research can go a long way in providing answers to these types of questions.  The information that you gather may influence how you ship or if you even want to include this new market in your expansion plans.

Understand Customs and Tariffs

Be prepared because customs and tariffs are part of international shipping.  Not only will there be paperwork required to declare what you are shipping, you will also be charged additional fees by the customs department.  The amount that you will pay will be dependent upon the country and the type of product you are shipping.

Here’s the Deal:

You will also be charged taxes on your freight and shipment fees.  Talk to your shipping company to have all these fees included in your overall quote so you are not surprised later.

Calculate all Costs

Choosing the right shipping company is an essential part of expanding into international markets.  A few important tips that can save money on your international shipping costs include:

  • Try to avoid costly errors. If international shipping is new to your business, you need to understand that there is going to be a learning process.  That being said, try to keep mistakes and cost overruns to a minimum.  Always be willing to learn from your mistakes and try to be as flexible as possible in terms of your shipping methods.
  • Never guess/estimate weight and size. Make sure that your dimensions and weights are correct.  An overestimate can end up costing your business and hurt your bottom line.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your shipping company may be able to offer you important advice regarding international shipping processes and other helpful ways to help standardize your shipping methods.

Shipping to international markets are a great way to grow your business.  However, in order for this to be a positive experience for your business, you will need to find a company that can help you with some of the complicated procedures that are involved in international shipping.

We would love to be there for you with all your international shipping needs.  We can guide you through this often difficult process.  Call us today and see how we can save your business money and time.  We look forward to being a part of your international shipping network.

 

 

 

 

 

Shipping by Road vs Shipping by Rail

In the competitive shipping markets there are a wide range of options from which your business can choose – air, sea, road and rail.  The most popular of these include both road and rail, especially if you are shipping across town, country or even nation.  As the premier company for all your packing and crating needs, we would like to share the pros and cons of shipping your goods by either road or railway.

Shipping by Road

Shipping freight by road is the most common method and perhaps the most versatile.  Transporting goods by road ensures that your product is moved directly from your door to its destination.  Road shipping is mainly used for the distribution and delivery of retail cargo.

Pros

Some of the pros of moving your cargo via road include:

  • Freight can be delivered quickly and at a set schedule.
  • It is a very cost-effective method especially at short distances.
  • It allows door to door movement.
  • It can track cargo movement via GPS and satellite tracking.

Cons

Some of the drawbacks of using road shipping include:

  • Shipping limitations around cargo size and weight.
  • Not cost effective over long distances.
  • Slower than rail over lengthy stretches.
  • Not as environmentally friendly when compared to rail.

Shipping by Rail

Shipping goods by rail is a perfect fit for the long distances and challenges of Canadian shipping.  Freight trains can ship a wide variety of freight as well as commodities and may be the perfect fit for your long-distance shipping needs.

Pros

Some of the advantages of choosing rail include:

  • The greenest option for shipping with the smallest carbon footprint. Shipping by rail consumes less fuel per ton than does shipping freight via road.
  • Can carry far more freight, heavier items and a variety of cargo when compared to road.
  • Is a cheaper and quicker option, especially over long distances.

Cons

Some of the cons of shipping freight via rail include:

  • Additional costs may be incurred to move freight to its final destination. This is usually accomplished via road shipping.
  • Not economically viable over short distances.
  • Abnormal or cumbersome freight cannot be shipped via rail if the freight cannot fit in standard rail cars. (over height or oversize)

Choosing rail or road for your shipping needs usually depends on a wide range of variables.  These include the distances you are shipping freight, the type of cargo that you are transporting and the number of items that you need to ship.

If you need help understanding the pros and cons of each shipping method or are interested in seeing how we can assist you, please contact us today.  We look forward to hearing from you and would love to be a partner for all of your shipping, packing and crating needs.

 

 

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.