If your company is shipping a load valued at $100,000 or more, you should take every step possible to make sure your cargo is protected. Here are five ways you can greatly lower the risk of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a failed shipment.
1. Check your insurance coverage. First, you need to know the value of your shipment. Generally, anything worth more than $100,000 is considered high value. Then, you need to understand the extent of your carrier’s liability coverage. If you are moving a $500,000 piece of construction equipment and the carrier’s liability policy only covers $300,000, you could be liable for that shortfall. Insurers of trucking companies also limit coverage by adding exclusions to their policies. As a shipper, it’s important that you understand those exclusions.
An all-risk shipper’s interest policy can cover any insurance gaps in a shipment without the need for the shipper to prove liability. These policies are fairly affordable: a $600 premium, for example, could get you up to $500,000 in coverage. In many cases the carrier’s insurance or your own property insurance policy will be sufficient in protecting you from any potential loss. However, it’s crucial to know how much coverage is provided on a shipment and what your possible exposure would be.
2. Use only reputable carriers. When working with a brokerage or a carrier, understand the process they have in place for selecting the best possible drivers and equipment. What is the broker’s requirements for carrier safety scores and insurance coverage? Is the trucking fleet or owner-operator familiar with your industry and have they moved similar shipments before? Having a vetting process in place can help you find the best possible trucks and drivers, and ensure safe, timely shipments.
3. Know the load requirements. High-value loads often involve moving oversized or over-dimensional equipment. That means you may need to secure government permits and escorts to move the shipment properly. Big shipments also require a lot of pre-planning: how many trucks are needed, what is the best route and when can heavy traffic be avoided? Working out the details of every shipment will help protect your cargo and avoid the chance of a driver or dock worker making a decision that could cost your company more money.
4. Take extra steps to reduce risks. Unfortunately, cargo theft is on the rise and has become increasingly sophisticated. Make sure the carrier you work with uses sealed and enclosed trailers, and that any valuable materials on a flatbed are shrink-wrapped. If your shipment is going to be parked for a significant amount of time, make sure the carrier uses facilities that have 24-hour surveillance cameras. If you are shipping used equipment, be sure to conduct a pre-trip inspection, as any damage to used equipment during a shipment is hard to prove.
5. Enlist a transportation partner. Transporting high-value freight is often complex and involves many different functions. A third-party logistics or transportation management company can serve as an all-in-one resource for procuring the carrier, helping with insurance, planning the route and keeping deliveries on schedule. Enlisting a transportation provider with a network of carriers, a rigorous compliance team and logistics expertise can save your company time and resources, while reducing the risk of something going wrong with your shipment.