If you’re new to international shipping, freight preparation can be a steep learning curve. Understanding the shipping process and what will happen to your good en route can be enormously helpful when working out packing and logistics. With sea freight, your cargo not only needs to be able to withstand the vibrations or road transport and the shocks common with loading. But with the movement of the ocean, that can see goods subjected to surges, sway, pitch, yaw, roll, and heave. Which can put significant strain on your packaging. So, how should you prepare your goods for sea freight?
Six Tips to Prepare Cargo for Sea Freight
Get your packaging right
Different goods require different packaging techniques. From boxes and crates to pallets and shipping containers. Which ever option you select, the key is to use adequate packaging. To not over-stuff any containers, and to stack them sensibly. If you’re using pallets, it’s always wise to wrap them and to avoid overhang.
Make sure your goods can be easily handled
If you’re using a shipping container, you don’t really need to worry about this. The requisite features are integrated. But if you’re using pallets or boxes, you need to be aware that your goods will probably need to be moved more than once. So, ensure that stacked goods are within the height and weight guidelines of your freight forwarder. Ensure that any pallets used are in good condition – many people are unaware that pallets deteriorate with use and age. And make sure that any boxes are properly closed and taped to avoid loss and damage throughout the journey.
Be aware of weight restrictions
Freighters have a limit to the weight of goods they are able to carry. So, while the maximum weight allowable by the shipping company may be massive, you still have to get your goods from your depot to the docks. And then on to their final destination. So, it’s also worth keeping in mind that different countries can have different restrictions.
Check your paperwork
If you work with a freight forwarder, they will help you to get your paperwork in order. But if you’re going solo, your paperwork should be your number one priority. For goods going to Europe, this will include your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, customs declaration, HS classification code for your goods, your commercial invoice, relevant licenses, and certificates of origin, amongst other things.
Ask your customers for feedback
When shipping goods, it’s really important to remember that you will probably never get to see the condition of your cargo when it reaches its destination. So, talk to your customers. And find out if – in their view – you’re doing anything wrong. This is one of the best ways to avoid losing customers over silly mistakes.
Don’t forget insurance
Cargo insurance is often viewed as an optional extra and unnecessary expense to new exporters. But in the right – or wrong – circumstances, it could save your businesses from administration. While reputable freight forwarders will all have carrier insurance, if the worst happens and your goods are lost or destroyed, this will only cover a fraction of their value. And there are many circumstances in which carrier insurance won’t cover your goods at all. Investing in cargo insurance is always a sensible move.
Sea freight is one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods of moving goods. But that doesn’t mean that you can go into the process unprepared. The best way to ensure that your goods reach their destination intact, is to work with a reputable freight forwarder. And take precautions to ensure that your cargo is protected at every step of the journey.
Contact Plexus Freight to find out more about shipping freight to and from Europe.