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Biggest Mistakes Shippers Make

paperwork1This is a section we are developing to help shippers avoid mistakes that can cost them in terms of money or service.

We invite you to send us your contribution.  Identify the mistake, and how it can be avoided.  We will compile select contributions and list them here. We will not use names or references, to specific products, shippers, consignees, carriers, or other entitities. We reserve the right to summarize and integrate multiple responses.

All comments published on this site become the property of the Shippers Resource Center. Send us your mistakes.

Here are ours for LTL shipments:

Failing to Package the product adequately. 
Most damage occurs  because of a combination of inadequate packaging, and poor handling by the carriers.  In any case, the chances of you recovering 100% on damage claim are becoming less and less, as carriers are increasingly declining claims because of inadequate packaging.  Review your packaging and make sure it can consistently withstand the rigors of transportation…even if a carrier were to provide less than stellar handling.

Not Adequately Inspecting Product prior to Signing for the Delivery Receipt
Your chances of recovery are significantly reduced if the damage isn’t noted on the delivery receipt.  Inspect all sides, including the top and bottom.  Statements such as “subject to further inspection” without also noting some visible damage doesn’t do much good. If you notice damage mark it on the delivery receipt.

Vague product descriptions and other “sloppy” Bill of Lading” completion
Using wrong freight classes, vague descriptions and round weights are an invitation for the carrier to “reweigh and research” the shipment.  They charge for this.  More importantly, if you’ve used this information for getting a rate quote you can throw the quote out the window.  Make sure you do the research in advance on the proper shipping description, NMFC item number and freight class.  Also, get as accurate of a weight as possible.  If you don’t have a large scale to weigh a pallet, total the weight of each item shipping and add in the weight of the pallet and other packaging (most standard wood pallets weigh approximately 40 lbs).  When tabulating, don’t use a round number like 400 lbs.  One or two pounds additional should be posted in.