If you believe that all shipping companies are essentially the same, and that all you need to do is compare prices to choose one, you’re not alone. It’s a common misconception.
In reality, there are significant differences between standard shipping providers and those that specialize in customized crating, packaging and shipping. Understanding what the differences are can help you determine if your goods will be fine with a traditional shipping company or if those valuable assets would be better handled by a company that provides tailored shipping solutions.
Unique Characteristics of Specialty Crating, Packaging and Shipping Logistics Providers
You need to get some items from Point A to Point B, and the items are of average size, value and sturdiness. If that’s the case, most any shipping company can probably handle your request reasonably well.
But if the items are large, awkwardly shaped, expensive, fragile, hazardous or have other characteristics that make them hard to transport, you’ll want to work with an organization that has extensive experience with those types of goods and materials. Why? There are many reasons, including that a specialty crating, packaging and shipping logistics company provides:
- Commitment both to on-time and safe arrival of your shipment. Every shipping company will do its best to get your items to their destination within the specified timeframe. However, many don’t have the same commitment to ensuring the safety of your shipment. They may simply throw a minimal amount of packing material around your items and hope that doing so prevents damage. This “roll of the dice” might produce acceptable results, or it might not.
- Comprehensive assessment of your unique needs. A specialty crating and shipping company starts every engagement by fully understanding your needs and the requirements for protecting your assets. That’s the only way to ensure your shipment gets from origin to destination in a safe and timely manner. Traditional shipping companies often take a more “templated” approach to projects.
- Superior protection for your assets. After assessing your unique needs, a crating, packaging and shipping provider leverages the experience of trained packaging engineers to determine how your items should be prepared for transport. This includes specific packaging, bracing and crating techniques. The custom blocking, bracing and crating used to secure valuable assets come together in some truly impressive feats of engineering.
- Experience with a wide range of items. Companies that become known for their expertise in tailored shipping solutions tend to be sought out by organizations and individuals with very unusual requirements, and with each project completed, the company’s skill grows. The benefit to future customers is that unlike traditional shippers that primarily handle standard projects, these companies have ample experience to draw from when they’re asked to handle an item they’ve never seen before. You’ll often hear their experts say, “This is similar to that project last month where we moved [fill in the blank.],” and they can use what they learned in that engagement to address this one.
- Focus on in-transit environmental challenges. Forces like shock and vibration aren’t the only considerations when transporting goods. In-transit environmental conditions need to be addressed as well. For example, sensitive items may be adversely affected by humidity when shipped as ocean freight. Consequently, they need to be placed in a vapor-barrier bag with a desiccant material and have all moisture removed using a specialized vacuum system. A traditional shipping company might not take these critical steps, and items may arrive with corrosion damage, including internal corrosion that isn’t visible.
- In-depth knowledge of international shipping regulations. Most shipping companies can arrange for a shipment to reach a foreign destination. Not every provider understands all the nuances of international shipping. For instance, there are strict requirements regarding the use of wood crates to transport items and the need to heat treat the wood to reduce the risk of pest infestation. Failure to adhere to these “ISPM 15” regulations can result in a shipment being destroyed by customs officials. And that’s just one factor that a specialty crating and shipping company can address to ensure shipments are admitted to a country without delay.
- Hazmat capabilities. Many standard shipping companies will refuse to ship hazardous items. Leading specialty shippers, on the other hand, are willing and able to pack and ship hazardous materials in adherence to 49 CFR, IMDG, IATA and ICAO regulations.
- White-glove service availability. If you have items you need to ship that are high-value, fragile or have other special handling requirements, a standard shipper may or may not be able to provide a higher level of care. A crating and shipping company can provide white-glove delivery.
- Advanced logistics capabilities. In addition to their own expertise, specialty packaging, crating and shipping logistics companies are more likely to have a worldwide network of alliances. Through these entities, the providers gain insight on shipping trends and how best to get shipments from their point of origin to their destination. This helps clients save time and money, and also avoid potential pitfalls.
- A partner relationship. Specialty crating and shipping companies can provide expert assistance on a single project, but they also strive to look out for a client’s best interests going forward. For example, they can produce reusable crates or provide hard shell cases that simplify shipping and help companies control costs. Traditional shippers are more likely to see projects as “one and done.”
Learn More About Specialty Crating, Packaging and Shipping
If you’re unfamiliar with the capabilities that specialty crating, packaging and shipping logistics providers have, a good first step is to contact a company like Craters & Freighters. We can talk with you about what you need to ship, where it needs to go, and roughly what the cost would be.
Even if you don’t currently have a specific shipping project in mind, getting a sense of your options can help you make a decision quickly regarding shipping providers when a need arises. You can also get answers to frequently asked questions to help you understand the types of services we provide, from item pickup and delivery to complete business/plant relocations to cargo insurance.