Shipping cargo can be quite tricky for those who are doing it for the first time because you will soon find out that the final bill might go beyond the published rates if you’re not careful. There are plenty of factors that might affect your freight costs, but fortunately, most of them are preventable and controllable.

Safeguards such as freight, defense, and demurrage insurance are recommended proactive means to protect yourself and your business against losses.

Setting Up a Predictable Shipment

Published rates are usually the typical fees charged and the real cost of shipping will depend mostly on the item itself, the mode of transport, and the destination. To avoid surprises, here are five ways to ensure that your expenses are within your budget range.

1. Provide accurate dimensions and weight

Cargo is quoted based on these two factors, so you should be able to give your shipper accurate details so that you can prepare a budget. Items that are bigger than the shipping container or heavier than the allowable weight will be subject to higher fees. Accuracy also helps you find the best and most cost-effective ways to get your load to your destination.

2. Be mindful of proper packaging

Protect your cargo by ensuring that it is packed properly. Sensitive items should be palletized to ensure that no damage occurs during transit. If you’re unsure about your options, ask the forwarder about the best means to secure your items.

3. Be aware of delivery schedules

Shipments that are time-critical should follow delivery schedules to the letter, so you should be mindful of transit times. Otherwise, you could end up with spoiled goods or be fined for holding cargo too long at certain locations.

4. Learn the requirements of shipment locations

Be ready to give information about the requirements of your origin and destination because carriers might charge extra to pick up and deliver to certain types of docks. Would they need special equipment to do so? Would they require specific types of vehicles to reach you or your destination? These are the factors you need to consider when managing your expenses.

5. Dispatch your shipments in advance

By dispatching cargo as far as possible from the due date, the shipping company is given ample time to schedule pickups and deliveries. Demurrage is issued when your items have been sitting at the terminal for too long and, hence, a per diem penalty is given. Advanced shipments allow you to foresee and plan movement dates and times, so none of your cargo sits wherever for a long period.

Why You Shouldn’t Take Insurance For Granted

trucks loading shipping containers at the destination

While shipping companies offer a guarantee that your items will arrive at your destination safely, this is not a 100% promise. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of unforeseen circumstances that can affect your delivery. That is why having insurance is important, especially if you have high-value items and bulk shipments.

Insurance can cover not just the state of your cargo but also the holding times at terminals and ports that might go beyond the allowable hours or days. This way, you are prepared in case unexpected issues come up and you don’t have to worry about losses from damage or paying the exorbitant fines.