Shipping goods across the nation is a highly responsible job, not to mention with considerable stakes riding on it. Truckers need to drive safely, abide by a lot of regulations and systems, all while ensuring that the goods are in proper condition.
In June 2020, about $56.5 billion freight was moved across state borders in North America, a 44.2% increase from May, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. No wonder the trucking industry in the US leads the world. In fact, the size of the industry leaves the GDP of 150 countries behind, as per a report by Linchpin SEO. The same report also reveals that it employs more than 5.8% of the working population in the USA. The economy of the country depends on the trucking industry. And of course, it’s imperative that there be the least possible damage to the freight being carried.
If you run a trucking business or are an owner-operator, you should know what causes the most damage to the goods and take steps to minimize the impact.
No matter how careful one is, mistakes keep happening all the time. Doors may be left open, temperature gauges read wrongly, the cargo may be dropped accidentally, broken, or damaged during transport – it’s all possible. Any type of freight good can incur physical damages. Most of the time, these damages are not covered by insurance, and the entire load can go waste.
What to do – One has to take extra precautionary measures while packing the goods. This apart, the truckers and associated workers should be made aware of the proper handling of goods to reduce the physical damages during transit. Using the power of technology to monitor things like the opening and closing of doors and keeping a close eye on the temperature of reefers is also key. Educating independent contractors is also important, as they may not get access to the damage-reduction training of full-timers.
This happens to be the second-most important cause of damage to the goods, especially food, medical supplies, and other day-to-day consumer products. Temperature changes, condensation levels, container sweat, and other reasons may be damaging for the goods, even rendering them unusable. About 10% of all the damages the cargo goods suffer from are related to moisture, according to a report by Arviem.
What to do – It’s not possible to prevent moisture build-up in a shipping container completely. But you can always use desiccant pads, blankets, and bags for sensitive goods to enhance protection through increased isolation and proper ventilation. Moisture-absorbing desiccant bags are quite effective but they can’t stop the condensation completely. Another method that can be used to prevent your goods from getting spoiled due to moisture is using IoT sensors and advanced tools to help in real-time monitoring of the temperature inside the containers. They can provide you with notifications and alerts for temperature alterations, thus helping you take necessary steps faster.
Faulty reefer containers
Overused reefers that have not been checked for quality for a long time can also contribute to the damages. Temperature changes are the main cause of these damages, especially to emergency supplies, like medicines, healthcare equipment, and food. A stable temperature is critical for these products and any damage that can’t be identified with the naked eye can lead to major health consequences, creating legal hazards too.
What to do – Truckers should check their reefer containers from time to time to ensure they are working perfectly. This apart, trucking companies should also install advanced tools and IoT devices inside the vehicle to get immediate alerts on any abnormal temperature changes. Anti-humidity materials should be used to prevent the condensation rains from damaging the goods, and the doors and seals should be checked frequently during transit to see if they are in the right condition.
Both liquid and solid freight goods carry the risk of contamination, if not properly protected. For the liquid goods, the tanks may already be contaminated, thus increasing the chances of damage. And for the solid loads, the containers may be susceptible to rust, odor, or contamination by previous goods.
What to do – The owners/operators should ask for ‘tank cleaning certificates’ from the tank operators and also provide them with all the information about their load in advance. Also, if the container will be carrying food, one should get an A-grade or food-grade container for the same.
Insects, bugs, and rodents
The freight cargo may also get damaged by insects and bug infestations inside the container. If some insects can wipe out food crops entirely, imagine what they can do to the goods being transported over long distances. Even one insect or pest is dangerous for freight. This apart, rats inside a vehicle are known to be highly damaging to any type of goods. Even if these animals die inside the container, they can contaminate the entire freight. This apart, holes in the timber or frass goods can invite pests and termites to inhabit them.
What to do – Cleaning the containers regularly is important to eliminate such issues. One should also be careful about the cleaning materials used, especially while carrying food or medical supplies. Care should be taken to understand the right ways of cleaning. This apart, every package should be checked for signs of infestations, including cardboard boxes and plastic wrapping, besides inspecting both the insides and outsides of the container.
Some risks are always present and all you can do is take precautions from your side. That’s the way to ensure the goods you deliver are in the best possible shape when they do reach their destination. That’s the way to minimize penalties and super-charge customer trust and relationships.