Whatever mode of transport is used, freight forwarding requires specific processing and special attention. In this field, where the deadlines are often very tight, it’s important to master the logistics in order to deliver the orders on time while ensuring good transportation conditions. Here are 4 steps to follow when it comes to freight forwarding.
1. The Preparation of the Merchandise
Whether the merchandise is travelling by truck, rail, or boat, over short or long distances, it’s essential to pay attention to its packaging, as well as the preparation of the documents, in order to ensure shipping in the best possible conditions.
- The cardboard box is ideal for air or road transport. Well sealed, it should let you prevent losses
- The crate, which can be more or less strong and light, is better suited to fragile materials and those that must be handled with care
- The bag is perfect for transporting clothing. In addition, it protects against moisture and optimizes loading
- The pallet lets you group several packages together. It can be filmed and encircled to protect the packages from moisture.
The packaging must allow for safe handling during both loading and unloading, regardless of whether the goods are transported by hand or on a pallet. The packaging must also be designed to withstand the entire trip.
The shipments of goods are then organized and – where possible – grouped together in batches.
2. The Identification of the Merchandise
Poor package identification is frequently a source of delivery errors or loss of merchandise, so it’s essential to include – in a readable manner – the following basic information on the transport document: the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, the number of packages, their weight and volume, the file reference number, and – if necessary – handling instructions. Additional information, such as a contact name and a telephone number, often helps facilitate delivery. This information is usually grouped together on the bill of lading. This document is also used as proof of loading and delivery in case of problems.
3. The Warning Symbols and Transport Pictograms
There are two types of pictograms that can be affixed to goods.
- Those concerning the proper handling and transport of the goods: fragile items that need to be handled with care must have explicit shipping labels on their packaging
- Those concerning their danger: dangerous goods must bear specific markings and be accompanied by a material safety data sheet (MSDS) and a shipping declaration.
4. The Inspection of the Merchandise
Each good that is ready for shipping is inspected, both in terms of the packaging chosen and the pictograms used. The transport documents are also verified in their entirety.
Freight forwarding must follow a certain number of steps to unfold in good conditions and to allow the carrier to load the packages quickly and hassle-free. This is even truer for international shipments: not only are the transport times generally longer, but the shipment also includes a customs clearance phase, which requires a declaration and documents drawn up by a customs broker.