How to Reduce Cross-Border Shipping Damage

shipping damage

Cross-border shipping comes with its own set of hurdles and challenges. One of the biggest issues constantly tackled by shippers is how to reduce shipping damage.

See, in order to move a truck full of goods from one country to the next, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost is the fact that your freight might be pulled off the truck for inspection by Customs agents at the border. This means more hands on your products. And if the freight must be moved from one carrier to the next, that means even more hands on the boxes, and more jolting around.

Furthermore, you also have to take into account the difference in terrain in some areas. One big bump or pothole while making is able to fling goods being around in the container and possibly cause damage.

Dealing with concealed damage and the potential for freight damage when shipping cross-border is real. Needless to say, it is something all shippers should be prepared to deal with daily. And since cross-border shipping is quickly becoming a hot topic, being aware of the threats can better prepare shippers for them.

In this blog post, we will provide you with the 3 best practices for preparing freight movement into Mexico. Of course, with the thought of reducing shipping damage in mind.

By following these 3 steps, you can significantly reduce the potential of concealed damage upon arrival. Doing this will improve customer service, reduce damage claims, and ultimately produce higher revenue streams. 


What Causes Concealed Damage with Cross Border Shipping? 

Before we dive too deeply into this subject, it's important to understand that cross border shipping introduces many different potential threats or risks. Many of these, quite frankly, don't occur when shipping within the United States. 

In most cases, when you ship with an LTL carrier, the freight is offloaded and reloaded at regional terminals. In some situations, a shipper will work with an LTL carrier that operates in both the United States and Mexico. Most of the time, these situations work out well for reducing freight damage. The reason being is because this type of carrier is more likely to enact safer load and unloading practices. They are accustomed to stricter rules and regulations and that carries over into the international shipping side of the equation, as well.  

Some shippers, however, will transfer their LTL shipping between two different carriers. Usually one of them US-based and the other, Mexican-based. While this can help with freight insurance protection due to international shipping regulations, it also introduces the potential for damage to occur during the transfer.  

Furthermore, and as we discussed in the introduction, there is a multitude of reasons that shipping damage occurs. Bumpy roads, inexperienced drivers, and even poor packing on the shippers part could all play a role. Just because it is an international shipment doesn't mean that it is guaranteed to suffer damage. On the same hand, just because a shipment is only carried through the US does not mean that it will suffer no damage.

Damage can happen literally anywhere. However, the risks are indeed higher with cross-border shipping.


Cross Border Shipping Best Practices to Reduce Shipping Damage 

In order to reduce the potential of shipping damage, a shipper should follow these three, very simple steps. These are easy to implement best practices for the packaging and receiving of your precious freight.  


Double Check the Pallet!

Before you load any products onto a truck, it is critical that you properly prepare the pallets or boxes for this delivery.

Is there any structural damage to the pallet? Are the boxes stacked correctly, largest and heaviest on the bottom? Are all of the tie downs securely fastened? Fastened to both the cargo as well as the pallet? 

Once you have done all of your initial checks, go over it one more time. When you are certain that your goods are securely loaded onto the pallet and can handle the ride without tipping over, you're good to go.

As a word of advice, it is also a great idea to partner with a 3PL that can help you determine what shipping requirements you need to fulfill. Having a second set of eyes that can also answer any questions that come up, is an invaluable asset.


Take Multiple Pictures and Video of Initial Loading

The second thing that all shippers should do before sending freight across a border, is document the loading process.

In some instances, having a digital record of the condition of freight at the pickup origin is enough to satisfy insurance carriers. If they can see that the shipper did everything within their power to protect their freight, they usually are comfortable enough to take care of the situation.

Seriously, do not skip this step, especially if you are dealing with a specific carrier for the first time.


Have the Recipient Complete the Same Verification Steps

Finally, it is important for any shipper to communicate with their customers about the proper steps for receiving their merchandise.

Ready for one of the best recommendations for the final steps of the delivery? Check this out...

Anytime a delivery driver pulls up to their dock, your customer should be there to accept it. With their mobile device in hand, they are able to record the initial opening of the container. If the customer opens up that container and finds damaged merchandise, the responsibility falls on the carrier. You already have proof that it left the warehouse undamaged so long as you took pictures per the previous step. 

Having the proof that damaged occurred while in transit makes a big difference in processing damage claims. Not to mention that it saves your company from having to jump through hoops to prove no wrongdoing on your end.


Final Thoughts

Of course, the best way to reduce the majority of shipping damage is to work with a 3PL company. Preferably, one that specializes in this specific service.

Not only can a 3PL help you to navigate the complex process of international shipping, but they ensure your products make it to their destination. And they make sure it arrives completely unscathed. They do so by utilizing only the best technology, packing methods, and reputable carriers.

Additionally, as new trade agreement becomes ratified, new regulations on cross border shipping into Mexico and Canada will be introduced. An experienced 3PL like the team here at Redwood Logistics stay on top of these changes. We effectively communicate with clients and ensure all shipping efforts remain in compliance. 

If you have any questions about cross border shipping or how you can reduce shipping damage, contact Redwood Logistics today