What is some advice for a 1st time shipper? What can I do to ensure my customers are happy?
Well first, make sure you understand that Freight Forwarding is both an art and a science.
Many companies and handlers are involved in moving your cargo. Here are just a few possible examples: Trucking companies outbound, Crane Operations transferring container from truck to train, and train to ship. That’s just to get the container to the ship, then the reverse happens on the other side…it’s a REALLY rough ride, even in good weather. Not only just the loading, but making sure getting everything to where it needs to be on time as well. Everyday we plan accordingly to traffic, as well as the times alternate routes may take, so we always have a couple back up plans if something unexpected happens.
Always be organized at your best as well, because once something is misplaced or goes missing, many other problems stem off of this. This principle applies to your cargo as well, making sure its accessible at all times and making sure you're making the most out of the space in you location.
What or How can I prevent delays?
Firstly, make sure your supplier, or if you are the supplier for an export shipment, creates all of the necessary documents correctly (packing lists, commercial invoice, original bill of lading, etc) and in a timely fashion, so that all documents are provided with the necessary banks and sent to you or your consignee on the bill of lading at least 1 week before cargo arrives at the destination so that everything can be processed through customs ahead of schedule and freight can be paid along with presentation of the original bill of lading. What we try to do for our truck drivers is always have back up plans just incase an accident happens on the freeway and causes a pileup or if their is less-than-ideal weather. These precautions can help establish different customers and a positive reputation.