The best freight management, drayage, and intermodal transportation companies have qualities that go beyond just getting your shipment from point A to point B in a timely manner; they also excel at making sure that your cargo gets to its destination safely, in one piece, and undamaged.
With extensive experience doing this kind of highly-skilled, closely-monitored and well-regulated work, your freight management specialists achieve this lofty but essential goal by implementing and enforcing certain policies, precautions, and procedures.
What are the most important procedures for keeping cargo safe during transit?
There are many industry specific procedures that are used to keep cargo safe and arriving on time, but there are 7 that stand out as the most important:
- Using only highly-trained, experienced drivers with the most advanced/sought-after certifications (i.e., Haz Mat, etc.). A responsible freight management company’s policies also prohibit the use of:
- fatigued drivers
- unqualified drivers
- the improper or unauthorized use of transportation vehicles
- the use of unsafe vehicles on the highway
- CDL standards violations
- inadequate inspection, maintenance and repairs of vehicles
- Assiduously enforcing the Code of Federal Regulations, which includes but is not limited to:
- Making sure that all cargo is properly secured & distributed
- The driver’s view and ability to maneuver isn’t obstructed or hampered in any way
- Transporting vehicles/conveyances are properly inspected and maintained for each trip
- Making sure that weight regulations and restrictions imposed by the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways are abided by, including not exceeding the 80,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight for tractor trailers—except where lower weights are determined by the bridge formula;
- Making sure that designated transporting routes provide or meet safe geometrics and vehicle/load supporting capacity—i.e., a) severity, sight distance and length of grades, width of pavements, horizontal curvature, load limits and bridge clearances, shoulder width, intersection geometry, and vehicle mix and traffic volumes. Said routes possess lanes with at least 12 feet of width; they furthermore don’t possess peculiar characteristics promoting anticipated or current problems.
- All appropriate forms of designation (e.g., Form BOC-3) being filed on time and accurately, as required of all Motor Carriers, Freight Forwarders & Brokers. Failure to file such designations/forms can result in penalties and in clients of freight management companies having their cargo’s delivery delayed. A designation agent is someone the government can serve with penalties & inquiries.
- Training all freight loading and handling personnel to follow the best and most up-to-date loading techniques and systems, including:
- Placing heavy & large freight at bottom of loads;
- If the trailer, container or flatbed is only partially loaded, the weight is evenly distributed;
- Empty spaces are properly filled or secured in order to avoid products from collapsing into said spaces; etc.
- By bonding shipments/cargo, the warehouse, the yard, and personnel; by storing cargo in safe and well-maintained warehouses and yards, where cargo will be protected from:
- inclement weather
- By simplifying and offering on-the-spot government oversight:
- National Cargo Bureau (NCB), USDA, FDA, Fish & Wildlife, US Customs & SGS Inspections
- An official Centralized Examination Station (CES)
- Assuring all oversized/overweight/bulky “flat rack cargo” meet steamship line & port terminal specifications & limitations (lessens risk of mishaps or cargo being delayed or denied planned conveyance)
- At all times maintaining and providing top-notch and well-coordinated communication, ensuring that any changes are handled seamlessly, thus avoiding delays and mishaps. Communication should be maintained at every level of the freight operation, including:
- warehouse management
- office staff
- cargo loading & transporting personnel
- oversight agencies/personnel, etc.
- Expertly consolidating shipments into standardized containers, avoiding unloading and reloading multiple times. This can be especially important for vulnerable products, such as:
If you have ensured that your freight management company covers all of these bases, you can rest easy that your shipments will be conveyed safely and on time, to their proper destination.