The 7 Golden Rules for Shipping Sensitive, Temperature-Controlled Shipments

The world of shipping is a complex one which requires heavy attention to detail. This is especially true for temperature-controlled shipments, when a minor mistake can lead to disastrous situations such as unusable product or long-term delays. If you are shipping sensitive, acclimate-controlled freight, you should follow these 7 rules to ensure that it arrives on-time and in proper condition.

Rule 1:Collect all relevant information prior to shipping

In order to minimize the likelihood of errors or delays, it is vital to do your homework before sending a product out. It is imperative that close attention is paid to weather patterns, construction updates, and holidays. These should be constantly reviewed throughout the life of the shipment so as to prevent unnecessary delays. If the destination is experiencing inclement weather, all parties should be aware of this ahead of time so that they can prepare for potential re-routes or altered handling instructions. It is not acceptable to arrive with damaged freight simply because you didn’t know that the weather conditions were unfavorable. Likewise, you should be educated of any holidays at your destination that may affect scheduling or traffic. Pre-shipment preparation is key in helping to ensure on-time delivery. If everyone understands how sensitive the shipment is, you will greatly reduce your risk of failure.

Rule 2:Establish regular and effective communication between all parties

Today’s shipments almost always involve at least 5-7 different organizations, and this can make communication very challenging. At the origin, you may have a manufacturer, freight forwarder, ground handler, and airline that are all involved with the shipment. The destination could have the airline again and another ground handler, as well as the consignee, broker, and trucker. It is very important to make sure that all of these parties are aware of the sensitivity of the shipment and that they are kept up-to-date throughout the entire process. This includes notifying everybody about the expected arrival of the shipment and any special handling instructions that may be involved. All parties should be given the opportunity to review the documents and instructions before the shipment is sent on its way.

Rule 3:Tarmac Time

The longer your freight is on the tarmac, whether at the origin or the destination, the more likely it is that it will be exposed to out-of-range temperatures or face extreme weather conditions. While many airports use special equipment such as cooling dollies to diminish this risk, it is still important to reduce your tarmac time as much as possible. Ask yourself how long your freight has been on the tarmac, and if you can expect the airline to provide that information to you. Often, customers are unaware of how long the freight has been on the tarmac.

Companies such as EZR Group have found unique solutions that involve placing inspectors on site at the airline. This helps them to obtain all pertinent information in real time. Having eyes on the ground at the airport on site allows them to expedite all of the necessary procedures.

Rule 4:Arrival to warehouse / damages

Most airlines use ground handlers these days to carry out their warehouse operations. Still,these handlers are overloaded with work and often suffer from insufficient manpower. While they will do everything that they can to prevent damage, you can’t always depend on them to operate at maximum efficiency levels. Many companies utilize loggers to track the freight’s location, temperature, or humidity to get a better picture, problems arise when they are noticing an excursion live and can do nothing about it, since the ground handler can take hours to act.By keeping your temperature-controlled shipments visible and traceable, you are helping yourself and your customers, as well as all of the companies involved with the shipment to minimize risks.

Rule 5:Airline / Ground Handler Station Capabilities

The stations you work with play a major role in the health of your sensitive shipment and your ability to maintain a strong on-time delivery score. Poor station performance increases the chances that your shipment will be delayed or exposed to poor conditions. You should always make sure that every station – especially the destination station – is capable of providing you the services that you need to maintain the proper temperature and conditions for your freight. This includes having the proper transportation and electrical support for storage, as well as a supply of dry ice for shipments that require it.

It is your duty to have a dependable backup plan in case of failure, whether it is by cross-docking or utilizing another warehouse within the vicinity.

Rule 6:Ask the right questions

You are required to carry out all preliminary checks but doing so does not mean that your job is finished. You must keep an inquisitive nature and make sure that there are no unanswered questions prior to shipping your product. It is advisable to have eyes on the ground at all relevant sites. Having an inspector can help you to reduce the risk of damage and make sure that all handling instructions are strictly enforced.

Rule 7:Ground Transportation

You can follow all of the above steps, but if your trucker is unreliable, you may still end up with a damaged or delayed shipment. You must always do your best to work with well-regarded truckers that use proper equipment and maintain a strict on-time record. Diligent, well-trained drivers will help ensure that your shipment arrives on time and without damage. This includes showing up to the facility before the freight arrives. A dependable driver will wait for the freight rather than making the freight wait for him or her.

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