Independent freight forwarders who are looking forward to building their company’s reputation need to find the most effective way to ship their cargo without making the slightest error. However, when it comes to international freight shipping, it can be all too easy to slip up. Even a seemingly small error could result in expensive delays or cancelled cargo which in turn can ruin the reputation of the freight forwarding company. In today’s post, we are going to make you aware of the most commonly made mistakes in international freight shipping so that you can avoid them in the future.
The most common international freight shipping mistakes
Inaccuracies in the Bill of Lading
The Bill of Lading or B/L is the most crucial document of international trade that has been existing for several centuries. It serves as the contract of carriage between the exporter/forwarder/shipper and the carrier. Moreover, it acts like a receipt of cargo attesting to the fact that the shipment has been loaded on the vessel. Lastly, it is a document of title to the shipment. In other words, whichever party possesses the original copy of the B/L is legally obliged to deliver it to its destination.
However, a vast amount of information needs to be filled in the B/L, and shipping companies often make mistakes such as wrong item description, notifying the incorrect party, and entering the wrong weight or piece count to name a few. For this reason, freight forwarding companies need to be extremely mindful while filling out the B/L and double-check it to ensure its accuracy.
Use the right packaging
Proper packing and labeling of the cargo is crucial when it comes to international shipping. More than half of the problems that crop up while moving a shipment happen due to improper packaging. In this context, it should be remembered that the kind of cargo you are shipping should determine the packing. Therefore, you need to identify which items need which kind of box and carefully consider using protective cushioning to support the weight of the cargo and to keep it moving in transit. Moreover, even with the right packing, you need to ensure that your items are safely attached to the pallet and are not filled with overhanging packages. Make sure to stack the packages in interlocking patterns or column stacks to prevent the dislocation of the cargo during transit.
Inaccurate listing of weight and freight class
Although the weight and freight class are essential components of the Bill of Lading, they should also have separate listing to avoid incorrect listing and consequent extra charges. For this reason, it is vital that you measure the weight of your cargo at a weighing station so as to avoid paying more. The same is true of the freight class. Many logistics operators list their cargo in the lowest possible class because it’s cheap. Nevertheless, if your freight class is wrong, you will need to dole out considerable money as reclassification charge. In other words, the cost of reclassification of your freight will be larger than the change in the freight class margin. Mess ups like incorrect listing of freight class and freight weight could mar the reputation of the freight forwarder and should be avoided at all costs.
Wrong shipping address
Even though this sounds like a error that can be easily avoided, even experienced forwarders make the mistake of listing a wrong shipping address. It is an avoidable mistake that can cause a lot of trouble including long delays and misplacement of cargo in the worst case. The smallest mistake in the zip code, state code or country code can result in huge expenses and customer dissatisfaction. For this reason, it is advised that you check the destination address over and over and carefully go through the smallest details.
Depending on one carrier
Rather than depending on one single carrier for all your shipments, independent freight forwarders need to choose to work in the multi-carrier environment. Remember that a single carrier is not likely to satisfy all your shipping needs. Moreover, in case the carrier is experiencing a labour shortage or having a slow week, you will run the risk of piling up your freight with nobody to move it. Working with more than one carrier will give you the flexibility to select the right one based on considerations like expertise, location, and the class or scale of the shipment. Lastly, working with multiple carriers can also result in potential cost savings since different carriers provide different rates. Not entrusting all your freight to one single company will also let you to make the best use of competitive pricing and allow you to foster reliable partnerships.
Overlooking the shipping regulations of the destination country
International freight shipping requires the forwarder to abide by the shipping regulations of the country where the good is being shipped. Shipping to a foreign country often entails additional rules, extra fees, additional paperwork, etc. which could be expensive both in terms of time and money. When you are shipping internationally it is always advised that you partner with a forwarder who is familiar with the rules of the territory where you are shipping and who can handle the shipment most efficiently.
Not insuring your freight
International shipping involves certain risks including accidents, stolen goods, and damaged cargo. These unpredictable accidents can result in massive expenses, delays, and a drop in the reputation of your company. In order to avoid such a situation, it is always a good idea to insure your cargo. The money you spend on insuring the shipment will save you the worry about any mishaps that can happen in course of the long distance movement of your cargo. It will relieve you of the burden of crippling replacement costs for an entire shipment.
All the above mistakes in the international shipment of goods can be avoided by choosing the right shipping partner. This is why small and mid-sized logistics companies need to become a part of a reputed logistics network. Being one of the top freight forwarding networks in the world, Globalia Logistics Network has nearly 204 freight forwarders from 133 countries each of whom has been carefully selected for their expertise in this sector. You can confidently entrust your valuable cargo to your network partners who are well-versed with the rules and regulations of the territory where you are sending your goods. As a member of Globalia Logistics Network, freight forwarders will get an international foothold, a platform to boost their brand, find a set of dependable partners, and obtain new project opportunities.