Indeed, shipping is not easy. Lost packages, damaged items, and hidden fees—there could be several things that can go wrong. Even before you ship your first item, you might find yourself getting lost in daunting paperwork. And even when your package reaches its destination, anew set of challenges may arise along with hidden fees and uncontrollable expenses.
Thankfully, for every shipping problem there is a solution. After all, as a business owner, your responsibilities don’t end up with sourcing and dispatching products. In fact, it is your responsibility to make sure that those products reach the hands of customers.
So, here are some common issues which a shipping firm can face along with solutions for them –
- Security Risks – Security risks have always been a threat to the shipping industry, but today the situation has become frightening. For instance, pirates pose a serious threat to theshipping According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, total 38 piracy and armed robbery incidents were reported in Asia, 2015.
- Rising Costs – The escalating costs of necessary materials could hamper the shipping industry’s competitiveness. The increasing prices lead to high cost of operation, thehigh price of fuels and parts. Moreover, poor market conditions could have serious repercussionsforvarious global shipping companies.
- Loss of goods – During the shipping process, many times such things happen which are beyond your control. May be your package never reaches into the delivery truck or it reaches a customer’s place completely broken or bent. Issues like damaged goods or loss of products can happen to anyone, so it is necessary to prepare yourself to deal with such cases effectively and quickly.
- Lack of infrastructure – It is one of the biggest problems facing by coastal shipping industry in India. The government has failed to develop a viable infrastructure to make shipping easy and efficient.
Unlike other modes of transport, the government has not made any substantial effort to benefit shipping firms. No exemption from income tax, customs duty on landing fees, etc.; there are several such government regulations which are unsupportive. While foreign ships carrying Indian cargo pay less tax, Indian ships carrying own cargo may have to pay more tax. Then there are service tax and tax on seafarers’ income which are also hampering the industry.
- New environmental regulations – Stricter environmental emission regulations, like tighter regulations to cut emissions in designated Sulphur Emissions Control Areas, may deliver good results in the long run, however, these could pose a series of short-term challenges for the shipping industry. Most of these technologies aren’t reliable and accepted globally. So, shipping industry may have to incur heavy losses on technologies that may not even work.
Solutions for the shipping problems
While some issues listed above are beyond your control, there are some ways through which you can control the other. If the poor packaging is the reason behind loss/damage, you can take steps to ensure your shipment arrive in good condition. For instance, you can use a proper pallet which should be made of wood or plastic and able to withstand the stress of being lifted comfortably. Also, make sure, your shipment never exceeds the weight instructions written on thepallet. As far as pirating is concerned, besides increasing the vigilance of crew members, and equipping the deck with halogen lights and high-pressure water hoses, using items like long range acoustic devices can deter pirates.
Along with the above measures, shipping firms should also buy a hull insurance to protect their business from various perils, including fire, explosion, collision, piracy, thesinking of vessels, etc. Hull insurance is a small investment that will help them save their time and money. Some of the risks covered under hull insurance are
- Total loss in terms of actual loss of the vessel
- Loss/damage to hull, machinery, and equipment
- Salvage and charges associated with it
- Legal costs
A hull insurance will give you a surety of getting your money back if something untoward happens to your shipment.
Remember, shipping isn’t an easy business, however, these solutions to some of the basic shipping problems should make things less complicated for you.