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Tips for Securing Temperature-Sensitive Cargo

temperature-sensitive

Tips for Securing Temperature-Sensitive Cargo

When it comes to securing temperature-sensitive cargo, it is imperative to take the situation seriously. It may sound silly, but a few degrees up or down may ruin your precious belongings.

Running a temperature-controlled warehouse comes with a lot of difficulties, so it’s best to do thorough research. After all, customers are putting their trust in your hands. With that in mind, let’s see what you can do to make sure securing temperature-sensitive cargo goes without any issues.

Tips for securing temperature-sensitive cargo

Securing temperature-sensitive cargo is one of the common warehouse problems you might encounter. To solve this issue in the best possible way, you should always follow good tips and best practices. The three most important categories to cover are packaging, handling, and transportation.

Packaging process

The packaging process for temperature-sensitive cargo has a couple of steps. It might sound like a lot to do, but it’s best to cover everything and secure the cargo.

Test packaging and products

As a first step, it is important to figure out what packaging to use for what product. To determine this, a series of tests are required. You must know how packaging and the products react to different weather conditions, shock, impact, compression, etc. There are a couple of different protocols you can follow: American Society of Testing & Materials, International Safe Transit Association, etc.

The importance of documentation

As we already know, documentation is especially important for smart inventory and warehouse management. However, it also plays an important role when it comes to securing temperature-sensitive cargo. Every package that contains temperature-sensitive cargo should have proper specifications and labeling. The best is to perform an inspection prior to shipment. Furthermore, it is important to keep a copy of the report for at least 90 days.

Inspection

Furthermore, it is crucial to inspect the container for any defects. Inside should be clean, dry, and well shut. Any issue with the container may jeopardize the cargo. Before you load the container, make sure that the temperature matches what’s in the documentation. Refrigeration must work without any issues.

Handling

When it comes to handling, there are really just a few important things to take care of. First of all, you should provide all the necessary documentation to everyone who is involved in handling the cargo. Lack of information might result in improper handling and further may lead to damaging the cargo.

Also, everyone should have the proper equipment for handling temperature-sensitive cargo.

Transportation

Picking the transportation provider is one of the most important decisions to make. First of all, they must be punctual, and well equipped to transport temperature-sensitive cargo. Another great bonus is if they provide a claims-free loss service.

You should inform the driver of all the necessary information. He or she must have a copy of the documentation where the required temperature is stated. Furthermore, you should provide phone numbers to all the mechanical and refrigeration facilities in the case of an emergency.

Best practices for transporting temperature-sensitive cargo

Transportation providers should always follow best practices for transporting temperature-sensitive cargo.

For starters, they should provide quality trailers or containers, and have the monitoring equipment to track the slightest temperature changes during transport. Next, they should be familiarized with all the procedures of handling and storing temperature-sensitive cargo. Also, if there is a need for temporary storage, they should have all the conditions to perform this service.

Remember to ask for the transportation route to ensure that the cargo will be transported without delays and as quickly as possible. Finally, the transportation provider should also provide you with a 24/7 phone number for any support or questions, as well as the documented list of anyone that handled the cargo in the process. Whoever was included must have a certificate that he or she knows how to handle temperature-sensitive cargo.

Going the extra mile

The best way to go the extra mile for your customers is to offer more than they expect. By following all the procedures and requirements mentioned above, you are securing the cargo in the best possible way. Also, sometimes your clients may need additional services, like finding movers, storage units, etc. If you can go the extra mile and provide them with good contacts, like reliable companies, it will not go unnoticed.

Remember, it is crucial to get a positive review from your customers. Word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to advertise.

Tips for securing temperature-sensitive cargo – delivered.

Let me give a quick summary of all the procedures in order. First of all, both the cargo and the container should be properly inspected. Everything should be documented, and the documentation should be provided to everyone involved in packaging, handling, and transportation. The logistics provider should have all the necessary equipment to transport and store the cargo, and also to monitor any temperature changes.

By following these tips and best practices, securing temperature-sensitive cargo will not be difficult. Since different clients have different needs, it is important to be flexible, while making sure to follow all procedures and regulations.

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Mark Stephens is a blogger and a freelancer for preferred-movers.com. With the experience of over seven years working in the moving industry, he gladly shares his knowledge and expertise with his readers. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, and further researching new topic in the moving industry, so he can always stay up to date with the newest information.

eaglerail

THE EAGLERAIL HAS LANDED: CEO MIKE WYCHOCKI PUSHES A “NO BRAINER” WHEN IT COMES TO MOVING SHIPPING CONTAINERS AT CONGESTED PORTS

It’s amazing where new logistics solutions come from. They are usually born by veteran shippers with visions on how to improve an existing operation. Or it can be a customer or customers seeking help in conquering a specific challenge that eventually resonates throughout the industry.

Then there is the inception of Chicago-based EagleRail Container Logistics’ signature solution. It can be traced to a pitch meeting for a new monorail in Brazil that was attended by a port authority official who was there more as a cheerleader than a participant.

Watching a Chicago marketing man’s PowerPoint presentation about his company’s passenger monorail system to local leaders in São Paulo eight years ago, the port representative, Jose Newton Gama, marveled at how the magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains holding people would be suspended under overhead tracks.

Then the Brazilian known by friends as Newton raised his hand.

“Excuse me?” he asked the Americano. “Could your system be adapted to hold shipping containers?”

That had never occurred to project designers, whose monorail cars for passengers are much lighter than would be required for cargo containers hauled by ships, trucks and freight trains. But the marketing man shared Gama’s question with his colleagues in the Windy City, and that planted the seed that eventually bore EagleRail Container Logistics.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Wychocki was an early investor who eventually bought out that marketing man, but the first EagleRail system is named “Newton” after the Brazilian who now sits on the company’s board of advisors. “He’s a great guy,” says Wychocki during a recent phone interview. “Newton is our biggest cheerleader.”

Wychocki’s no slouch with the pom-poms himself, having pitched EagleRail at 40 ports in 20 countries over the past five years. His company, which has offices around the world, is developing its first prototype in China, and studies are underway at six ports as EagleRail sets about raising $20 million in capital. (The window for small investments had just closed when Wychocki was interviewed. His company has since shifted its focus to large investors.)

The way ports have operated for decades left no need for a system like EagleRail’s. Big ships dock, cranes remove containers stacked on their decks and each box is then moved onto the back of a flatbed truck that either hauls it to a distribution center or an intermodal yard. Until recent years, no one really thought of disrupting the process because, as Wychocki puts it, “you could always find cheaper truck drivers.”

However, truck driver shortages, port-area air pollution and congestion caused by the time it takes to load and unload ever-larger ships have prompted serious soul searching when it comes to short hauls. Expanding the size of ports is often not an option due to the cities that have grown to surround them. This has led to the creation of large container parks for trucks and/or freight trains within a few miles of ports, but getting boxes to those remains problematic—at a time when megaships are only making matters more difficult.

“There is an old saying that ports are where old trucks go to die,” says Wychocki, who ticks off as problems associated with that mode of moving containers pollution, maintenance and fuel costs, as well as the issues of public safety because some drivers essentially live inside of their vehicles, which can attract prostitution and leave behind litter and human waste. Adding even more of these dirty trucks would necessitate more road building, which only adds to environmental concerns.

With ground space at ports a constantly shrinking commodity, tunneling underground may be viewed as an option. But Wychocki points out that many ports have emerged on unstable ground like backfill, and water, power and sewer lines are usually below what’s under the streets beyond port gates. The idea of a hyperloop has been bandied about, but it would require emptying shipping containers at the port, loading the contents into smaller boxes, sending those through to another yard, and then repacking the shipping containers on the other side. “That defeats the whole point” of relieving port congestion, the EagleRail CEO says.

Ah, but every port has unused air space, which is what Wychocki’s company seeks to exploit. “If an Amazon warehouse can lift and shuttle packages robotically,” he says, “why not do the same with a 60,000-pound package? Go to a warehouse. See how Amazon works with packages. They use overhead light rails. It’s an obvious idea, so obvious. It’s a no brainer when you think about it.”

Yes, Amazon also uses drones, but can you imagine the size it would have to be to carry a 60,000-pound shipping container? Wychocki sees a suspended container track as an extension of the cranes on every loading dock worldwide, which is why EagleRail systems are also all-electric and composed of the same crane hardware to avoid snags when it comes to replacing parts.

However, Wychocki is quick to note EagleRail is not a total solution when it comes to port congestion. He calculates that among the short-haul trucks leaving a port, 50 percent are going to 500 different locations, many of which are different states away, while the other half is bound for just a couple nearby destinations. EagleRail is geared toward the latter, and the problem with getting containers to them “is not technological; it’s who controls the five kilometers between the port and the intermodal facility,” he says.

Lifting equipment at ports “is exactly the same in all 200 countries,” he adds. “The part that is not the same is the back end. What is the port’s configuration? Where do the roads come in? What we do is form a consortium and build it with each local player, such as the port authority, the road authority, the national rail company, the power company. Getting everyone involved helps get procurement and environmental rights of way.”

He concedes that getting everyone on board “varies by location,” but when it comes to environmental concerns “everyone’s kind of wanting to do this because it means fewer trucks, and the power companies would prefer the use of electricity (over burning diesel). It sounds harder than it is to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”

Wychocki points to another bonus with EagleRail: It allows for total control of one’s intermodal yard because containers come and go on the same circular route—all day long. “We take this on as a disruptive business model,” he says, noting that short-haul trucks generally involve the use of data-chain-breaking clipboards and mobile phones. EagleRail systems track containers on them in real-time, rolling in all customs paperwork and billing invoices automatically.

“It’s amazing, I just came from the Port of Rotterdam, where I was a keynote,” Wychocki says. “Even the biggest ports in the world like Antwerp were saying, ‘This is great. Why isn’t anyone else doing it?’”

Actually, EagleRail accidentally created direct competition. Wychocki explains that during the initial design phase, his company worked with a foreign monorail concern whose cars used what were essentially aircraft tires rolling inside a closed channel. Concerns about maintaining a system that would invariably involve frequently changing tires—and thus slowing down operations—caused EagleRail to reject that design in favor of another third-party’s calling for steel-on-steel wheels. The designer with tires is pressing on with its own system and without EagleRail.

“I’m glad we didn’t go that route,” says Wychocki, who nonetheless expects more serious competition once EagleRail systems are up and running. Fortunately for the company, there are plenty of ports bursting at the seams that cannot wait that long. Wychocki says a question he invariably gets after pitching EagleRail is: “Where were you 10 years ago? Usually, there is an urgency.”

That’s why “our goal was to get out of the gate fast, build market share and our brand and create a quasi-franchise network,” says Wychocki, whose business model has EagleRail owning 25 percent of a system while the port and other local entities own the rest.

He estimates that within 10 years, 12 EagleRail systems will be operating. If that sounds like a pipe dream, consider that his company’s newsletter boasts 3,000 subscribers before a system is even up and running. Wychocki does not credit “brilliant marketing” for that keen interest. “It’s because every port’s problems are getting worse. Everyone is squealing about what to do with these giant ships that cannot be unloaded fast enough. They are desperate.”

equipment

Report: Shortage of Equipment in the US & Northern Europe

Equipment imbalances and empty container repositioning is a problem that accounts for $20 billion for the shipping industry annually, but due to the Coronavirus it got even worse for most carriers or NVOs. Especially in the US or Europe, companies are starting to experience frequent equipment shortages. This is a direct result of the ocean carriers’ blank sailing strategy which is triggered by the low/no volumes on major shipping routes. Based on ocean carriers’ comments and the Container Availability Index (CAx), it is expected that this trend will continue, if not only worsen.

The CAx forecasts supply and demand in container logistics for most of the biggest port locations for up to three weeks. It takes millions of containers tracked through the Container xChange online platform into account and shows that compared to 2019, containers are piling up in China. It shows values of 0.47 (20DCs), 0.94 (40DCs) and 0.71 (40HCs) for week 10 in Shanghai, China – a plus of 47% compared to week 10 last year.

Usually, it’s the other way around, but now we have a deficit of containers in North America and Europe, CAx values for Hamburg, Germany dropped by 33% to 0.07 (40HCs), 0.45 (40DCs) and 0.47 (20DCs). For Los Angeles, US, with CAx values of 0.25 (20DCs), 0.19 (40DCs) and 0.11 (40HCs) and Chicago, US with 0.02 (20DCs), 0.01 (40 DCs) and 0.11 (40HCs) it’s even worse and the forecast says it will not get better soon.

As a result of the blank sailings, it forces mainly NVOs to hold empty equipment longer than usual, incurring more demurrage & detention charges as well as chassis fees or repositioning equipment, where available, in addition to possible interchange fees. Additional surcharges and costs include Peak Season Surcharges (PSS), Container Imbalance Surcharge (CIS), Congestion Surcharges (CNS) and General Rate Increase (GRI). Feel free to use the CAx to find out about the equipment available in your port location.

A solution for how the problem can be tackled is the neutral online platform Container xChange. It lets NVOs identify partners for repositioning or find SOC containers to completely avoid demurrage & detention charges initially because shippers owned containers have just to be returned at the partner’s depot. Just type in your locations and find new partners in more than 2500 locations online.