Biggest Freight Shipping Challenges: Damaged or Missing Shipments
06/24/2015 — Matt Nagel
We’ve all seen and heard the lost and/or damaged shipment horror stories. Whether it’s a friend’s incident, a YouTube video of a not so careful delivery, or a firsthand experience - there is a definite stigma of damages and losses in shipping. Unsurprisingly, when we asked a group of customers about their greatest shipping concerns and challenges, shipment damages and losses were fourth behind price, “no shipping”, and transit times. However, shipment damages and losses can be preventable if the correct steps are taken to ensure a properly packaged shipment. Believe it or not, there is a large portion of damaged and lost shipments that can be attributed to packaging error rather than freight mistreatment. Below are some tips to keep your shipment in its desired condition:
- Packaging – Shipments must be properly packed to ensure damage-free transportation. While there are many nuances to different items that may be shipped, the overall advice we give is to use common sense with packing your specific commodity. You wouldn’t package ball-bearings the same as you would package glassware. Don’t be afraid to spend an extra couple bucks on packaging to ensure you’re not spending more after the fact. Be conscious of your chosen container’s maximum weight capacity, choose quality materials, leave enough room in boxes/containers for cushioning, and properly seal boxes with enough tape. Be mindful of these basic practices and your shipment will be well packaged and protected from normal shipping and handling.
- Palletizing - The pallet will give the shipment a solid base to sit on and make movement on and off the truck easy and safe. When stacking your pallet, be sure your items sit squarely on the skid with no overhang. Box flaps and corrugations should face up. Make the top surface as flat as possible and secure cartons to the skid with banding, stretch-wrap, or breakaway adhesive.
- Labeling - To ensure correct and timely delivery, freight needs to be
labeled appropriately. Always follow these guidelines:
- Remove or completely cover old labels.
- Place labels on each box and each side of the overall shipment.
- Do not place labels over a seam or closure on top of sealing tape.
- Place a duplicate form of address information inside the container for added protection.
- You should always be able to locate a full return address on the shipping label.
Even the best laid plans can go awry, that’s why it’s always a good idea to be well versed in the steps to take if a shipment happens to be damaged or lost. Submitting claims may sound scary, but keeping your cool and following the basic steps of taking pictures, saving the damaged freight, identifying the shipment value, and contacting your carrier or 3PL partner to begin the claims process will keep you ahead of the curb.
It’s always a carrier’s goal to deliver a shipment in perfect condition - no one wants to go through the claims process. But, as shown in this post, a well-cared for shipment while in transit is only half the battle. Packaging and labeling your shipment correctly will help ensure a smooth shipping operation for you and your company.
Dealing with a damaged shipment? Find out what you need to know about filing a freight claim.