Improper packaging of materials during shipping can result in loss of product inventory due to damage and replacement. This can place a financial burden on the industrial shipping chain. Even worse, when cargo arrives damaged it can harm the relationship between the shipper and receiver. This can be even worse than the cost of replacing an item.
Choosing the right options and methods when you prepare your cargo for shipping can mitigate these issues greatly. This can result in a smoother process all around and may cost a bit more up front, but will save a lot of money in the long run.
Know Your Shipping
This may seem a no-brainer, but it is important to know your shipping methods inside and out. Shipping via air will have different needs than shipping by sea, and long- or short-haul trucking has its own set of requirements. If you are using a transloading scheme for shipping goods, you will want to make sure that all of your bases are covered.
Remember that your shipping chain is predicated on efficiency and speed, and this can put cargo at risk when it is moved from one method of shipping to another. When handlers are going for speed, you will want to make sure that cargo is properly secured to avoid jarring and damage.
Know Your Product
Again, this may seem obvious, but it’s important. Different materials require different levels of care when packing for shipment.
- How strong or fragile is your cargo?
- Are you shipping manufactured goods or simply raw materials?
- Do you have any hazardous chemicals or other substances in your shipment?
- Does your cargo require environmental controls, such as being kept refrigerated or warm?
This will help you to select the right shipping containers, restraints and padding.
Select Packing Materials
Once you are certain of the type of cargo and the care it will need, select packing materials and crates that will be optimal for the shipping process. Remember that if you are direct shipping you will need to take a different approach than if you use a transloading shipping chain.
In general, it is always better to over-pack your materials than under-pack them. Using more packaging, more restraint, more insulation and more padding will generally ensure that your cargo arrives undamaged. Yes, using excess may cost more in the short term, but the advantages of your cargo being kept safe and intact far outweigh the short-term expense.
Even for long-established transloading operations, choosing the right shipping containers, securing cargo properly, and avoiding damage can present a challenge. As more and more companies outsource their logistics to third party vendors, knowing a little about the methods of shipping that are being used can help you secure your cargo so that it arrives safe and unharmed.
Using the services of a professional packaging company can help as well. The next time you are planning a major shipment, if you need some help or advice choosing the right shipping container for your cargo, give us a call—we can help!