Friday, January 29, 2016

Project Freight Forwarding Expert Offers Advice to Less Experienced Shippers

Early Notice, Avoid Busy Periods and Speak to a Professional are the Key Factors
Shipping News Feature
UK – WORLDWIDE – Sometimes it is wise to note that all one’s readers might not be as well versed in the world of shipping as others. For someone coming to the early stages of an import or export movement, from a single item to a vast heavy lift or project cargo consignment, the whole process can be a daunting prospect. Last month freight forwarding group, Allseas Global Logistics Chief Operating Officer, Terry Churchill, via an in house interview, chose to offer an insight into various things to consider when undertaking a shipment, the key points of which we have included here.

The essentials for consideration are according to Churchill are the same as for any journey, forward planning and avoiding peak periods. Undoubtedly the best way to extract the most satisfactory deal overall, he opines, is to speak to the experts, those who know that particular market. One of the main complaints from freight forwarders and road haulage operators is the little time so often given to them to undertake the movement in hand. A shipper may have an order date in advance but only confirms details to the transport outfit at the last minute, without realising this often results in extra costs.

Obviously there are times when things are urgent but with the difference between a bill for $1,000 for a 20 foot container by sea, as against a potential invoice up around $50,000 for an equivalent movement by air, customers need to understand early transfer of information is of the essence. Churchill says:

“The more time you have to look at it and work it out, the better. If it’s a case of ‘I need a price by 5pm’, then we don’t have much time to make calls and see if there’s a better deal out there. If you can project volumes, you can negotiate better rates. You should be looking for planned distribution as opposed to ad hoc shipments [and] the more lead time you have, the better rates you can access. Often people just ship goods because the goods are ready but, if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t choose to ship in the October/November pre-Christmas rush.”

These key points escalate in importance when the movement is a heavy lift or project cargo consignment, something that Allseas specialises in. Last year the company undertook the relocation of the Hornby warehouse, established in Margate, Kent 60 years previously. Although only an 11 mile transfer to new Canterbury facilities, the project had to be planned with extreme precision so that the operation of the iconic model maker could continue uninterrupted. The scale of the operation was captured by time lapse photography (viewable here) and illustrates perfectly the complexity of such undertakings. Terry Churchill continues:

“Part of your internal planning should be to appoint your forwarder as early as possible, especially in projects, so you proactively design and plan between you. [With large pieces] you can save vast amounts of money if you plan how you are going to transport the item. Transport options should be discussed at the very beginning, before the item is built or even designed.”

The full interview with Terry Churchill can be read here.