High-value goods are one of the most critical shipping items and require particular care in terms of handling. Any unforeseen circumstance can send your air freight schedule off-track, such as goods being moved between carriers, or loading bays. Cargo being detained during customs clearance or delayed in customs warehousing. It’s enough to give a logistics solutions manager nightmares! The solution is having door-to-door visibility of your cargo’s movements and control throughout the shipping cycle, without adding unnecessary costs.
Read on to learn how to improve the security of shipping high-value and valuable goods, minimise the stress involved and ensure your customers are satisfied.
Please note: When talking about high-value or valuable goods, one needs to differentiate between valuable cargo based on the IATA definition (meaning goods valued at over $1000 USD per kilo) and goods of high value but not falling under the IATA definition. Depending on your product and your specific requirements you need to decide which kind of shipment you require. The services for valuable goods like watches, jewelery or bank documents that are valued at over $1000 USD are at a premium price and will therefore receive even higher security standards and escort service. We recommend to discuss your specific products with your air freight forwarder. The following recommendations can be considered for both types.
1) Pack goods protectively
Packing your high-value air cargo to survive worst-case handling can reduce pilfering and damage. Proper packaging makes cargo easier to handle. While airlines do their best to provide appropriate handling equipment and utilise automation in the handling of high-value goods, your packaging is also crucial. For example, if your goods are not palletised or are unstable in nature, they cannot be moved by forklifts or other types of equipment. This means manual handling may be required, which can increase the risk of damage through mishandling. Use tamper evident packaging (TEP). This kind of packaging includes a barrier or indicator that shows visibly or audibly that it had been opened. Further, use packaging that does not indicate the content of the package to minimise attracting additional attention.
Ensure you read the packaging guidelines for your chosen air freight carriers, and that goods are packaged in a way that allows for the most efficient mechanical or automated handling. Always monitor your cargo route.
2) Choose direct flights to avoid damage through multiple handling
Long air freight routes with multiple destinations involve multiple trans-shipment points and a longer transit time. Airlines are likely to offer their lowest prices for these routes in comparison to standard direct flights. This price difference can be very tempting, to the point a logistics manager might not check on the finer details of the end-to-end route.
Keep in mind that multiple handling of your cargo increases the chance of damage during multiple loading and unloading process while your cargo is in transit. Make safety your highest priority and try to avoid sending high-value goods on routes with multiple connections. If direct flights are available for your route, they will always offer better security and reduced risks due to minimal handling.
3) Prepare detailed documentation
With air freight services, your high-value goods go through multiple mediums and are handled by a number of different parties including the airlines, surface transport and customs clearance agents. As the product moves through these channels, there are risks at every stage. In case of any pilferage, damage or other undesirable circumstances, undefined accountability and incomplete documents can compromise your ability to make any claims for compensation. When it comes to high-value goods, logistics managers should make sure the cargo has detailed documentation that sets out accountability matters and associated risk. Make sure it is signed at the time products are handed over for consignment.
4) Insure your goods to cover damages
Predicting damage and ensuring they are avoided is nearly impossible for any logistics manager. That’s why it is vital to insure air freight cargo against loss, damage or other eventualities. Think of the insurance premium as an investment in protecting your company’s bottom line, rather than an expense. There are many types of insurance available, and many offer flexibility to choose between insurance on a cargo-by-cargo basis, or a yearly basis. Assess the risk associated with your high-value shipping and select the coverage that is best for your business.
5) Take the stress out of shipping high-value items
High-value goods are always a big responsibility for logistics managers. They require an added level of caution when managing the supply chain operation, which is why the security of air freight is a wise choice. However, while airlines and governments have ensured the applicable rules and regulations add to the security of the medium, the logistics manager has an important role to play in terms of:
- Ensuring best-practice packaging
- Selection of carrier and routes
- Appropriate documentation
Alignment with a professional air freight forwarder can assist in this regard, as it also improves the level of and visibility – ensuring your goods arrive efficiently and safely at its destination.
For more than a century, BCR has continued to help small, medium and large businesses achieve an optimum logistics solution with warehousing and transportation, including air freight and sea freight services to and from the major ports including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).