Shipping is a complex process that should always demand careful planning and diligent logistics. However, what many new entrepreneurs may fail to recognize is that shipping needs will change throughout the year. In some parts of the world, the summer season brings torrential rains and high humidity that demand special precautions to prevent product damage. However, much more threatening to most shipments is the winter season, which promises low temperatures, darkness and, in most places, ice and snow.
If you have never prepared for shipments during the winter season, your business might suffer due to more than a few serious shipping mistakes. Here are a few of the most common winter shipping mistakes that you can avoid with careful planning.
You Don’t Know How Your Freight Is Affected by Cold
The absolute biggest mistake you could possibly make when it comes to winter shipping is assuming that your shipped goods will not be affected by freezing-cold temperatures during transport. In certain environments, the interior of cargo containers can become as cold as the exterior air in a matter of hours, and many materials and products are remarkably susceptible to damage from extreme cold.
You can learn more about how your goods behave in different temperature ranges by utilizing freeze indicators on your packaging. If your winter shipments continue sustaining damage, you can check your freeze indicators to better understand how the cold might be causing that damage. Then, in the future, you can use indicators to inform you whether your shipments have entered dangerous thresholds, so you can accept or reject shipments with greater ease.
You Didn’t Package Your Freight for the Cold
You might not need to invest in temperature-controlled containers to keep your shipments safe during the winter, but you should still strive to protect your shipped goods as best you can through proper packaging. First, you should avoid creating empty spaces within your packaging, as the empty air will drop in temperature much faster than any materials you could use to fill it. Synthetic foams and natural fibers will hold in heat and keep a more stable temperature close to your goods to keep them safe. You might also cover your shipments in cargo blankets or pallet covers for another layer of insulation.
Additionally, you should consider where inside the shipping container your shipment will be placed. If you have any control over the packing of the truck, you should try to keep your goods as close to the center of the container as possible and as far from the container walls as possible. During the winter, the walls will quickly fall in temperature to match the outside air, and packages close to the walls will also experience freezing temperatures for most of the trip. Thus, you can keep your goods warmer longer by stacking them properly in the container.
You Don’t Know About Seasonal Weight Restrictions
During the winter, many roads become slick with melted snow or ice, which makes heavier vehicles much more difficult and dangerous to operate. Thus, some regions place weight restrictions on shipping containers during the winter season. It is a mistake to ignore weight restrictions; doing so could put your drivers at risk and also risk the safety of other motorists on the roadways. What’s more, carriers found exceeding weight restrictions will be subject to serious fines, and your business might not have the extra budget to account for these fees. If you have control over how full you pack your shipping containers, you should be careful to research any potential weight restrictions that might apply to you and be careful to follow them respectfully.
You Didn’t Consult Weather Reports Before Shipping
Shipping is not possible in all types of weather, and winter weather events can be particularly disruptive. If you regularly ship through regions that see road closures due to snow, ice, wind and other types of winter weather, you should get in the habit of checking weather reports throughout the cold season. Then, you can more effectively schedule shipments during periods when they are not as likely to be waylaid by inclement weather, and you and your customers can avoid disappointment due to late shipments.
Every season brings shipping challenges. Fortunately, by finding solutions to the troubles that come with shipping during winter, you can keep your products safe and your customers happy during this most dark and difficult season.
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