Shipping Long Distances

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

Shipping Definitions:


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


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


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


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

Bill of Lading

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

CBM (M3)

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

High Cube (HC or HQ)

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

C&F (or CFR) and CIF

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


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


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

Commercial Invoice

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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


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.


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.

Shipping your Boxes

 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 buying 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 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.

Shipping Via Rail vs Road

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Shipping Internationally

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 three 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 national or international shipping network.

Here are a few things to help you understand the shipping process.  If you would like any more information, please contact us.  We would love to save you money and keep your goods safe.