The shipping industry can be complex and constantly changing, much like a challenging puzzle with moving pieces. For those involved in shipping freight and managing logistics for a business, this means facing a series of obstacles.
In this article, we delve into five prominent issues that shippers frequently face. However, our primary objective is not only to identify and discuss these challenges but also to offer comprehensive solutions and recommendations.
1. Tracking Shipments
Effectively tracking shipments is vital but can pose a significant challenge depending on the carrier that you choose. Not all carriers have reliable tracking systems or the technology to provide timely updates. This might give you a delivery date but with few real-time updates, or sometimes updates that aren't very reliable.
At Averitt, customers have access to shipment visibility through our website, automated SMS and email notifications (E-Notifications), and our around-the-clock, centralized customer service team. Additionally, we offer a host of data integrations, including EDI and API feeds, to seamlessly connect our systems with those of our customers. These offerings provide shippers with accurate freight tracking and necessary support at every turn.
2. Getting the best price
Regardless of what you're purchasing, ensuring you're getting a fair price is often a top priority. However, determining if you’re getting the best price can be difficult – especially when it comes to freight transportation.
In many cases, freight quotes are based upon a fixed market price. Fortunately, dynamic pricing technology is making shopping for freight rates more flexible and transparent than ever before.
But remember, the cheapest option isn't always the best one. Cutting cost on the shipment might sound great, but what you pay in damages could end up costing you more in the long run. It’s important to find the right balance between price and service quality.
Averitt’s dynamic pricing tool, ExactRate®, uses various real-time factors to provide rate quotes for shipping freight. For instance, you might get a lower price for shipping on a specific day of the week or if your shipment is moving in a specific lane that has more capacity at a given moment in time. We also offer Averitt Connect, a direct-to-carrier transportation management software that lets you compare rates from different carriers, helping you choose the rate quote that’s best for you.
Dealing with damages during transportation can be costly, and while both the carrier and the shipper share this responsibility, some issues can be traced back to improper packaging and palletizing.
- Secure Stacking: Stack items in a way that ensures stability and prevents collapsing or shifting during transport.
- Use of Strapping and Stretch Wrap: Employ strapping or stretch wrap to bind items firmly to the pallet to help maintain integrity during handling.
- Sealing and Taping: Properly sealing and taping packages helps avoid any exposure to external elements that might compromise the content.
Watch the video below to learn about the "rigors of freight in transit."
For more comprehensive insights on safeguarding your freight and optimizing your shipping processes, download our Freight Protection Guide!
4. Port Congestion/International/Cross-Border
Dealing with international cargo, whether it’s arriving or departing, can be a logistical nightmare. This is especially true when your port of choice is congested, resulting in delays. Navigating through this complexity can be exceptionally demanding, given the inherent unpredictability associated with ports and border crossings.
Exemplifying the fickle nature of managing international cargo, there have been occasions when congestion in the Panama Canal surged, due to restrictions on the number of ships allowed through the waterway.
To mitigate the potential for delays in international shipments, opting for a service provider with diverse transportation and logistics capabilities is crucial. At Averitt, we leverage our five service units to help get around congestion and sail through the rocky waves of international cargo.
For instance, when encountering congestion at the Port of Charleston, Averitt can redirect to the Port of Savannah, leveraging their services to bypass delays that come with multiple carriers. The Averitt team collaborates internally to assist with transloading, intermodal transport, and more to ensure your freight stays on track.
5. Freight capacity
Freight capacity is a highly dynamic and unpredictable aspect of the shipping industry.
Managing freight capacity is like balancing on a tightrope, where market demands can quickly shift, resulting in either too much or too little space. Adapting to the varying demand requires meticulous planning and a deep understanding of logistics.
A discrepancy in capacity can lead to delays in shipments, higher costs, and potential disruptions in the supply chain. Understanding and navigating freight capacity challenges is crucial for businesses to meet delivery commitments and maintain operational efficiency.
The most effective strategy for navigating these challenges within the shipping industry involves establishing a partnership with a dependable and high-quality carrier. This carrier becomes an integral part of your success.
When you form a partnership with a dependable service provider that possesses a robust infrastructure, highly skilled teams, and a diverse array of solutions, it helps you handle the complexities of the industry. By building a solid partnership with such a carrier, shippers can strengthen their ability to handle operations, work more efficiently, and guarantee that their cargo arrives safely and on time.