An essential component of the independent freight forwarders’ job consists of ensuring that the cargo reaches the consignee’s destination in its intact condition. Making sure that the cargo reaches the customer undamaged not only helps with client retention but also helps to avoid reverse logistics expenses. More often than not, once the shipment is loaded what happens next is entirely out of the control of independent freight forwarders. Several factors like bumps, mishandling, weather, etc can result in severe damage to cargo. Nevertheless, freight forwarding companies can reduce the chances of cargo damage with a bit of precaution and foresight.
Keep reading today’s blog to find several useful tips that will help independent freight forwarders like you to reduce the possibility of cargo damage.
How independent freight forwarders can reduce shipment damage
Start with adequate packaging
A foolproof packing is a first and foremost step to ensuring the safety of your shipment. Keep in mind that the packing expenses are just a fraction of your overall transportation cost. If you skimp on this vital process then you run the risk of ruining the cargo as well as the reputation of your company. Therefore, start with selecting the proper packing material and the right size.
While packing your shipment, always avoid extreme slack or compression and remember to provide protection against impacts. Additionally, your cargo packing should not come with any holes, dents, tears, water damage, or corner damage. It is equally important to maintain the maximum weight the packing can hold. You need to fill up any empty spaces within the packing with foam or bubble wrap. This will ensure that the cargo doesn’t collide with each other or get damaged during the process of loading/unloading. This step is all the more important if the cargo consists of delicate or fragile items. Lastly, you need to seal the pallets with good-quality wraps that also offer protection against water and humidity.
Carefully consider the shipping method
The nature of your cargo should determine the mode of transport you’re using. For example, sensitive and fragile cargo should immediately eliminate certain transportation modes. In case you’re moving expensive goods, then, it is always suggested that you spend some extra bucks on a slower but more expensive mode of transport. Additionally, during the last leg of the journey, delicate items should ideally be moved in trucks with temperature control or air-ride suspension.
Take proper care while filling the containers
Empty space within the container can greatly increase the risk of cargo damage. This is because the goods tend to roll and move around whenever there is a jerk. This exposes the cargo to greater risk of damage. As already mentioned above, filling the empty space with the right material can go a long way in keeping the cargo intact. Next, you need to ensure proper stacking of the pallets with the heavy shipments on the bottom. Always go for cube-shaped units as opposed to a triangular shape with smaller boxes on top. Keep in mind that the top of the shipping unit needs to be flat with no loose crates on the top of the pallet.
Ensure appropriate labeling
The labeling of the cargo needs to be done meticulously to avoid any misunderstandings. Make sure to indicate the net weight that the box can hold and always provide an indicator of delicate contents. Additionally, all the individual pallets should also be correctly labeled with precise and visible information that can be easily identified. Lastly, make sure to print the labels on durable and waterproof paper.
Be mindful of the loading practices
The stacking of the cargo needs to be done with due care in a uniform and stable manner. The cargo weight needs to be distributed evenly and the heights of the pallets should remain consistent. When it comes to proper loading of shipment it is vital to ensure the paperwork in every step of the process and follow the established procedures.
Make the shipping container moisture-free
Water damage to the cargo inside the containers can be a major cause of concern for sea freight forwarders. However, you can avoid this by taking a few simple steps. To start with, before packing the container it is always a good idea to wipe it dry with a towel. This helps to eliminate the extra moisture. Using dehumidifiers is also an excellent way of removing moisture before long-term storage. Ventilation within the container can help to remove the warm air inside and draw fresh air from outside. However, ventilated containers should be totally avoided in humid areas as they can draw in moisture-laden air resulting in cargo damage. An easy way to keep the container moisture free is by placing desiccants within the boxes. They help to absorb the dampness, lower the dew point and thereby ensure a state of dryness.
Enhance the handling process of your crew
Lack of training and experience, poor judgement and work ethic, and high-pressure situations are some of the factors that can lead your crew to mishandle the cargo. For this reason, you should ensure that your crew is well-trained and suitable for the safe handling of equipment. A well trained workforce will not only help you minimize accidents and cargo damage but will also help to maximize your productivity.