It’s the call no freight shipping, traffic, or warehouse manager ever wants to receive. Their freight shipment never arrived at its intended destination, or it arrived, but there are pieces missing or damaged parts. While uncommon, lost, damaged, or stolen shipments are a real occurrence. Carriers, 3PL companies, delivery companies, and even bicycle couriers aren’t exempt from the eventual pitfalls that can happen en route from point A to point B. Thousands of shipping containers resting peacefully at the bottom of the ocean are a testament to the term, “force majeure.”
Whether it’s a storm at sea or an unlikely pothole that sends the bike courier airborne, bad things sometimes happen to good freight.
When your freight shipment is lost or simply doesn’t arrive, contact the carrier. You were likely given tracking information by the shipper, so referencing that information may show that your freight shipment is simply delayed. Delays can happen most commonly during bad weather and during heavy shipping times like Christmas.
If the freight shipment has been lost at sea or has been involved in an accident, it will have been reported to the freight carrier. The carrier will typically contact both the shipping and receiving parties and let them know what happened and that one or more claim forms will need to be filled out and returned to receive compensation for the lost freight shipment. The claim is an insurance claim, so they’ll typically only cover the actual cost of goods, not the aggravation time or the time of lost production due to the missing shipment.
When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to contact the carrier with whom your freight is being shipped. If you’re still not receiving satisfaction, contact the shipper. They may have contacts within the carrier company that can dig deeper and uncover what went wrong.
Damaged Freight or Missing Parts
If your freight shipment arrives, but it looks like it’s been through a tornado, or a forklift dropped it, you may have some damaged goods. The most important thing when reporting damaged goods is documentation. As with a car accident, you’ll want to thoroughly inspect the packaging, take photos, and note when and how the shipment arrived.
Don’t sign the bill of lading until you’ve thoroughly examined the delivery in its entirety, but don’t refuse the freight shipment. Your claim of what’s been lost or damaged may be invalidated if the freight is refused. The insurance claims adjuster may say that the damage occurred en route after the shipment was refused. Accept the freight and pay the freight shipping charges. Then and only then will you have a solid case for an insurance claim.
Once you’ve documented what’s missing or broken, contact the freight carrier. They may be able to ship replacement parts quickly or have the freight returned entirely without having to file an insurance claim on the whole shipment.
If the freight can’t be returned, it will likely be necessary to fill out a claim form. This is where your documentation will save you. A freight claim is an insurance claim, and insurance companies love documentation as it minimizes fraudulent claims. Having good documentation will also ensure faster processing and payment of the claim.
A 3PL Can Ease Your Pain
While lost, stolen, or damaged freight shipments are an unfortunate occurrence, they luckily don’t happen often. Using a 3PL (Third-party Logistics) company is one way in which clients can mitigate risk. 3PL’s use multiple freight carriers and can direct or divert your shipment around things like storms and heavy traffic areas, minimizing the risk of an incident. In the unfortunate event that something does happen, 3PL’s are the ones who manage the freight claim between the client and the freight carrier. They know what forms are needed and which pieces of documentation will be necessary for each freight claim form. They’ll, in essence, hold your hand through the freight claims process should it be necessary. A good 3PL will also be able to use the occurrence as a way to avoid it from happening again. They’ll work with the freight carrier to understand why the loss happened in the first place and will seek to understand what the carrier is doing to prevent it from happening with future freight shipments.
As an industry-leading 3PL, Amware, makers of Amrate (a cloud-based transportation management system), know the importance of fast quoting and safe delivery. Click below to start your free trial of Amrate today and see for yourself just how safe and easy freight shipping can be! Additionally, Amrate saves clients an average of 30% annually on their LTL costs.