Freight insurance – is it worth it?

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These days you can insure yourself or you business against almost any risk under the sun. A handful of these insurances most businesses would not want to be without, and some in fact (such as workers insurance) are mandatory for most businesses employing staff. Others like Public Liability insurance will often be required in order to deal with certain customers, who want to be confident that if something really blows up, that their will be insurance cover in place to compensate them for their losses. Most professional services firms such as financial advisers and solicitors wouldn’t even consider operating without ‘professional liability’ insurance. On the other end of the spectrum you will find insurances which many people are comfortable living without, but others may choose to prioritise, things like sickness insurance, loss of income, etc. etc. You can even insure your pets.

Freight insurance is slightly different to the above mentioned insurances.  Freight and transport companies moving freight every day may insure everything they move, up to a certain value. However if your freight consignment is a ‘one-off’ – e.g. you’ve just bought a gym set on EBAY and you need a courier to get it from the sellers address to your own – then you should consider whether or not you wish to insure the consignment against loss and damage in transit.

What are the inherent risks of transporting goods by road?

If you’re moving something from A to B, there is no practical way to eliminate all risk. Even if you put the consignment into your own vehicle boot, there is no guarantee that another vehicle on the road won’t crash into the back of you, resulting in ‘loss or damage in transit’. The key difference with using a freight or courier company is of course that it’s a third party who is handling the consignment. Compare this to e.g. when you travel on a plane: your hand luggage stays with you, or close within reach, whereas the ‘checked in’ luggage is entrusted entirely to third parties. While both are at risk of loss or damage, if you had to pick between insuring only one of them, you’d probably opt for the checked in luggage.

Ultimately the decision as to whether or not to insure a road transport consignment is a question of how you wish to balance the risk. While risk cannot be eliminated, fortunately the two greatest risks “loss” and “damage” can be significantly reduced. The following rules of thumb are highly recommended, regardless of whether you choose to insure your consignment:

Package the goods securely and correctly.

This cannot be stressed enough. No amount of careful handling can avoid damage to an item which hasn’t been packaged properly, or which isn’t strapped properly to the pallet.

Mark the goods clearly and correctly

There are two reasons for this, and the first one is the most obvious – the goods will stand a very good chance of being delivered directly to the address you provide! But the second reason is just as important: should the consignment be temporarily misplaced, then a clearly marked consignment will stand the best chance of finding its way back to the correct depot, onto the correct delivery vehicle, and en-route to its correct destination, in the shortest possible time.

This article is general in nature and does not constitute legal, insurance services or other professional advice. 

 

Transport a Shipping Container

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Have you ever had to transport a shipping container, or watched one being loaded onto or off the back of a truck? Shipping containers get loaded and unloaded in a variety of ways. One popular method is using a side-loader. As the name suggests, a side-loader lifts the container straight up and places it almost directly next to the delivery truck. Another way to unload a shipping container is by using a crane – perfect for getting shipping containers up and out of tight spaces.

One of the most common methods use to get a shipping container onto the back of a truck, is by using a tilt-tray. These trucks have a specially designed tray which slides backwards and down towards the ground. Strong steel cables are fixed to both corners of the shipping container before it is then winches up onto the tray, similar to an ordinary tow truck.  Once it’s up on the tray, the tilted tray is lowered, the container fixed securely in place, and the driver is off and away.

Though most commonly associated with industrial transport, shipping containers are also used to transport bulky household goods. A couple or a small family might well be able to fit most of their household goods in a single shipping 20 foot container, and this can be a relatively cost effective option if the family is relocating interstate or over any longer distance. Ideally, the transport company would drop the container off and leave there for at least a few days, in order to allow sufficient time for the container to be packed as space effectively as possible. Then it’s just a matter of collecting the container, driving to the new address, and dropping it off for a few days, again, to allow the family time to sort their belongings and settle into their new home.

A 20 foot container is just over 6 meters long. If you’re planning to use a container to move house, make sure you measure the length of your driveway, to ensure that there is sufficient room. Using a tilt tray, and assuming there is a garage, fence, tree or other obstruction at the end of the driveway, the truck driver will need the length of the container plus around 3 meters to get the container safely onto the ground without damaging anything. This is due to the steep angle at which the container slides off the truck. If there is a risk of the container protruding over onto the foot path, make sure you contact your local council first, to check the regulations, and hopefully obtain permission to have the container there for the time you need it.

Need advice, or a quote on container transport? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our freight specialists!

The Overloaded One Tonne Ute Courier

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As the description of this popular class of vehicle indicates, the carrying capacity of the 1-tonne ute is limited to one tonne, or 1000kgs if you prefer. The length of the tray allows for 2 pallets back to back, with some space on either side for other miscellaneous items. A normal one-tonner without special modifications to the suspension, will not have any trouble carrying the full weight, even though visually it may appear that the tray is sagging slightly under the load. But there’s more to this than might meet the eye – unquestionably, one-tonners are frequently being asked to carry more than their specified maximum, and apart from the obvious safety concerns, this has broader implications for the freight industry, and courier drivers in particular.

Many Outgoing Consignments are Never Weighed
Have you ever wondered why courier drivers always seem to be in such a hurry? Many couriers drive their own vehicles, and are contracted out at job rate. There is a direct relationship between the amount of freight they transport, and the amount of pay they take home at the end of the day. While this in itself might not seem to be an issue, a problem begins to arise when the customer – i.e. the business paying to get their goods moved – takes advantage of the fact that a courier who’s short on time is probably not going to bother questioning the weight of the consignment being loaded up onto their vehicle. Don’t let anyone convince you that this isn’t common practice, especially, in the bustling “same day delivery” courier service which dominates our major capital cities.

Businesses Moving Freight Must Take Responsibility
A courier driver cannot be expected to accurately estimate the weight of what is being loaded onto their vehicle, even though one might well argue that they should ‘ask the question’ if visually, it appears that the load weight excessive. Also it’s not realistic to factor in ‘weighing’ time when picking up goods. The unfortunate fact is that when a courier driver turns up to pick up e.g. two pallet, each weighing 700kg, there are no good options available to the courier. Questioning the weight will waste time, which in turn can result in delays, and raise the question of who should pay for the consequent demurrage, a cost which the customer definitely wasn’t intending to incur when they accepted the original freight quote. Refusing to drive off with an overloaded consignment can result in the courier being reported as ‘uncooperative’ and the customer might request to not see that courier again. The third and perhaps most tempting option to the courier, will be to turn a blind eye to the obviously sagging ute-tray, and deliver the freight without asking any questions as to the weight, hoping perhaps that it will be a while until next time.

Courier Drivers Play an Essential Role in the Freight Economy
Businesses who depend on courier drivers to deliver their freight, shouldn’t try and see how long they can get away with understating the weight of the outgoing consignments. Doing so causes needless wear-and-tear on courier drivers vehicles, increasing maintenance and repair costs, costs which more often than not must be covered by the courier drivers themselves. Bulky item courier drivers play a vital role in the business economy, and should be entitled to expect that the freight being loaded onto their vehicles, is as described when the delivery was booked by the customer.

Transporting an Antique Dining Chair

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Here at Freight Quote we often find ourselves organising transport for fairly similar items. Boxes of stock and pallets make up the bulk of our business, so when we received a freight quote request from Andy who runs a Custom Furniture business in Brisbane, we were curious to find out more about more about them.

It turns out that they make many types of custom handmade furniture, and even offer to make furniture designed by their customers. Many different techniques including woodcarving, leather-work and upholstery are used for this and they also do furniture restoration on old or damaged antique chairs, sofas and tables which is how we first heard about them.

James at Cannonvale had an antique dining chair which was showing its age and needed serious work to restore it to its former glory. The trouble was that there was no-one local who could do the job. When he found Custom Furniture online and got in touch with Andy, he knew he had found the right team for the job. The only remaining dilemma, was how to get this fragile chair to Brisbane and back to Cannonvale in one piece, so Andy contacted Freight Quote.

When transporting valuable, and especially fragile, items, it’s essential to ensure that they are packaged correctly. Many people assume that they can simply hand a dining chair to the driver upon pickup, for transport across the country. The key thing to realise is that for most of the journey, it will be in a large semi-trailer packed with many other bulky items and pallets, and that if it is not packaged correctly there is a high chance it will be damaged in transit.

Thankfully Andy understood this, and was able to convey to James that the chair needed to be either in a box or crate of some sort for transport. This wasn’t a problem and although the pickup was delayed by one day due to a lack of available vehicles in Cannonvale, the rest of the delivery, restoration and return transport went ahead without a hitch.

We hope James enjoys his chair for many years to come, but if he has any other furniture he needs Andy to work his magic on, he now knows to contact Freight Quote.

A Road Trip and a Pallet of Mixed Goods

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Around Australia in a Caravan

Adam began a long road trip with some friends that was to take him from Arundel, on the Gold Coast, all around Australia. The caravan was packed with all manner of necessities and some not so necessary items, and the first 38 hours’ drive went relatively well until it broke down at Durack in Darwin.
Fortunately, they were in town when the breakdown occurred and no injuries were sustained as a result of this. However, they were now stuck far from home and with the caravan a write-off there was no way to get the numerous bulky items they’d brought back to Arundel..

Further to this, Adam had no account with any freight companies that could help him, so he contacted Freight Quote.

It’s not common for people to move large bulky household items between states, and less so as far as from Darwin to the Gold Coast, usually they only need to be moved within the same city. In these cases, it’s possible to use a truck with a tail-lift, and wheel each item on to the truck individually with a trolley. The reason it’s not so easy to do this when transporting bulky items between states, is that each item must be forklift accessible. The truck that picks up the goods initially will not take them directly to their destination. It will take them to the local depot, after which they will be moved between trucks and depots multiple times before being loaded onto a delivery vehicle at the destination city.

Made Possible by a Pallet

To avoid having to manhandle each item individually at every transfer, the best way to freight them is to pack the various items onto a single pallet, and strap and wrap the pallet for easy transportation. With some guidance and tips from Freight Quote, Adam managed to securely pack the pallet so that it could be safely transported. No small feat considering the varied nature of the goods he was trying to pack on there. All that remained from this point was to confirm that the total weight of the pallet was under 1 ton, due to the tail-lift being required at pickup and delivery, to arrange the paperwork and book in a tail-lift truck for the pickup. The following week, the pallet arrived in Arundel and was safely unloaded via tail-lift. The caravan, however, was never heard from again.

We hope Adam gets another chance to do his dream trip, but if he gets stuck again, Freight Quote will be here to help.

Transporting a Self-Bunded Diesel Tank

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In mid-December Jason*, from Greener Golf Club* in Sydney, purchased a self-bunded diesel tank from Australian Bunded Tanks* in regional Victoria, but he had no way to collect it.

For those interested, a self-bunded tank is essentially a tank within a tank, with double steel walls to allow for safe storage of potentially harmful liquids. It’s an extremely versatile solution, as it can be conveniently relocated on site, and the largest can store up to 150,000 litres of fuel. This means that on sites where large vehicles and machines are often being used, employees don’t need to leave in order to refuel, saving both time and money. It is not, however, the easiest item to move transport.

To add to his dilemma, it wasn’t going to be ready for pickup before the 16th of December, and Jason needed it before Christmas.

He contacted Freight Quote.

When we received his initial enquiry, it didn’t seem like it would be a problem for us to meet his requested delivery deadline, despite the fact that he didn’t have a forklift available on site in Sydney to unload the tank. We initially planned to use a truck with a tail-lift, however the tank weighed over 1000kgs so we had to look for another solution.

We were going to need a lorry mounted crane, often called a HIAB. This was going make meeting his request a lot more challenging, as they are notoriously busy towards the end of the year, when everyone is trying to get their bulky items moved before Christmas. All the same, we had 5 business days to work with so we were confident we could get the job done, perhaps even with a day to spare.

The first hurdle arose when, due to the remote pick-up location and the size of the tank, there were no vehicles available to pick it up on the 16th. This immediately put us on the back foot, although we were still optimistic that the tank would arrive in the Sydney depot on the 22nd, before then being delivered to the golf club on the 23rd.

The real issue arose when Jason called Freight Quote on Tuesday to advise that there was going to be no-one on site on Friday, so the tank had to be delivered on Thursday! At this point, there was no way for us to speed up the delivery of the tank to the Sydney depot. All we could hope for was that it would arrive early enough on Thursday morning, so that it would make it onto a HIAB that was already doing deliveries in Sydney that day.

We contacted the depot first thing on Thursday morning, and were informed that it hadn’t made it. It was sitting there at the depot, but as it hadn’t arrived early enough to make it onto that day’s HIAB run, there was no way it would get delivered. We scrambled to contact several other transport providers, to see if there were any available HIAB’s that day…

Fortunately, there was one available in the afternoon, and the tank was duly taken from the depot to the golf club and delivered without further delay, to the relief of Jason and his team down at Greener Golf Club. A great way to finish off the year.

*Names and places in this article have been changed.

Why Freight Quote?

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Fill out an Online Quote Request for Direct Courier Services

Courier Companies for Online Business

With the increasing popularity off conducting business online, there’s a lot of pressure to do business faster. If you’re like most business owners or managers you’ve been faced with the challenge of getting something from point A to B quickly. Like getting a part delivered to your workshop to get that vital piece of equipment up and running again. Or to complete that repair on one of your valued customer’s vehicles – and you promised they can collect their vehicle tomorrow.
Whether you’re sending important documents to or collecting them from your clients, or you need to ship out online orders on a daily basis, courier companies in the 21st century need to be quick and reliable to meet the expectation of online shoppers and merchants alike.
Whatever the circumstances – getting your goods where they need to go as quickly and efficiently as possible is essential to providing great customer service and meeting the ever increasing demands from customers.

Why Just Freight Services? Saving you time, stress and money

Exceed Your Customers’ Expectations

You could drop everything and deliver the item yourself. Though this may seem like a good way to “go the extra mile” but it will cost you, in time and resources. It will take you away from the business when you could be doing other equally important tasks. If your core business doesn’t include transport and delivery, then you’ll find that using courier companies to move your goods from A to B will often be the most viable option.
You could head down to your local post office and send it by express mail. But sending something heavy or bulky, like parts, can be extremely expensive. Great for reaching your customer service goals, terrible for your profit margins.
Finally there are courier companies. A much better option than mail services because they’re faster, more secure, provide tracking and they’re specialists. So you decide to book with one of the local courier companies. But they have a limited number of vehicles and there’s a good chance that they won’t have one ready for you. To make matters worse, you might not know this until it’s too late to get that urgent part to your customer on time.
But there’s a quick and easy solution. Just Freight Services. We have accounts with all the major courier companies servicing all the major cities. Leave it to Just Freight to source the first available and most competitively priced courier for the job. All within minutes of requesting a quote. Once you’ve placed your order Just Freight follows up and makes sure your goods are picked up and delivered on time. So you can get back to doing what you’re really good at – running your business.
What’s more, Just Freight Services isn’t only going to save you time, effort and stress but money too. All whilst you do business faster.