How to Save on Shipping Rates
First cut costs… then compare rates
International shipping rates are often extremely steep, and the further you are looking to transport goods the more expensive the whole exercise becomes.
One of the best ways to bring down quoted rates and save yourself money is to package goods yourself rather than employ professional packers to do it for you. By cutting out the middle men; you not only stand to make substantial savings, but you can also be confident that the job’s been done properly.
Then it’s simply a case of using the web to compare shipping rates and find the best deal.
The following are a few basic guidelines on how to effectively package goods for shipment without the aid of a shipping company:
Whenever possible always use new, corrugated boxes with rigid sides and no tears or punctures. Make sure that you choose a box that is durable enough and large enough to hold the goods that you are planning on shipping. Boxes should always be significantly larger than the goods that are to be packed in to them so as to accommodate for internal support and packaging. If you are reusing a box, make sure that you have removed all labels from previous shipments before packing the box.
Goods should be placed in the centre of boxes and surrounded by internal cushioning such as bubble wrap or polystyrene chips. Make sure that as you pack you continuously update the inventory of items that are to be shipped and clearly label boxes so that they correspond directly with items on the inventory list. Sharp items should be individually wrapped in bubble wrap AND surrounded by internal cushioning so that they do not touch the sides or corners of the box. Liquids should only ever be stored in hermetically sealed containers that are designed to withstand pressure. In the case of fragile items it is best to buy specially reinforced wooden or cardboard boxes that are pre-fitted with separators.
Check the bottom and sides of boxes for the maximum weight that boxes can hold and never exceed these specifications. High lift forks are often used to lift boxes into shipping containers, and if goods are too heavy there is a good chance that boxes may break and goods will be damaged. Similarly, boxes that are under filled are likely to collapse as soon as they are lifted off the ground, so make sure that boxes are substantially filled with internal cushioning.
The seams and corners of boxes should be properly sealed using pressure sensitive plastic tape that is at least 6cm wide. Before you seal the box, it is a good idea to write both your current address and phone number as well as the address where the goods are being shipped to on a piece of paper and place it inside the box. This will enable personnel to locate you should anything happen to external labels during shipping.
Finally, it is advisable to pack goods on wooden or cardboard pallets before they are loaded. Pallets provide additional external support and make it possible to minimize the amount of space taken up by boxes. Use the pyramid principle when you pack and load the heaviest, largest boxes onto the pallets first and leave the lightest, smallest boxes for last. Once all your boxes are loaded onto the pallets, use bands, shrink wrap and tape to secure them into a single, compact package that can easily be loaded into a container.