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Cutting Out the Middle Country: What is Cross Trade Shipping

More than ever before, we are working in a global economy. Even the smallest business, operating from a back bedroom in Somerset, can have customers in multiple international locations. It’s perhaps not surprising then, that an ever-increasing number of companies are seeking to fulfil the needs of customers abroad with goods shipped from other overseas destinations. And, of course, that process becomes far more cost-effective if you don’t have to first bring the goods to your home country. That’s where cross trade shipping comes into play.

What is Cross Trade Shipping?

In the simplest terms, cross trade shipping is the process of sending a company’s good from one destination to another without routing via the home destination. As an example, Plexus Freight could ship goods purchased in Spain by a British company directly to a buyer in Finland without need of docking in the UK en route. This not only saves the client time but money, while helping them to deliver an enhanced degree of customer service.

How Does Cross Trade Shipping Work?

From the client’s perspective, cross trade shipping works in exactly the same way as any other form of cargo movement. You simply need to purchase your goods and arrange collection. From there, you will need to ensure the necessary paperwork is in order for your shipment and tell Plexus where you want the goods to go. Then we will do the rest. If you are booking the value-added service, we can even organise the warehousing of your goods at your destination.

How Long Does Cross Trade Shipping Take?

Plexus Freight operates from locations across Europe on a daily basis. And we have forged strong links with some of the best freight and shipping providers in Europe. This means that we can often collect goods within an hour of booking.

Delivery times can be arranged according to client requirements. Plexus operates an array of cross trade services, including express for time sensitive shipments. This will often allow for a 24-hour service from collection to drop-off, dependant on the distance between the two locations. If you’re in a serious hurry, we can even supply double-manned vans to expedite loading and unloading. Economy shipments are also available for when time is less of an issue.

What Can Be Sent Via Cross Trade?

Short answer, pretty much anything legal and in line with the customs regulations of your selected locations. Plexus will work with pallets, crates, oversized cargo and loose goods. We can even supply forklift trucks if you find yourself without necessary facilities.

Plexus Freight has been moving customer’s goods for decades. We know the best routes to ensure a speedy service. And we know what our customers need for a stress-free freighting experience. We do everything we can to ensure that they receive that.

If you’d like a free quote for your next cross trade shipment please visit our contact page, or call the Plexus customer service team: (+44) 01823 335666

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Everything You Need to Know About Express Freight

Whether correcting a prior logistics problem or processing an urgent order, there are times when you simply need to move goods fast. Transporting across borders when you’re in a hurry can seem like a logistical nightmare. Especially if you’ve not done it before. The good news is, if you work with a reputable freight forwarder, the process is easier than you might think. Here’s what you need to know.

The Key Facts of Express Freight

Plexus Freight Express Services

Plexus currently offers three express services:

  • Urgent express – Plexus operate daily collections and deliveries from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France and Netherlands. This means that if you need to send something urgently, we’re already heading your way. With our express freight option you can have your goods collected within the same day – often within the hour.
  • Economy express – If you need a collection made quickly but want to save a little cash, our economy express service allows you to piggyback your delivery onto our existing shipments. Collections and deliveries will still be made within 24 hours. Superb service is still guaranteed. It’s just that your goods will share a truck with someone else’s, rather than having one all to themselves.
  • Domestic express – If you’re looking to move goods around the UK in a hurry, the Plexus Freight domestic express service is available for deliveries of any size. With same-day and 24-hour options available, we can take care of single boxes or full shipping containers. Whatever you need, we’re there to help.

 

How We Can Help

At Plexus, we aim to do everything we can to help our customers get the job done. This means:

  • If you need to shift pallets but don’t have a forklift, we can oblige.
  • If time really is of the essence, we can double-man a van to get goods loaded and unloaded at double the speed.
  • For companies with special collection/delivery requirements we can tailor make express freight packages.

The whole point of Plexus is to get your goods where you need them, when you need them. If there’s anything that we can do to streamline that process for you, we will.

What You Need to Do

The only thing that you need to do to get your goods delivered where and how you need is to keep doing what you’re doing – and contact Plexus Freight for a quote. So:

And that is all you need to know. Move your freight today for delivery either today or tomorrow.

 

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Salt Cod and Grilled Sardines: Important Things You Need to Know About Shipping to Portugal

You know that old saying about selling ice to the Eskimo? Well, there’s a similar sort of thing going on with the Portuguese and fish. Salt cod and grilled sardines, in particular. They’re two of the country’s national dishes and if there’s one thing you don’t want to think about freighting to Portugal, it’s probably piscine in nature! Other than that though, despite an unfair reputation, Portugal is actually a pretty easy place to ship to. You simply need to follow the rules and find a market for your products.

Portugal’s Trade Reputation

Portugal is not known as an easy destination to trade with. It’s nothing to do with the country’s customs and excise procedures. Being in the EU, organising imports and exports between the UK and Portugal is a relative doddle – at the time of writing. How that will change post-‘Brexit’, only time will tell. But for the present, as a market Portugal is no easier or harder for UK businesses to access than anywhere else in the EU. And decidedly easier than some other locations – Russia, for example.

Portugal’s prohibited and restricted items list isn’t that extensive either. Certainly not enough to make potential traders think twice.

The main problem with Portugal is simply that carriers don’t go there as often as other places. Why? Because until recently, Portugal didn’t have that much to trade, salt cod notwithstanding. So, unless you had a lot of contacts in the ceramics industry, then there wasn’t much use for freighters… Fortunately, that’s exactly what we had.

Plexus Freight have been operating a daily service throughout Portugal for many years now. We collect. We deliver. It’s what we do. And we have a strong enough customer base to be able to offer a variety of services: economy; express; cross-trade. But we are rather in the minority. So, the reality is that Portugal isn’t a difficult trading partner, just that most people just haven’t found the right freight forwarder to work with. Once you’ve done that, it all becomes much easier.

Sending Freight to and from Portugal

When sending shipments between Portugal and the UK, your main considerations are:

  • What you want to send/receive. And whether it is restricted or prohibited. Make sure you check out UK government guidelines as well as those of Portugal.
  • How you want to send it. With Plexus Freight, our express service operates 24/7. Economy options are available across Europe.
  • You will need somewhere to store your goods at either end of your journey. Plexus can assist with that.
  • Regardless of what’s going on with the EU and ‘Brexit’, admin must be done. If your paperwork is incomplete, then your goods will never reach your destination. A freight forwarding service, can help with that.
  • Taking on a local distributor. Finding your feet and negotiating trade in an unfamiliar territory and/or language is tough. Even if you know what you’re doing, it can be easy to miss opportunities simply because you’re lacking contacts.
  • Working with a local agent or distributor can remove that problem.

 

Despite the post-recession problems that the country has faced, Portugal is a great place to do business. The systems used are very similar to ours. Competitors are limited. And the opportunities are high. The only problem you really face is finding a reliable freighter… And you’re reading this, so we’re going to assume that you already have!

If you’re thinking about extending your export business to include Portugal, or simply want a more efficient way to conduct your existing Portuguese exports, fill out our contact form, or call the Plexus service team today. We’d be more than happy to help: (+44) 01823 335666

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Sending Freight to Spain: What You Need to Know

Spain has been an important export market for the UK for many years now. In fact, in 2017, the UK was Spain’s 5th biggest trading partner. And Spain has been the UK’s 10th most profitable export destination for some time. Despite the concerns relating to the impact of Brexit on this relationship, the country remains one of the most popular places to send goods to for Plexus Freight customers. With that in mind, we thought we’d put together this short guide to answer any questions you might have about beginning your own UK-Spain export venture.

Everything You Need to Know About Sending Freight to Spain

What can I send to Spain?

At Plexus Freight, we work with pallets, crates, oversized goods and loose cargo. What goes into that cargo, however, is subject to Spain’s customs restrictions. In most instances, it’s a case of common sense: don’t send narcotics, any form of non-prescription drugs, tobacco or alcohol. Don’t send dangerous substances like asbestos, hazardous chemicals, or biological substances. However, there are some things that you might not expect to be prohibited, such as shoes, costume jewellery and telecommunications equipment. To be certain, check with the European Tax and Customs Union before beginning your venture.

Likewise, if you’re importing from Spain to the UK, make sure you check out UK government guidelines.

How can I send freight to/from Spain?

Plexus Freight offer three different service options for transporting goods to and from Spain:

Express Freight – We know there are occasions when time is of the essence. That’s why we have a 24/7 booking service. And when you book our express freight option we can arrange collections within a day – sometimes within the hour. All express deliveries between the UK and Spain are made within 24 hours. And all express freight deliveries are tracked.

Economy Express – For those looking for fast delivery at a more cost-effective price point, we are able to consolidate customer orders. This is made possible by the high level of business we conduct around Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal. As we operate daily from all of these locations, as well as nine others, we can ensure that you are never kept waiting.

Economy Freight – At Plexus, we offer a range of different economy freight options across Europe, including cross trade. Although the most cost-effective route, our economy service is no less reliable or secure. We will always be there when we say we will. It’s exactly the same service, but without the hurry.

What do I need to do to organise a shipment to/from Spain?

If you simply wish Plexus Freight to transport your goods, then all you need do is contact our customer service team, or fill out our contact sheet. Your personalised quote will be with you shortly. It’s then down to you to ensure that the paperwork and logistics are in place. However, we do offer other services.

If you’re looking to streamline your freighting system, Plexus can help with warehousing, timed deliveries, specialist movements and a full range of other freight forwarding solutions. Call our customer service team to find out more: (+44) 01823 335666.

Is there anything else I need to know about exporting to Spain?

If you’re just starting out, then you need to make sure that you have a support network in place. This would include:

  • A reliable freight forwarder
  • A local distributor and/or agent
  • A clear name search certificate from the Central Mercantile Registry.

While Spain is a very similar market to the UK, local knowledge is always beneficial. Working with an agent or distributor can save you a lot of time and money. They will also ensure that you meet all the regional legal requirements – such as the name search certificate. Their help could also be invaluable in the event of Brexit.

As well as getting your goods where they need to be, a good freight forwarder can also help to ensure that you have all the paperwork you need. This is the best way to ensure that your cargo always arrives intact.

If this is a first venture for you, Invest In Spain is a great resource.

Spain is one of the easiest markets for first time freighters. At present (pre-Brexit), its systems are very similar to the UK’s. It’s relatively near-by, so you have a choice of delivery options available. And the market is ready and waiting.

If you’d like to find out more about how Plexus Freight could help build and improve your UK-Spain import/export business, our dedicated customer service team is always ready to help: (+44) 01823 335666.

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European Freight and ‘No-Deal Brexit’

While the rest of the country grows increasingly bored with the continued ‘Brexit’ negotiations, there’s one sector following the process with anxious interest: European freighters. If your business involves the import and/or export of goods to or from Europe, the likelihood is that your nails have long since been bitten to the quick.  What will Britain’s exit from the EU mean for your business? And, increasingly pressingly, what could a no-deal scenario look like? Will all trade come to a grinding halt? Will your business be able to survive? There are so many questions and very few answers.

Here’s what we know so far.

The Current Situation

At present, UK freighters that carry goods to and from Europe must hold a both a Standard International Operator’s Licence and a Community Licence. This allows us unlimited journeys through the EU, carrying your goods. So, when you book freight transportation with a reputable carrier, you know that your goods should reach their destination as planned. The important thing being that with the relevant licenses in place, there’s no risk of your cargo – and the vehicles carrying it – being impounded.

There is also a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit available. This is only granted to a limited number of hauliers. But it does allow them to carry goods to and through all EU countries other than Cyprus.

So, that’s how things are now, but what happens after March 29th, 2019?

European Freight and ‘Brexit’

At present, the only people who may have any idea at all about what the situation for freight might be in the event of an official and agreed ‘Brexit’, are those politicians involved in the negotiations. And that’s a big ‘may’. It’s hoped that there will be little disruption, that any hiatus will be brief. But only time will tell.

European Freight and ‘No-Deal Brexit’

The major concern with a no-deal scenario is that some EU countries might be prepared to play hardball. Teaching the UK a lesson could be as much of a priority as deterring other potential exits. So, this could mean that UK-issued Community Licences would not be recognised. Therefore UK freighters would be unable to access the EU community.

HOWEVER, those hauliers with ECMT permits would still be able to carry goods as normal. It’s important to remember that there are only a limited number of these permits. So, demand for their services will be high.

Additionally, all UK freighters travelling within the EU will need to register their trailers with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). And ensure that the trailer’s independent licence number is clearly displayed before travel. This will be happening with or without a deal. So, make sure that you check that your freighter is prepared. That way you can ensure no unnecessary delays with your cargo.

The only thing that anyone really knows about ‘Brexit’ right now is that disruption is likely across the board. And that includes UK-European freight. Whether it leads to empty supermarket shelves, as some fear, or simply means additional paperwork remains to be seen. The one thing that is certain, however, is that finding a reliable freight company to work with is the best way to minimise the effects of whatever changes are afoot.

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Love Me Tender: How to Make Sure Your Cargo Arrives Intact

So, here you are. You’ve found a buyer/seller. You’ve got your first set of goods ready for export/import. You’ve found a reputable freight forwarder, or have decided to work directly with a carrier. Now, you just need to prepare your goods for travel. But that’s the easy bit, right? Shove it in a shipping container, and off you go! Well, yes… And also no. Preparing your cargo for shipping – whichever mode of transport you choose – can be a tricky business.

Here are a few pointers to make sure that your cargo reaches its destination in exactly the state that you intended it to.

4 Steps to Help Ensure Your Cargo Arrives Intact

1. Select the right container.

Rather than being one-size-fits-all, there are many different types of cargo container. Although this might seem to complicate matters, it does mean that you can choose exactly the right cargo transport unit (CTU) for your needs. So, how do you know which one you need? Sometimes it’s obvious; if you’re transporting perishables, you will require a refrigerated CTU. Non-perishable food stuffs require a food-grade CTU – you don’t want dried fruit being shipped in something that has previously carried waste, or chemicals. Otherwise, you basically need to consider the volume and the weight of your goods. A 20-foot container, for example, will take heavier goods, such as cement, minerals and steel. A 40-foot container will take lighter weight but voluminous goods, such as cotton and tobacco. Also, make sure that the carrier you’re working with will accept your chosen container type. Some will have specific guidelines.2

2. Check the condition of your container.

You wouldn’t send an item through the domestic post in a torn paper bag. Nor would you store food in your kitchen cupboards in damaged or wet boxes. This is because you want your packages to reach their destination, and you want your food to be edible. It’s the same premise with selecting CTUs. You may see special price packages for older shipping containers, and this can be a great way to reduce your overheads when starting out in import/export. But – and it’s a big BUT – if your cargo is not in sellable condition on arrival, you’ve lost your entire investment. SO, check for holes; make sure seals are intact and that doors shut properly and lock.

3. Pack carefully.

Well, of course, having gone to all the effort of getting to this stage, you’re not just going to throw your cargo in. Of course, you’re not. But actually, a surprisingly high number of people do. Perhaps not throw exactly, but many do fail to take adequate precautions, resulting in an unnecessarily high wastage bill. If your goods don’t fit the container precisely, use packing materials to fill the gaps and protect it. It’s obvious, really.

4. Prepare your paperwork.

Finally, make sure that you have crossed every t and dotted every i. This might not seem like it pertains to packing prep, but if customs – or your carrier – have to pull your CTU apart because you’ve failed to obtain the correct documentation, then all the other steps have been pointless. Likewise, if the cargo gets refused entry to its destination. You’ve been warned!

 

Preparing your cargo for shipping is easy enough to do. It doesn’t take a genius. But, it does take care, precautions, and sometimes experience. Hopefully, this list will help you complete your first freight order without any hiccoughs.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Freight Forwarding

If you’re new to the import/export industry, there’s a good chance that you have some questions about freight forwarding. For some people, it will come as a surprise that you don’t just deal directly with the shipping companies. For others, there will be questions about the process and the best way to make things work. And that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with

#1 What is a freight forwarder?

Freight forwarders essentially work as an intermediary. Their role is to coordinate the movement of large containers of goods between suppliers and the transportation companies that will move them. Whether that be via road, sea, rail or air.

#2 What exactly do freight forwarders do?

In short, the freight forwarder’s job is to handle all aspects of transportation on behalf of their clients. They find the best prices and the shortest/quickest routes. They deal with import/export paperwork, customs clearance and insurance. Many will also arrange the storage of goods.

#3 Why do I need to consider working with a freight forwarder?

Unless you have a lot of free time and a lot of industry knowledge, transporting goods anywhere is a big and complicated job. There are many plates to spin. If you have a dedicated team who can keep track of all the nitty gritty pertaining to your shipments, then you don’t need a freight forwarder. If you are intending an ad hoc approach, then a freight forwarding service is the best idea. It’s too easy to fall foul of legislature. And the last thing you want is for customs to seize your shipment because you’ve failed to dot the i’s.

#4 Do freight forwarders handle all cargo?

No. Every country has its own list of prohibited goods. If you’re trying to send something you shouldn’t be, a freight forwarder will not work with you. As a general rule, it’s also reasonable to assume that drugs, flammable items, toxic items, weapons, and alcohol will be refused.

#5 Can I send perishable goods via a freight forwarder?

If you’re willing to use an express service, most freight forwarders will handle perishable goods. However, it’s important to note, that your freight forwarding service can not be held responsible for shipping delays. If there’s a strike in your country of destination, roadblocks, or bad weather, it is beyond their control. They will work to ensure that things get moving as soon as possible. But, sometimes soon is not soon enough. That said, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’d face the same problems if organising your freight directly.

If you’re working at volume, a reliable freight forwarder can be a hugely valuable business connection. They can save you time, money and stress. If you find a good one, they will treat your cargo as if it were their own. Do your research. Seek reviews. And enjoy a beneficial relationship.

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Weird and Wonderful Customs Restrictions from Around the World

When you hit on a new idea for a new market, the export business can be highly lucrative. Spotting that gap in the market – and fulfilling it – brings its own kind of buzz. But there’s one thing that all exporters need to be aware of: international customs.

There’s a temptation to think that staying on the right side of customs and excise is a matter of common sense. Don’t try to transport any illegal substances, anything that might pose a biological threat, or anything that requires a license (unless you have that license) and you’re pretty much sorted, right? Wrong! While those are good principles to adhere to, some customs restrictions defy all logic, with even the most innocuous items being banned in certain countries. Here are some of the strangest.

Bizarre Items Banned by International Customs

Algeria – Toothpaste

Fluoride is looked upon negatively in many countries. In Algeria it’s so frowned upon that they won’t let you bring any toothpaste – or other dental products – with it in the ingredients list into the country.

Nigeria – Ballpoint Pens

Can you think of a more harmless item than the humble ballpoint pen? It’s the sort of item that you stick in your pocket without even thinking. Yet even a stray one left in the paperwork of your shipment could cause you problems in Nigeria. The country, which has a bit of a reputation for banning odd objects, currently has a ban on the import of all ballpoint pens and their parts, including ink refills… Although you are allowed to take in the tips.

Nigeria also has a ban on spaghetti, noodles, all forms of cocoa, wheelbarrows, toothpicks, tableware, and second-hand clothing. Among many, many other things!

Unites States – Kinder Surprise Eggs

They’ve been the stuff of British childhood for decades, but those scrummy chocolate eggs with their fun hidden toys are barred entry to America as a health hazard. Which seems a little odd in a country where carrying firearms is legal! The packaging of the toy inside the egg is considered a choking risk, and all such products have been banned since 1930.

Saudi Arabia – Christmas Trees

As an Islamic theocracy, there’s not really much call for Christmas trees in Saudi Arabia. But, the outright ban on them is a bit of a downer for the growing number of westerners working there. Christmas 2018 has seen a number of exchanges on social media between the public and customs officials.

Fiji – Holy Water

Right. So, the first question has to be: How has the import of holy water become such a big thing as to make into customs legislation. And the answer is that Fiji is the home of three religions that encourage pilgrimage: Christianity, Hinduism and Muslim. And what do you bring back from pilgrimage? Holy water, of course. While the Fijian government have no problem with holy water per se, most of it isn’t certified as cholera- and typhoid-free, which makes it understandably unappealing. If, however, you can get your hands on a bulk load of the stuff and are prepared to get it tested and certified, you might find yourself with a very profitable market!

Morocco – Maps

It’s absolutely fine to take a map into Morocco – as long as it complies with the country’s view of who owns a strip of desert in the western Sahara. They do, btw. Not the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic… Unless you’re in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Then it’s theirs.

Singapore – Chewing Gum

Chewing gum has been banned in Singapore since 1992. The reasons given are numerous, but they include: the clean-up bill of discarded gum and the prevention of vandalism to the MRT – Singapore’s version of the tube. Sticking gum on the door sensors stopped them from working properly, this caused largescale disruption prior to the ban.

South Africa, Mexico, India – Matching Pairs of Shoes

Shoes are big business. Consequently, in these three countries, you’re allowed to import shoes, but only if none of them match. It’s a way to gain a foothold in a lucrative market… ahem.

So, what’s the lesson here? Basically, do your research before buying your stock and organising your freight forwarding. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty surprise when the customs men come a-knocking.

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Freight of the Future – What Can We Expect of the Industry in Years to Come?

With so many developments in autonomous vehicles, when discussing the future of freight, driverless transport is the first thing that comes to mind. But is it really a likely reality? And are there any other more pressing changes ahead that the freight industry needs to prepare for?

What you should be expecting in the future of freight

Automation of systems.

There are so many ways in which technology has changed business in the last few years. The cloud has revolutionised admin, communication, office systems. Tracking is now easy and reliable. Security has been augmented. Automated distribution is expensive, but it’s already been embraced by a number of companies – Ocado is the perfect example. The probability is that it will soon be embraced by more, including those working within freight. And there’s little doubt that other areas of technology will keep evolving.

Autonomy of transport.

Automation really is a thing and it’s already beginning to happen. Self-driving trucks have been on the roads in Southern California since 2017. However, there are still numerous reasons why they’ll not be putting UK drivers out of jobs anytime soon. Not least, the fact that laws haven’t yet been made for them – if a malfunction leads to a pedestrian death, currently there is no liability. There’s also a major difference between the open roads of California and the congestion of inner-city London, making refuelling an issue, not to mention navigation – of streets and people.

Increasing costs.

The rates associated with both air and ocean freight have been on the rise for some years now, and that seems unlikely to change. With Brexit on the horizon, there’s a strong chance that other levies will increase too – including import tax. This could have a knock-on effect for your customer base.

Staffing.

Another area of the industry that could be directly impacted upon by Brexit is staffing. Freight isn’t the only sector facing this problem, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. With fewer qualified workers available, there’s a strong likelihood that you will need to increase your wages in order to retain and attract quality staff.

Co-operation.

We’ve already seen this happening. Smaller freighters can’t hope to compete against the international brands alone. But if they work together, their numbers make them mighty. With land and sea experts collaborating with those who specialise in airfreight, or companies in different geographical areas joining forces, suddenly the small firm is able to take on the big man.

Customer experience.

Customers now expect more from the businesses they work with. Technology has welcomed in an ‘on-demand’ ethos. And that applies to everything, from delivery timescale to booking and query/complaint response. Going forward, customers are likely to expect even more control over, and complete transparency in, the services they pay for.

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How to Protect Against Cargo Theft

Ah, Christmas. Don’t you just love this time of year? Sales are up. Stock is flying out. And the chancers are filling their boots, bags and articulated lorries at every available opportunity. In the cargo industry, it seems that Christmas is not so much a time of giving as of grabbing everything that can conceivably be lifted – tools, fuel, parts, vehicles, and, of course, cargo. Theft is a problem at any time of the year, but with so much stuff flying around in the run up to Christmas, the losses can take on epic proportions. So, what can you do to protect your stock?

 

5 Ways to Protect Against Cargo Theft

 

#1 Keep quiet.

It’s nice to think that you can trust the people around you, but the fact is that the more people who know what you’re sending and where it’s going, the more likely it is that you’ll encounter losses. Keep both cargo and drop-off locations – and thus routes – on a need-to-know basis. This reduces the opportunity for the freebooters to do what they do best.

 

#2 Audit your distribution centre.

Unfortunately, a lot of cargo theft takes place before it’s left the supplier. More still takes place thanks to employer collusion – your workers may not be taking the goods themselves, but they may get a cut from a guy with a big white van for a tip-off on cargo details, destinations, planned routes and number plates. An inventory management system, which allows you to track who has dealt with which shipment and when can make catching the light-fingered and loose-lipped considerably easier. If you need to get rid of suspect employees, do it. Surveillance can help with this. If someone has got away with something for long enough, over-confidence will eventually give them away.

 

#3 Know your supply chain.

If you use an external logistics company, get to know the people you’re working with. Choose a brand with a strong, positive reputation, and make enquiries about their security measures. Plexus Freight, for example, has company-wide policies to ensure full staff discretion, internal audits and staff reviews are regularly carried out, and all personnel receive in-depth security training. Getting to know the carrier and driver schedule, and verifying driver identity at pick-up time can also prevent a lot of issues. If you don’t know a driver and they claim not to have ID, call the main office to authenticate before handing over any goods.

 

#4 Use technology – new and old.

GPS logistics trackers have come down in price considerably in recent years, so if you’re experiencing a lot of theft, it could be worth investing. Likewise, with in-house couriers working with high-risk goods or areas, geofencing solutions are available. And never underestimate the power of a hefty great padlock when it comes to theft deterrence.

 

#5 Driver awareness.

A massive amount of ‘slash-and grab’ cargo theft takes place when on the road. The SCREEN cargo theft report for Q1 2018 states that it accounts for 63% of all lost cargo. Some of this can be prevented by adhering to the previous pointers of auditing staff and limiting knowledge, but driver awareness is also key. If parking up overnight, Plexus Freight drivers only use designated, well-lit rest spots. Doors are locked at all times, whether the vehicles are occupied or otherwise. Every driver is trained in safe parking practices. All vehicles are alarmed. And if drivers notice any suspicious activity, they call it in. It seems like common sense, doesn’t it? Not all companies implement such procedures.

The cost of cargo theft has escalated significantly in recent years. With the UK economy still struggling after the recession and in light of Brexit, there’s no reason to expect that this will change any time soon. Whether or not your company becomes a victim is down to the decisions that you make now. Here’s hoping that your Christmas is free from fa-lalala-la-la-la-la-ing looters.

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