There are two main peak seasons in the shipping year; September to November for imported goods, and February to April for exports. Many businesses take advantage of the increase in sales during these periods, but too few anticipate how the sudden spike in activity can affect their shipments.
Getting your shipments on time during these periods is a high priority for you and your customers. To help get your product to your customers’ hands-on schedule, freight forwarding companies offer some neat tips and tricks:
Get your customs documentation in order
One of the major delays for deliveries is incomplete customs documentation. Make sure all your paperwork is in order, especially for new products that you haven’t shipped before. Keep an accurate record of all commercial invoice line items and assign a fair value to all free of charge items as well. Better yet, work with a freight forwarder that offers customs clearance services, particularly if your business is new – it helps to use a ‘one-stop shop’. We can help you comply with customs requirements, avoid tax implications and keep to your delivery schedule.
Expect higher freight charges
Due to the high volume of cargo coming in and out of ports during peak seasons, freight rates can often be higher than other times of the year due to the demand on services – no matter what mode of transport you’re using. To avoid higher freight costs you could choose a slightly longer transit time which could save you money. The key is to book early so that your cargo will get to its port of discharge within schedule. With careful planning, you could save money and avoid delays.
Ship goods ahead of time
During peak season ports and warehouses can be extremely congested, so allow plenty of time for loading, shipping and unloading. Always schedule pick-ups and deliveries days in advance to avoid delays. For instance, if you’re transporting goods via air freight, book at least 6-7 days ahead of the cargo ready date. If you’re shipping LCL cargo, book at least 14 days prior to the estimated time of departure. Coordinate closely with your freight forwarder to come up with a schedule that works for both of you.
Keep customers in the loop
Letting your customers know the status of their shipment will make things easier for you. Clearly explain how the shipping process works and when they can expect to receive their order. You should also send them notifications while the product is in transit and when it arrives. We can help you with updates on your shipments which you can use to advise your customers. This way you won’t have to keep answering queries about where shipments are.
Any business can survive any peak season by understanding buyer behaviour and managing customer expectations. It also doesn’t hurt to find a freight forwarder who can cater to all your import and export needs.
Sneddens is happy to help you with all your freight forwarding and customs clearance needs. Talk to us today and we’ll take care of your shipments for you.
How to Take on the Holiday Shipping Rush, Staples.com