shipping mistakes

Shipping Mistakes Commonly Made: How To Avoid Them

Shipping freight can very quickly become an extremely complex process with a ton of different moving parts. And for new shippers, it can be incredibly daunting to navigate the intricacies including packing options, documentation and different insurance options. However, it’s super important to avoid commonly occurring shipping mistakes that inevitably lead to delays, damaged goods or additional costs.

Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes that are most common among shippers and figure out how you can steer clear of them πŸ˜„.

1. Listing the Wrong Address

You wouldn’t believe how common transcription errors are! This is one that we see on the regular, and although it seems like an easy fix, listing the wrong address on a shipment can cause significant delays and additional costs. This is because once that shipment is on the road or in a ton of cases delivered before the mistake is picked up and corrected, the cargo needs to be entirely re-routed to the correct address πŸ›£.

The Fix:

To minimize transcription errors, avoid using auto-fill when completing delivery information and always double, even triple-check any information you provide your shipping partner with. Ultimately, ensuring you provide correct data will save on timely delays, and extra costly delivery expenses and keep your customers happy 😊.

2. Bill of Lading (BOL) Errors

A Bill of Lading (BOL) is a key piece of documentation required for every freight shipment. It’s a legally binding document that provides carriers and truck drivers with all of the information and details necessary for accurate invoicing and processing of the freight πŸ“.

A Bill of Lading must include the following information:

  • The shipper’s information, including name and return address
  • The consignee’s information (receiver of freight) name and address
  • The carrier information, including business name and address
  • A signature from the carrier to confirm the receipt of the shipment
  • The date of the shipment
  • The number of units in the shipment
  • The exact weight and dimensions of the freight
  • Freight classification of the items being shipped
  • The declared value of the freight
  • Type of packaging used
  • A detailed description of the cargo involved
  • A purchase order number, used between the shipper and carrier to track the shipment
  • Any special and specific requirements for the shipment, including temp sensitive, fragile, etc.
  • If needed notes on the stability of the freight, like hazardous material, etc.

Because of the considerable amount of detailed information required on a BOL for each shipment, it’s no surprise that shippers sometimes accidentally input wrong descriptions, weights, dates or other specific information.

The Fix:

Again, our number one recommendation is to check, check and check again all of your documentation. When you can, even have someone else check what you’ve input, a second pair of eyes is always better than one! Even if this seems unnecessary, minimizing discrepancies can save a ton of time and money.

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3. Not Thoroughly Checking Deliveries

Once a shipment has been delivered to its destination, the standard process is for the recipient to thoroughly check over the cargo to inspect for damages and/or missing pieces, etc. The Bill of Lading (BOL) ^ as we’ve mentioned above must be compared against the freight that has been delivered. Once the BOL is signed by the consignee, this is proof that the goods arrived in the same condition as what they left their shipper in and how they’re described on the BOL ✍️.

The Fix:

So NEVER sign for a shipment, until you’ve thoroughly inspected the freight in question because in the cases where there is damage that goes unnoticed, the carrier will no longer be held responsible if that BOL is signed.

*This is another reason why it’s super important to get the information on the BOL correct.

4. Overlooking Freight Insurance

One of the extremely common shipping mistakes that shippers constantly make is trying to save a nickel and dime by avoiding paying extra for freight insurance. Cutting out this cost in the short term is cheaper, however, if you’re a frequent shipper the likelihood is at some point you will encounter damages or loss to some cargo πŸ˜‘.

The Fix:

Now, weighing up whether you need the added cover is entirely down to you. Although, the general rule of thumb is that if your freight is valuable then paying the relatively small amount for the extra protection is well worth it in the long run!

5. Improper Packaging

Damages caused by using improper packaging are a significant driver in costs in freight shipping. This could be insufficient cushioning to fragile cargo or simply using the wrong type of packaging for specialized freight πŸ“¦πŸ«§.

The Fix:

If your freight is valuable, special or NEEDS to get to its destination in pristine condition then we’d recommend investing in high quality packaging materials that suit your freight types. Use enough padding material to absorb shocks and vibrations throughout transit and for the extra high value and or fragile items perhaps even consider custom built crates.

6. Failing to Plan for Peak Seasons

Shipment volumes often surge during peak seasons like holiday periods, failing to plan for these changes in demand can lead to capacity constraints, delays and increased costs πŸŽ„πŸ£πŸ¦ƒπŸŽ‡πŸŽƒ.

The Fix:

Forecast your shipping needs waaaaay in advance if you can and make sure you book your shipments in early with your carrier to secure capacity!

How Can PEI Help?

Shipping mistakes are not always completely avoidable, because human error is always a possibility. However… if you focus on accurate documentation, thoroughly checking your cargo on receipt, making use of appropriate packaging, having strong communication with your carriers and also figure out the best insurance deals for your kind of freight, then you can ensure your goods arrive safely, on time and within budget.

We’re always on hand to help with any concerns, queries or questions you may have. When you ship with us, we’ll make sure to always point you in the right direction and meet your needs with the utmost care and precision, avoiding any shipping mistakes. You can count on us! 😊


Need help with any of your specialized shipments?

At PEI we’re experts in dealing with specialized freight and can handle yours with any custom requirements.


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