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Shipping freight and stress seem to go hand-in-hand, but there are ways that consignors and consignees can work together to reduce that stress.

If you are not familiar with the terms consignor and consignee, it’s easiest to think of them this way.

  • The consignor is the shipper, the person or entity that sends the shipment
  • The consignee is the recipient, the person or entity that receives the shipment

Some of the stressful situations that occur with a freight shipment happen because the consignors and consignees haven’t done much of a job communicating with each other. Sometimes it seems they don’t talk to each other until a problem has arisen.

Here are five ways that communicating consignors and consignees can stop those problems from happening before they start.

Consignors - Photograph Your Freight

Once you’ve packaged your freight, take photos of every piece and send them to the consignee so they can use them to compare the condition of the cargo before it was picked up with its condition after it arrived.

When using shrink wrap, use a color that stands out and makes it easy for the consignee to see if it has been torn. With colored shrink wrap, if it does become torn in transit, any clear shrink wrap used in an attempt to repair or cover up the damaged packaging will make it easy to see that the original shrink wrap was torn.

Consignees - Inspect Cargo Thoroughly at Delivery

Inspect the cargo thoroughly before signing the Proof of Delivery (POD) document. Record on the POD any dents, scratches and marks to the cargo, including the pallet, wrapping and crating. A problem with the outside packaging can be a tell-tale sign of a problem on the inside.

Use the photos sent by the consignor to make sure the packages look as good on delivery as they did before they were picked up. Also, count the pieces to make sure they all arrived.

Proving that freight was damaged or lost in transit is a lot more difficult if the POD is signed and you haven’t noted the issues on the POD. No, the driver will not be able to wait for you to open up the packages so you can check for concealed damage, but a note of damage to the packaging on the POD will make it more likely that  the carrier will accept liability for any concealed damage.

Consignors - Label Your Shipments

Put at least two shipping labels on each handling unit. What’s a handling unit? Here are two examples.

  • Six boxes on one pallet is one handling unit.
  • Four boxes on one pallet plus one palleted crate equals two handling units.

Every piece of your shipment that will be handled distinctly by the driver is a handling unit. Make sure the labels include your name, the consignee’s name and any registration numbers that will make your package stand out from all the other freight being shipped by that carrier.

If you have stickers with your company name and logo on them, put those on every side of your shipment as well. Your freight is going to be moved multiple times before it’s delivered and will share space with hundreds of other shipments. Make it stand out.

Consignee - Be Ready to Take Delivery

Make sure you or an authorized representative is on site to receive delivery. If there are specific hours of the day when no one will be available, inform the consignor before the cargo is picked up so they can have those hours noted in the shipping paperwork.

See below if special arrangements must be made at delivery.

Consignor & Consignee - Determine Accessorial Charges in Advance

Determine before the shipment is booked which accessorial charges will be necessary. If these services are not booked in advance and need to be added at delivery, billing adjustment charges will be incurred.

What kind of location is the delivery address?

  • A business that has a loading dock with personnel to receive a shipment during normal business hours?
  • A residence or home-based business?
  • A limited access location such as a school, military base or construction site?

Only an easily accessible loading dock, with personnel available to receive the shipment, will not require an accessorial fee, so it’s important that the consignor and consignee get together on this before the cargo is shipped.

Will a lift gate be necessary?

In most cases where there is no loading dock, the delivery vehicle will require a lift gate to lower the freight from the truck to the curb. The only exception to this rule is if the consignee can remove the shipment from the truck without the aid of a lift gate. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, since the deck of a freight trailer stands as high off the ground as a loading dock.

Will the consignee be available for delivery?

If the consignee cannot promise to be at the delivery site during the estimated delivery window provided by the carrier, arranging a Call for Appointment will give the consignee a more precise estimated delivery date and time so they can be sure to have an authorized person on site to receive the delivery.

Special Handling Services

Will special handling services such as Inside Delivery or Final Mile be required at a location that does not have a loading dock?

  • With Inside Delivery, the driver moves the freight onto a driveway or into a garage. Inside Delivery does not include placing the cargo inside a home.
  • Final Mile delivery entails delivering the cargo inside the home or business, removing the packaging and hauling the packaging away.

The driver’s responsibility is to deliver to cargo to the loading dock or, if there is no loading dock, to the curb. The driver will not do you a favor and perform this service for free. All services performed by carriers and their drivers are charged.

Minimize Stress

The stressors described above are easy to deal with if the consignor and consignee discuss them before the shipment is booked. Adding accessorial charges after the fact is highly problematic and results in costly billing adjustments. Take care of them ahead of time and eliminate surprises.

In most cases, the consignor and consignee need only get this stuff right the first time.  After that, whenever the consignor ships to this consignee in the future, the consignor will know and be prepared for the consignee’s special needs and can book them all ahead of time.

Get started on your next shipment today. Compare quotes from multiple top carriers using our instant freight quote tool. Be sure to include all the accessorials or other options you'll need. Help is always available from our in-house team of shipping experts at 844-212-7447.

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