What are your best shipping options?

What are your best shipping options?

Your company has just stopped building the expensive equipment and you are now ready to send it to the customer. It took you 10 weeks to build it so the last thing you want to do is handle damaged or lost cargo. Selecting the right delivery method is critical if you want to minimize problems while keeping your costs on the budget. If you spend some time researching and comparing options you can save both time and headache.

When looking for a shipping solution you have the following options.

Global Shipping Company

Common carrier

Local Trucking Company

Shipping Agent

Forwarding agent

The above choices have all the pros and cons.

The global shipping company has terminals nationwide and internationally. They can ship by truck boat or airplane. Their global network of resources and data tracking results in current effective deliveries abroad. The other disadvantage of this kind of service is that loads are often handled as broadcasts are routed via a network of terminals. The more often a load is transmitted the greater the risk of being injured or lost.

Ordinary carriers have a network of terminals either nationally or in a region. They are strict trucks. Big Fortune 500 companies get volume discount rates but small businesses and entrepreneurs will pay a higher tax rate. When your shipment is over 1000 kg the cost can be insurmountable. The regular carrier will use a local driver pick up your load and take it to the nearest terminal where it will be unloaded from a truck and reloaded to another to go to the nearest major city to the final destination. This process is called cross docking. Cross docking can be done several times before the load reaches its final destination. This extra handling increases the chances of cargo or goods lost or delayed. The more times a load is handled the greater the risk of an unfortunate event.

Freight brokers do not own lorries. They arrange shipments with a number of other trucks. They handle a large number of shipments so that they can use this lever to negotiate lower pricing with the common carriers. This results in lower prices for the customer. While the freight broker will negotiate and track transport for you they do not take legal responsibility for the load it falls back to the carrier. This legal agreement may sometimes give the customer a double risk of shipping costs as they pay the freight broker but if for any reason there is a problem between the broker and the carrier the carrier can return and collect payment directly from the customer.

A freight forwarder is similar to freight brokers they negotiate with different carriers for good prices and handling logistics and tracking. The main difference is that the freight carrier takes legal responsibility for the shipment and offers consolidation of transport. This means that damage or other liability falls on the shoulder of the carrier which handles the claim on behalf of the shipper. Both freight brokers and freight drivers have relationships that will get better freight rates over what the small company can get from a regular carrier.

Local truck companies cover a city or slightly larger area. To transport heavy loads throughout the city the local truck company can be your best bet as you often get competitive prices. On the other hand some of these companies are very small and you may have to wait longer before your load is downloaded.

Some considerations when choosing a carrier.

Many carriers have a standard insurance rate that only allows you to recover $ .10 to $ .50 per pound. If this is not acceptable then use a freight forwarder because they insure the charges themselves and can cover the total cost of shipping.

In depth deliveries. If a shipment needs to get there quickly do not automatically assume that you must use air freight. Some trucking companies will use drivers so the truck is on its way around the clock. The extra driver costs more but it would still be a significant saving for air freight. In depth trucking usually only takes one day longer than airline delivery even air freight means more handling which means your cargo is at greater risk of loss or damage.

Generally the small company will get the best value by using a freight broker or freight forwarder but make sure you choose an experienced company. There are many carriers out there that are not reliable and an inexperienced broker can end up with an "unreliable" carrier which can result in lost delayed or damaged cargo.



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