The Busiest Shipping Time of Year. Be Prepared.

Shipping over the Holidays – Be prepared for Peak Season

The 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 your freight is properly packed and packaged, labeled, 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.

Preparing for the Holidays: Industrial Packing Style

With the holidays swiftly approaching things get busy in the shipping/packaging world. The increase in goods being moved can place a special demand for industries that make their money by moving and supplying these items. Whether you are planning on moving things by freight this time of year or if you are a warehouse owner, there are some things to keep in mind for a successful holiday season.

Plan Extra Time for Everything

With more trucks moving, there are fewer trucks available to move your goods when you need them. With more items being shipped, people who provide custom crating solutions are going to be busy getting orders packed, loaded and ready to go. With more traffic, shipments may move slower when transiting out of major hubs. All of these add up to one major factor: delays in shipping times.

Always remember that what would normally take a week during the rest of the year can take two or even three during the holidays. Leave yourself and your team enough time to get your items packed, loaded and shipped so you don’t miss the critical dates people set during this time of year.

Increased Warehouse Inventory

People buy more at this time of year. This means that more goods are being staged in warehouses so that they can be moved to storefronts as they are needed. Whether you own a warehouse are looking to use one for storing your own items, space is at a premium for the next month or two. Make sure that before you commit to having items delivered that there is actually space available for them. Don’t find yourself quite literally left out in the winter cold because your usual warehouse has no room for storing your things right now.

Additional Staffing Needs

The increase in the volume of business means an increase in the people needed to handle it. If you are in the business of packing and moving goods then you may need to hire additional help during the holiday season.

The good news is that many people are looking for extra work to pick up a few holiday dollars. The bad news is that the demand for quality employees is high. Waiting until the last minute to pick up a few helping hands can actually leave you with more work to do.

Just because you need people, don’t compromise your hiring practices. Make sure to properly investigate your candidates before you hire them. They can end up costing you more in the long run.

Consider Using Custom Crating and Transloading Services from Cratex Group

Cratex group has years of experience in custom crating and transloading. This means that we are in a unique position to not only help you protect your freight from damage during shipping, but also help out in ensuring that your shipment gets there as quickly as possible. Contact us today for a transloading or custom crating quote.

Use Custom Crates for Your Holiday Shipping and Freight

Not all of us can get home for the holidays. That often means packing up goodies into boxes, bins or other containers to get them shipped back to the loved ones we want to have them. Many times, the one size fits all nature of off-the-shelf packing leaves your loved ones with a pile of pieces instead of the gift you intended. Why not get a custom crate made for your holiday shipment? Here are some of the advantages you can get out of using a custom crate.

Added Protection

A custom wooden crate is sturdy, much sturdier than your typical cardboard box. This can be very important if you are shipping something that has some weight to it over a long distance.

Often shipping companies are not very gentle with the boxes that they receive. Even if you pay extra money for insurance (you should always ensure your shipments) there is still the difficulty of filing a claim and getting the items replaced.

Protect your shipment with a sturdy wooden custom crate that can not only take the beating of being jostled around in a holiday shipping truck; it reduces the risk of damage from the other packages around it.

Odd Sized or Specialty Items

Sometimes the gift that you want to give just won’t fit into one of those standard box sizes. Pick a box too small and there isn’t enough room for what you are sending. Pick a box too big and the item or items get damaged from moving around too much. This doesn’t happen with a custom crate.

Custom crates are built to the exact size that they need to be for the item that they are carrying. In many cases, as with art or wine, you can have a crate custom built to not only fit what you are shipping, but have extra protection built-in specifically for your items.

Custom crates offer more flexibility for odd-sized and shaped items, as well as added protection during shipping.

Fit More into One Crate

Shipping several boxes at the same time can add up quickly. Instead, imagine how excited your loved ones would be getting all of their wrapped gifts in one large crate instead.

Custom crates can be built to handle any size and weight shipment. You can put all of your gifts into the same shipping container and save on the cost of shipping as well as adding protection to everything inside. A custom crate is a great way to ship a large number of gifts or other holiday surprises.

Packing & Shipping Christmas Trees, Overseas

Over the past month or so we have been making note of the stories coming across our line of vision regarding the shipping of Christmas trees overseas. Not every region is as blessed as ours (we must boast accordingly given that we are a Vancouver BC packing and crating company) in being rich with the natural resources that afford our residents with the pick of the litter when selecting the centerpiece of their home during the holiday season.

Because most of the world is not ripe with Firs, Pines, and Balsams the shipping of Christmas trees across the globe has become a big business for both wholesale tree farms and shipping companies that include tree and plant-life in their overseas cargo.

The media has touched on these stories through the onset of the Holiday season. There are news stories that some US state regulatory bodies such as the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection are waving their fees for Christmas trees shipped to those in active US military service overseas.

Others include outside of the box thinking from retailers in Hawaii that bring in North American trees to meet the demands of tropical residents that are looking for a sensory taste of the mainland America from which they came.

Wherever the request comes from, North American tree farms and other gateway businesses are filling the demand for this holiday symbol during the season so that no home overseas and abroad is left with a Charlie Brown sized Pine.

If you are considering getting involved with wholesale shipping of Christmas tees overseas in time for next season and beyond you will want to consider the following:

  1. You Must Obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate

No tree or plant may board a vessel heading for an international destination without its source providing a Phytosanitary Certificate. In addition to the usual customs documentation that is required and contingent upon the destination, the Phytosanitary Certificate is an “across the board” requirement that attests that the import requirements are met by the receiving regulating national plant protection organization.

The certificate for export is traditionally issued by the mirroring national plant protection organization from the originating country. If you’re planning on getting into the wholesale Christmas tree shipping business you need to guarantee any tree farm involved passes the test.

  1. Plan Time for Quarantine

Every region has its quarantine law. Even US states, in particular Hawaii, require that Christmas trees are held in quarantine to identify stowaway pests, regardless of Phytosanitary Certification. Be sure to factor this time lag into your delivery schedule when preparing for the seasons ahead. Aim for a late November arrival so that there is a buffer allowing for time in quarantine.

  1. Know the Christmas Trees that Ship Best

Knowing the best “Christmas” trees to farm and/or select when considering shipping overseas is essential to the success of the endeavor. You want to ensure your retailer and end-consumer are happy with the shipment and that the tree lasts until the end of the Holidays. Both Balsam and Fir trees are renowned for their ability to survive during, and thrive after, being shipped overseas.

  1. Develop a Relationship with a Shipping Company Specializing in Shipping Plants

If you’re in this for the long run then developing a long-standing relationship with a shipping company that specializes in shipping tree and plant-life overseas is essential. They will know all of the ins and outs of the process and the rules and regulations of each importing destination in addition to having the right relationships in place for efficient transport.

  1. Develop a Relationship with an Industrial Packing & Crating Company

Finally, developing a relationship with an industrial packing and crating company is necessary to best protect your shipment of Christmas trees. Regardless of Balsam or Fir, if the trees are not stabilized properly for the journey they will not arrive in optimal condition. If you are considering industrial packing and crating near Vancouver BC, please feel free to contact Cratex Group anytime.

Rules for Including Transloading in Your Transport Planworker in red uniform in warehouse in fish-eye lens - back view

Transloading is a great option if you are not able to reach your destination with just one mode of transportation. Two of the most common uses of transloading are rail-truck or ocean-truck transportation. Transloading is a great way for you to get your goods from one point to another using two (or more) modes of transportation.

Before you decide to integrate transloading in your transport plan, there are some things that you should keep in mind. Here are some basic rules so that you can include transloading properly into your transport plan.

Not All Containers Are Created Equal

If you are going from ocean containers to domestic trailers, then you need to realize they are very different in size. As a matter of fact 3 of the 40’ ocean containers will fit into 2-53’ domestic trailers or containers. This means that in order to save money you are going to want to avoid directly loading the ocean containers onto a trailer. If you are going the other way (truck to ocean), you will need to plan for the extra containers that you will need to complete the shipment.

Don’t Forget to Add Time

Shipping directly (if you can) typically costs more than using transloading. The issue is that transloading takes additional time. Containers need to be loaded (or unloaded) and then moved to the second mode of transportation. Sometimes the shipping times for rail or ocean do not match up directly with your needs. Before leveraging transloading services, make sure that the additional time added will not make your delivery late or even too late to be accepted. Nobody needs a load of Christmas decorations in July, so plan appropriately.

Use Customs Effectively

If you are shipping internationally and by ocean, then you are going to have to clear customs. Not doing so will hold up your shipment until the proper documentation is filed and finished. By clearing customs at the port, you will not have to worry about any problems inland. This can add flexibility in your cargo handling and can help to eliminate the expenses associated with moving the cargo in bond.

Does the Math Work Out?

Realize that transloading is not a magic bullet. There is a tradeoff of costs that is going to happen. Before committing to transloading, make sure that the added costs of handling your goods is going to outweigh the costs of transportation.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Transloading takes some logistics in order to work properly. This means that you cannot expect a transloader to be able to handle your shipment at the last minute. You need plenty of time to work out the timing of the shipment and coordinate all of the moving parts. Make sure to include all of the players in your supply chain to avoid issues.

 Ship Early During the Holiday Season.  Here’s Why.Vancouver transloading

If your company ships frequently, you might not even notice that we have crept into the holiday season. As the holidays approach, more and more packages are going to be shipped.

This increase is twofold; first people shipping gifts that they have purchased to their loved ones. Secondly, as the popularity of online shopping skyrockets, people rely more on shipping to get the gifts they have purchased to them.

This can cause congestion, delays, surcharges and other issues if you are attempting to ship, particularly if you are looking to ship internationally. The United States can be particularly tricky this time of year. Here are some things to look out for and good reasons why you should ship early.

Port Congestion

With the increase in domestic shipping, many ports will become overwhelmed with cargo. This means that cargo is sitting on the docks, unloaded and backing up shipments coming from other places.

Two ports hit particularly hard are Los Angeles and New York-New Jersey. Reports out of those ports say that many containers are sitting for several days unloaded because there is simply no place to put them.

Many ports report chassis as being one of the major causes of congestion this time of year. Shipping carriers have sold their chassis to other companies who have chosen to lease them. This means more red tape in getting containers unloaded and on to trucks to be moved.

Congestion Leads to Surcharges

At times of high congestion, shipping lines will begin to charge a port congestion surcharge. This charge is generally on items that are being imported. Currently, these surcharges are being linked to US ports on the west coast.

Current reports are saying that the surcharges can be as high as $1,300 USD for 45’ containers. This can add quite a bit to your shipping costs if you are moving a large shipment.

Remember to investigate the ports you are shipping into and inquire with your shipping line if they are currently charging a surcharge for your destination port. Make sure to do this before shipping so you can budget or charge your customers accordingly.

Shortages in Trucks and Drivers

One of the major causes of port congestion is a shortage of trucks and drivers. With rising costs in equipment, operating costs (fuel) and reductions in pay, many truck drivers are leaving the business for other professions.

This is leading to a shortage of available manpower to move items around once they have arrived at port. It can cause major delays in the arrival of your shipment. This is where shipping early can prevent a late delivery; these sorts of delays can be difficult to predict.

Cratex Group has seen these types of frustrations for shippers before. We can help accommodate you with short term warehousing and transloading services. Contact us today with any questions about shipping delays or port congestions!