PCB Freight Management’s logistics blog is a valuable resource for shippers, carriers, industry professionals and other supply chain partners navigating global trade. With the many regulations governing trade, it aims to help readers lower their freight costs, increase shipping efficiencies, address industry issues and manage their logistics activities. Several leading experts serve as blog columnists covering topics from freight, compliance and transportation to 3PL trends and warehousing.

What You Need In A Freight Manager

freight manager | freight management

Consistently, PCB Freight Management has built a reputation for getting the job done. As a client you receive a comprehensive range of global logistics services drawing from an experienced team of logistics experts, a world-wide network of freight agents and in-house licensed customs brokers. As a key company within the Pacific Group of Companies, PCB Freight Management has become a major North American link to many trans-ocean shippers and freight forwarders. A single point of contact for international freight movements providing freight and logistic solutions to freight forwarders and shippers.

How You Can Identify Your Freight Needs

With the constant change in global trade regulations, working with an experienced third-party logistics provider makes good business sense. Our logistics specialists can help you identify a mode of transport that fits your timetable, budget and special needs. Whether you are shipping a package across town or commercial cargo around the world, our integrated logistics services enable us to coordinate your shipments from door-to-door to destinations across the world. PCB Freight Management offers a comprehensive package of premium, value-added and specialized logistics services, all of which can be customized for your needs.

When Air Freight Is Right For You

When your cargo needs to be moved quickly, PCB Freight Management’s air freight services will ensure the shortest transit time. Our team of logistics specialists not only have the experience in managing time-sensitive shipments but also have the contacts, associates and vendor networks to deliver a shipment to remote and challenging destinations. From on-board courier solutions, to the charter of a complete aircraft, our air freight shipping services span the globe from Canada and the United States to worldwide destinations in Africa, Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe, European Union, Middle East, North America, Oceania, South America and the Caribbean.

When Ocean Freight Is Right For You

As a registered and licensed Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) and a third-party logistics provider (3PL), you can receive competitive ocean freight rates. Not having to maintain ships or equipment means you can get the best rates, helping you save as much freight cost as possible. Our alliances with major global and regional carriers provide you with multiple, flexible and convenient ocean shipping options to locations around the world. From general merchandise and specialized cargo like automobiles, perishable freight, hazardous goods to oversized and overweight cargo, you can receive the best routing for your shipments.

When Ground Freight Is Right For You

PCB Freight Management’s vast logistics network consists of national, regional and local trucking companies along with major railroad organizations throughout Canada and the United States. This gives you competitive high-volume pricing and the best choice in transportation solutions and specialized equipment. Our industry knowledge enables us to effectively and efficiently manage shipments so you are set up for success.

What Other Freight Services You Can Receive


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Packaging Is Vital When Shipping Your Freight


Is Your Package Safe?

If you spend enough time in the freight industry, you will see just about everything — including packaging that would not adequately protect cargo for a trip around the block, never mind a trip around the world.

Keep Your Clients Happy

The lack of value that some companies place on packaging is quite astonishing. It is not uncommon to see equipment that is worth tens of thousands of dollars being shipped using twenty dollars worth of packaging materials. Shippers like this are really taking a chance. The first criteria that a carrier will consider when investigating the validity of a freight claim is whether the cargo was properly packaged. Insufficient packaging equals no freight claim! The leading reason for freight claims is poor packaging. Even if your claim is paid, do you really want to go through the hassle? Your client has to wait to get their product. You have to re-fill and re-ship the order. You are doing twice the work for one sale. This is never a good thing, but in today’s economic climate, it is definitely an unattractive prospect. It is much easier to take a little extra time and money when packaging your product, than to go through the pain of filing a claim.

What is Proper Packaging?

Proper packaging depends on what you are shipping. If you are sending a box of screws across town, you can probably throw them in a cardboard box, slap some tape on it, maybe some plastic or metal banding to help hold it together. If you are shipping an expensive piece of medical research equipment halfway around the world and you want it to arrive intact, don’t cheap out on the packaging.

Packaging Recommendations

While it is difficult to address how to package all types of products in one blog post, our recommendation is to:
  1. Use ISPM 15 compliant pallets and lumber, and secure your cargo to the pallets using bolts, screws or strapping.
  2. Shrink-wrap cartons on pallets tightly to avoid shifting in transit.
  3. Stack pallets high enough to maximize shipping capacity but not so high that the cartons on the bottom will be compromised.
  4. Use additional padding, vapour barrier, shock sensors or “tip and tell” indicators, depending upon the value and sensitivity of your product.

Packaging Your Products

You know your product better than anyone and what it can and cannot withstand. When it comes to packaging, it is far better to safely package your product the first time than to risk damaging your product and having to reship. One of the main things to remember is that your cargo is probably going to move around a lot more than you expect. Think about how much your sunglasses slide around on the dashboard of your car. Now think about your expensive product hurtling along a curvy and potholed highway, or being tossed around during gale force winds in the middle of the ocean, or just being handled repeatedly as it makes its way from your dock to your client. The packaging has to be solid enough to do its job — or you could find yourself out of one. If you need assistance with packaging your products or forwarding your freight, PCB Freight Management can help. Click the button below to request a quote for your next shipment.

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The Impact of E-commerce on Freight Forwarding and Logistics


E-Commerce Consumer Habits

E-commerce has revolutionized consumer habits. Years ago I use to travel to the mall to try on shoes. Now I order loafers by the dozen. I try them all on and return the ones that do not fit. I demand that they come the next day so I can wear them to my friend’s wedding. Wash, rinse, repeat for all my online purchases. Instead of trekking 30 to 60 minutes to a local specialty store, I can read an endless supply of reviews online letting me know what is the best value for my dollar. I can then order the product and know what to expect thanks to a couple of helpful and like-minded consumers. The benefits and perks are too good as a consumer. Never has it been easier to get the products you want as quickly you want them. E-commerce success stems from the innovative problem solving skills of freight forwarders and logistic providers. The reason many people like shopping online is because of how quickly products arrive at their doorsteps. Immediacy is what keeps people coming back, and word of mouth travels fast when a consumer is happy.

Air Freight

Business-to-business air shipments have been commonplace for years. However, with the change in consumer habits, business-to-consumer air shipments are becoming more commonplace. E-commerce truly encourages international trade. The main benefit of air freight is speed. If you want a product now, just like I wanted my loafers for my friend’s wedding, you can get it now. The biggest detractor for air freight is the cost. I will be able to get those loafers in 48 hours, but it will cost me an extra few pennies.

Ocean Freight

Let’s say my friend’s wedding is not until next summer. Now I have some time to breathe. I look around for some shoes, but the best loafer is still overseas. I can still get the loafer’s but I will have to wait a few weeks. Ocean freight still allows for international purchases, you are just going to have to wait a little bit longer for your international selection.

Ground Freight

With e-commerce a heavy majority of shipments are still delivered by truck. What is worrisome for the ground freight industry is the supply of trucks and drivers. The increase in consumers wanting instant delivery on e-commerce shipments has caused a surge in demand. Supply is having a tough time keeping up. Because the demand for delivery has increased faster than supply can maintain, there is a major shortage of drivers on the horizon. The shortage of drivers will cause an increase in ground freight costs.

Rail Freight

The trade-off between rail freight and ground freight is the same as the trade-off between air freight and ocean freight. Rail is less expensive than ground, but it will take longer for your goods to arrive by rail than it will take to arrive by ground. The motto in logistics is know before you go. As an e-commerce seller or consumer it is important to know all of the costs associated with your shipments, as well as the time it will take for your shipment to arrive.

Freight Forwarding Assistance

If you need assistance with any freight forwarding or customs clearance on your e-commerce shipments feel free to contact us to talk with an experienced freight forwarder or an expert trade advisor.

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China Implements New Manifest Requirements

marine cargo manifest

On June 1, 2018, the General Administration of Customs of the People Republic of China (GACC) announced there will be additional information required on all inbound and outbound shipments by air or ocean. The new information required includes Canadian Business Numbers and phone numbers on the bill of lading or master airway bill.

GACC Announcement No. 56 (2017)

The announcement was made in 2017 by the GACC and provided airlines and freight forwarders with sixth months notice to prepare for the implemented changes. The GACC first updated their systems on May 22, 2018, and the full implementation took place on schedule, June 1, 2018.

China Customs Advanced Manifest

If you are a Canadian importer and you wanted your air or ocean import or export to go smoothly, it is recommended you extract all of the information you will need when you make your purchase order. This way you will have all of the information required to comply with China Customs Advanced Manifest (CCAM) for your import or export with China. The information you will need to collect includes; the company name, the company’s code, your contact’s name and phone number, the country code and the notify party if the Bill of Lading is To Order.

How It Affects Canadian Businesses

If you are a Canadian Business you will use your Business Number (BN) as the required company code, enterprise number or organization code. It is important to note, everyone who is importing or exporting by air or ocean with China will need to provide all of this additional information required for the CCAM.

Some Require Freight Forwarder Information

In addition to the shipper and consignee information required for the CCAM, some agents in China are also requesting additional information for the freight forwarder. It is better for you to be safe rather than sorry, therefore it is recommended you provide your freight forwarders business number on all of your master airway bills and bills of lading to ensure all of your imports or exports with China go smoothly.

If You Need Assistance

If you need assistance with importing or exporting your commodities into or out of China, PCB Freight Management can help with both the freight forwarding and customs brokerage. Call us today to talk one-on-one with an expert or simply click on the request a quote button below to get started.

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Logistic Strategies: Spot Market Freight vs. Contracts

spot market freight

Surcharge Pricing Announcement

Last week’s announcement of an Emergency Bunker Surcharge from several major ocean carriers should give shippers who put most of their freight business in the spot market enough reason to reflect on their pricing strategy. Usually, emergency surcharges are implemented with only 15 days notice and can be applied at any time. There have been many types of emergency surcharges over the past 20 years, which were fully applied to the spot market and not to shippers under contract, or in a worst case scenario applied at a discount after negotiation between the two parties.

Deregulation Drives Shippers to Spot Market Freight

Shippers want two things; freight cost certainty and service reliability. However, when shippers suspect their contracted rates are higher than the market level, they push more of their freight in the spot market. Indeed, deregulation and rate volatility has driven many shippers to play in the spot market far more than they should. Playing the spot market takes time. Comparison of services, origin charges and supplier relationships are only a few factors that make continuously negotiating rates a full time job. Most shippers are systems driven and are required to load new vendor pricing into their database.  A real pain if it is a monthly exercise. So what is the most effective strategy? How can a shipper have the benefit of market level pricing, service reliability and medium term cost certainty?

Successful Shipping Strategy

Depending on their volume, many successful shippers will contract a large portion (70-75%) of their freight once a year. The remainder will be made available to the spot market if and when it makes economic sense to the shipper. By committing a large part of their volume to one or two service providers, shippers get the benefit of more favorable pricing and services with economy of scale. Moreover, if there is a space crunch, the shipper with the service provider they have been supporting will have an advantage over the shipper who continuously moves business from one carrier to the next over price. Conversely, by keeping a portion of their freight in the spot market, shippers are able to keep an eye on the market. If freight rates soften, they can take advantage of the dip by pushing volume to their spot carriers. If price rise, they can try to get more freight booked with their contracted carriers.

Freight Rate Landscape

The world is adapting to the deregulated environment where freight rates are entirely driven by supply and demand. Global demand growth has been relatively steady at 5-6% per year. Volatility in pricing has been driven almost entirely on the supply side. Carriers can remove tonnage from a trade, thereby driving freight rates up, or they can add tonnage which of course lead to some dramatic price reductions. Emergency surcharges such as the bunker fuel surcharge announced last week are typically strategies used by carriers to recover costs without increasing freight levels. While the 75/25 contract/spot formula may not fit with all shippers, good freight partners can map out a strategy tailored to their business needs.

You Are In Good Hands

You are in good hands with the experts at PCB Freight Management. Click the button below to request a quote for all of your logistics and customs brokerage needs.

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How To Reduce Produce Spoilage In 3 Steps

Reduce Produce Spoilage

New Regulations Affecting Your Imports

The most common question you ask our freight managers is how can I reduce produce spoilage? What are the steps I can take? Where can I make any gains? There are three areas in which produce spoilage can be reduced.

1 | Utilize A Cold Supply Chain

Ensuring your produce is in a temperature controlled environment throughout the supply chain will make a big difference in its life cycle. From farm to table, the number of hand-offs from grower, to distributor, to carrier, can each impact spoilage. One hour in a hot van can make spinach seem lifeless and unusable. The supplier should have pre-cooling systems. The freight provider must utilize temperature controlled vans, rail cars, and cargo containers. All of these precautions are critical, and that includes warehouses which offer cold storage as well.

2 | Choose Carriers Wisely

A carrier with proper equipment makes all the difference. Either single or team drivers can be used to reflect the correct transit times that the shelf life dictates. The shorter the shelf life, the more important the transit times. A highway carriers genset temperature controlled van is reliant on fuel levels and a temperature setting monitored by the driver. Monitor the carrier's activities from pre-loading, ensuring the equipment is pre-cooled and set at the correct temperatures before arrival at the warehouses for loading are all essential actions to take with perishable produce.

3 | Ensure Appointments Are Booked And Met

With as many moving parts as there are in logistics, it is very easy to forget to book an appointment for pickup or delivery. With the current climate of highway carriers mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) limiting the number of hours they can idle while waiting to get loaded, unloaded, drive, work, etc., and congestion at the port, arriving without an appointment or missing the time slot can have massive repercussions. Once the appointment is booked, supply chain managers should regularly check in with their drivers to ensure they are on schedule to meet that appointment time slot, and make the necessary adjustment if they are not. Making sure all appointment times are in place and adhered to by the carriers is a small act, but makes a big difference in spoilage. Although these steps may seem simple, not taking them can trip up even the most organized and prepared supply chain manager. We have heard from countless clients who have run into difficulties in these areas and look to freight managers for long-term solutions. PCB Freight Management has the tools in place to ensure a smooth, cold storage transition from grower to seller.

You Can Reduce Produce Spoilage

If you need help with clearing produce shipments into Canada or the U.S. please contact our sister company, Pacific Customs Brokers. If you want to take the steps to reduce produce spoilage click on the button below to get started with PCB Freight Management.

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