The Hazards of Shipping in Extreme Weather

Large cargo ship carrying colorful containers

Cold weather and snow have pelted the United States and Canada. Because of the snowfall and cold temperatures, many flights have been canceled and normal business has been disrupted. How can your shipments be affected by this type of extreme weather? Here are some things that you can expect and plan for when shipping in extreme weather.

Prepare for Shipping Delays

If you are a vendor that relies on quick shipments to customers, or a customer who relies on quick shipments from vendors, you might need to add some time in your schedules for delays. Ice and snow are notorious for shutting down airports, railroad tracks and highways. As the weather gets worse, so does the reliability of ground transportation.

Plan ahead by building extra time into shipping dates for customers or make sure to plan for longer production schedules if you are waiting for shipments to arrive. Make sure to notify affected parties of any delays as you become aware of them. Keep in close contact with your shipping lines to see what delays may be affecting their routes and when they predict your shipment will arrive.

Watch Out for Cargo Issues

If you depend on sea shipments, extreme weather may leave your cargo stranded at a port. Cargo ships need to run a tight schedule in order to make their money. When weather affects ports by shutting them down or preventing staff from unloading ships, shipping lines may abandon cargo that needs to be picked up. Or, they may not get around to dropping off cargo that arrived at its destination.

Make sure to have contingency plans for both cases if you are shipping by sea. Many international ports have very strict rules for cargo that is not picked up on time or is not able to be delivered and left at other ports. Complications like cargo arriving at a different nation’s sea port can tie up a shipment in customs for months.

Cargo Damage Due to Weather

Cold and water can be particularly nasty to certain types of cargo. If you are shipping items that are particularly sensitive to weather or moisture, you might need to take extra precautions in order to make sure that the cargo arrives safely.

In most cases, using climate controlled shipping can help keep food items or other perishables safe in extreme weather. While this can add a large amount to the cost of shipping, weigh the added cost with the risks of losing an entire shipment.

If temperature is not a concern but moisture is, there are quite a few ways that issue can be addressed. Shrink wrapping a shipment is a good way to keep moisture out. Using desiccants in the shipping containers is another method to control moisture.

For assistance on keeping shipments safe in extreme weather, contact the industrial packing experts at Cratex group. They can create a custom shipping container that will meet your needs.