Freight shipping: 5 quick tips

shipping containers, kettle mag,
Written by Nigel Simpkins

If you’re new to freight shipping, there are a few things to keep in mind to keep costs low whilst your business ventures into the international market. These little snippets of advice will help ensure your products arrive safely, on time, with no added charges. 

Provide as much freight information as possible

Make sure you provide the accurate dimensions when quoting any shipment. Length, width and height. Your quotes should be in whole numbers. Inaccurate information can cause costly extra expenses. 

Ensure the weight quoted is correct. Transport trucks are regulated throughout Europe and weighed often. Correctly quoting your shipment weight allows carriers to effectively pack their trucks. Like package dimensions, weight can incur large charges for mistakes. 

Take extra precautions with packaging large or heavy shipments

To ensure your shipments safety, make sure you correctly crate or pack your shipment on a pallet. Standard pallet size is 800mm by 1200mm. Take this into account when boxing up your goods. Ideally you want to be able to tessellate your products for maximum efficiency, but never have a box hang over the edge of the pallet. 

Effective packaging will always save you both time and money in the long run. If your products cannot be neatly packaged, contact a variety of carriers for the best option. Many freighting companies offer specialised packages based on the dimensions and weight of the product. 

Familiarise yourself with your shipment’s locations

Your freight carrier may ask you about the origin and location of your delivery. Useful information to find out is whether there are loading bays at both ends, hours of operation and any special requirements.

As with package dimensions, the more information you provide, the safer your shipment will be and you’ll be less likely to incur charges. It also creates a better working relationship between you and your selected carrier. 

Be aware of delivery times

This is especially important for time-restricted items. Neither you, nor your customer want a truckload of rotten strawberries arriving on their doorstep. Shipping times are always estimates, and delays can and do occur. If you need your product to arrive within a certain timeframe, make sure you: 

A)    Are insured against delays &

B)    Select a shipping package that gives you ample time to spare

Choose the right freight carrier

This is extremely important. You want to establish an effective working relationship with your transporter built on trust. Not all freighters are the same, and different companies may be more effective for different tasks. Evaluate your needs, shop around, and don’t be afraid to use more than one freighter. 

Things to consider:

●    Security – Go for a company with a great security record. Cargo theft costs small businesses thousands and destroys trust between companies.

●    Flexibility – If your shipments are going to be varying in size, shape and destination, you want a company that can handle all three.

●    Speed – A little obvious, but important nonetheless.