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Pros and Cons of Different Methods of Parcel Shipping

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

No matter what kind of item you wish to ship abroad, you surely want it to arrive to its destination as quickly as possible. But, are you ready to pay more money in order to save some time?

The thing is that some parcel shipping methods are more affordable than others. And in some cases, this can mean a lot, especially when long-distance shipping is concerned. Unfortunately, cheaper shipping methods are usually not as quick as those more-expensive ones.

Each shipping method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Deciding which one to use depends on your budget, your time, as well as the type of cargo you need to transport. With so many factors coming into play, it’s impossible to say which one of them is the very best. It’s up to you to decide…

And the only way to do it is by learning more about each of these shipping methods. So, let’s discuss each one of them more thoroughly!

Air Freight

When it comes to international shipping, air freight is, by far, the fastest method. This isn’t a surprise, considering that a plane can fly much faster than a ship can sail, not to mention that it can reach almost any destination on the planet, which isn’t the case with trucks.

So, now that we’ve established that air freight is much less time consuming than ship freight or truck freight, it’s time to talk about the downsides of this shipping method. The biggest downside is obviously the cost.

In almost all cases, air freight is more expensive than any other shipping method. It might not be a big deal if you’re gonna send a small item across the planet, but if international trade is your business, the cost of air freight can take a toll on your company’s profits.

Another problem with air freight is that the space inside a plane is limited – there’s less space inside a plane that inside a cargo ship. Therefore, weight is a major factor and you might not be allowed to transport your entire cargo in one go.

Pros of Air Freight:

  • The fastest international shipping method
  • Usually no delays
  • Safe & secure shipping method
  • Can be used anywhere in the world

Cons of Air Freight:

  • Expensive

Sea Freight

Sea freight seems perfect for bulk shipping. Why? Because it’s really cheap. It’s actually calculated that sea freight is about five times cheaper than air freight. Unfortunately, it’s also much slower.

So, if you’re low on supplies from China or some other remote part of the world, you will have to wait for weeks or even months for your shipment to arrive. With air freight, such concern wouldn’t bother you. Shipping goods from China to Europe via airplane usually takes only a couple of days.

Another issue with sea freight is that it’s not possible in every part of the world. For instance, shipping items from one of the big industrial centers in mainland China is impossible to do via sea – some of those cities are thousands of miles away from the nearest harbor.

On the bright side, sea freight is much more eco-friendly than air shipping. The thing is that that, on average, only 15g of CO2 is emitted par one tonne of cargo in sea freight. We say ‘only’ because the CO2 emission air freight causes is more than 40 times bigger.

Pros of Sea Freight:

  • The cheapest method of long-distance shipping
  • Much more eco-friendly than air freight

Cons of Sea Freight:

  • Time-consuming
  • Not available everywhere on the planet

International Courier Companies

When it comes to shipping items in Europe, the most cost-effective method is road freight, done by international courier companies. It’s much cheaper than air freight and much faster than sea freight.

Furthermore, hiring couriers to take care of the job, means that you don’t need to do anything apart from giving them the package (if you’re the sender) or receiving the package at your own address (if you’re the recipient).

Another great advantage of courier services is that they’re generally considered to be much safer than any other shipping method. So, if you need to transport your valuables or some fragile items, international couriers are the ones you should hire for the job.

Apart from using courier services to send/receive small packages, you can use them for bulk shipping purposes as well. The thing is that most international courier companies (at least those serious ones) have vehicle fleets with vans and trucks of different sizes. What this means is that they’ll be able to deliver your whole cargo in one go.

Speaking of their vehicle fleets, there are some courier companies that use airplanes and ships as well, not just land-based vehicles. And some have deals with other freight companies that allow them to use several means of transport in order to get your package delivered at the fastest and most-affordable rate possible.

Pros of Courier Service:

  • Ideal for international shipping across Europe
  • Fastest shipping methodat shorter distances (up to a thousand miles)
  • Way cheaper than air freight
  • Very reliable, safe, and secure

Cons of Courier Service:

  • Not ideal for cross-continent shipping

Which Shipping Method Should You Use?

There are so many factors that come into play when international shipping is concerned. Sometimes, the best-possible solution would be to use several different shipping methods to get your items delivered.

For instance, in order to get a shipment from mainland China to your place in the UK, it would be best if you could use a combination of air freight (to get the shipment from central China to a harbor), sea freight (to ship it from China to one of UK’s harbors), and courier service (to get the cargo delivered to your door). 

Luckily for you, there are some international freight companies that can do this for you. Rather than deciding which shipping method is the best, you can leave everything to them. No need for guesswork about which kind of shipping option is the best for the item you’re sending/receiving, let Same Day Dispatch Services decide it for you!

Emerging Delivery Trends Businesses Can’t Ignore

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Delivery is an ever-evolving creature of the retail realm. Last year saw the rise of next-day delivery but moving forward, same-day delivery is taking centre stage.

There is no doubt there will be further revelations in the delivery sector. With a growing decline in drivers and an increase in demand for express delivery, businesses are now asking, what will the latest trends in delivery be? This post reviews the likely trends of the coming years.

Driver Shortage Will Continue to Grow

There has been a global shortage in delivery drivers and long-haul drivers as a result of exploding demand coupled with perceived job limitations including low pay and poor conditions. Unfortunately, it seems this trend will not slow anytime soon.

Data shows that in the US, import and export traffic nearly doubled in the sixteen years since the millennium. During that time, twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container traffic increased from 28.3 million TEUs in 2000 to over 50 million TEUs in 2016. Even though the demand for drivers is high, the number of qualified drivers is not meeting demand.

Demographics play a large part in this. Labour statistics suggest the average age of delivery drivers and haulage workers is fifty plus. Drivers are nearing their retirement and without drastic change, we will see a lack of a skilled workers to take over from them.

While technology is being developed to allow for driverless trucks and automated deliveries, it will not be widescale for several years to come, even though it has now entered trials in several major countries. Once this technology becomes mainstream, it may alleviate some of the pressure but until then, shortages will likely increase.

Blockchain Technology Will Revolutionize Logistics

Many logistics companies are now implementing IT solutions into their supply chains in an attempt to compete globally. This trend will continue and small and mid-size companies may try to wrestle some momentum from larger companies using data and blockchain technology.

Big data will lead to more secure supply chains globally. While large companies can already afford to make their supply chains relatively safe and secure, it is smaller companies who stand to make the most from the implementation of new technologies such as blockchain. Their supply chains will become safer and their communication capabilities globally will also improve, minimizing error and fraud.

Many companies will move toward using blockchain when working with global freight companies to ship goods. This will simplify and quicken their ability to approve specifications, see their cargo and inventory, and monitor deliveries.

Mass adoption of big data will likely be a game-changer in logistics and blockchain will be at the forefront of this, saving valuable time needed to record transactions and move stock. With many parties involved in a supply chain, it will allow shippers to minimize the information disruption and paperwork needed to maintain the chain. It will also limit the need for intermediates as all parties have access to information, allowing direct communication between parties.

Payments Will Be Safer

With the introduction of cryptocurrency and online payments such as ApplePay as alternative forms of payment, instant payments will increase within the logistics industry. Most shippers that require ad-hoc deliveries pay using debit or credit cards and freight companies are often pressured into offering this service. This allows for payment flexibility and increases cashflow. Moving on, it’s likely the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will become more widely accepted, which will lead to safer payments and greater customer privacy.

Whether or not a major financial institution decides to adopt their own cryptocurrency remains to be seen. But, this would make it far easier and safer for logistics companies, particularly for recovering duties and taxes for international deliveries.

Machine Learning will be Widespread

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are hot topics in the logistics industry. These technologies are developing rapidly and are set to reach new heights throughout 2019 and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence is particularly useful for large dynamic data sets where there is a fluid relationship between dependent and independent variables. Large amounts of data are commonplace these days and computing enhancements are allowing continued growth. Machine learning is applicable to a wide range of logistics services in this respect. It is already being implemented in warehouse management systems, supply chain planning, and inventory visibility, among others.

Fulfilment centres are placing more of a premium on these services as well. With a market with constant and diverse needs, machine learning can help businesses adapt to this changing landscape quickly and efficiently.

The Rise of Company Couriers

‘Company couriers’ are professional drivers trained in customer experience who can add value to companies. They work on behalf of the retailer and are the face-to-face component for them. With trends towards online purchasing growing at record rate, company couriers are vital for providing a human touch to online retailers.

The retail experience now requires very little interaction and it is these people that can offer that level of professional interaction to customers. With in-store interaction declining, it also begs the question whether we will see the rise of door-to-door upselling with deliveries.

Throughout 2019 and into 2020, it seems we will be seeing the role of company couriers further develop and evolve to meet consumer and business needs.

Ensure your business is working with a courier company who can offer a high level of customer service. They should treat your business as an extension of their own, giving the customer a great experience at the end of their purchase.

Final Word

The trends in the delivery sector will always evolve to meet customer demands. It’s now more important than ever for businesses to assess their delivery processes and make sure they are poised to keep up with the latest trends. Investing in technologies to enhance delivery and finding a reliable courier partner are important first steps to keep you ahead of the trends moving forward.

Driver Shortage and Lack of Skilled Workers – Major Issue for the Logistics Industry

Monday, November 20th, 2017

According to a customer survey carried out by Paragon Software Systems, the UK is suffering a driver shortage and lack of other skilled workers for a third year running. This is proving to be a major challenge to the logistics industry.

Future forecasts are showing this shortage will continue and even increase in the coming years. But what’s the answer to this current logistics roadblock? This post will look at some of the challenges we’re currently facing and the possible solutions.

What Is Causing This Driver Shortage?

The Freight Transport Association suggests that it is a combination of factors:

  • Cost of operator licence acquisition
  • Lack of understanding of the sector
  • Working hours
  • A lack of quality driver facilities

The cost to remain compliant, particularly for large haulage companies, is significant, and while major companies may pay for their employees to go through the relevant training, smaller courier operators and freelance drivers are struggling to make ends meet.   

This coupled with the perceived career shortcomings of long hours for a basic salary (compared to incentive-driven office jobs) means that fewer young people are viewing logistics as a prospective job opportunity.  Brexit has also muddied the waters, with many now uncertain what the future holds for logistics professionals.

Now the question remains – what can be done to combat this shortage and encourage a younger workforce into the logistics industry?


Investment in Technology

In a customer survey, it was found that more than 100 industry professionals were using telematics of some type and of those, 45% had interfaced this with their routing and scheduling software.

Technology is now playing a crucial role within the sector, giving companies more visibility and control.  Most fleets have tracking systems in their vans, with over half utilising electronic proof of delivery, 40% fitted with cameras, 25% with live temperature monitoring, and 20% with live workforce apps.

By using technology, companies are finding they can alleviate some of the pressures of modern delivery driving and logistics, making for a more enjoyable environment to recruit into.

This means that courier service companies can provide a safer, more reliable and comfortable experience for both their customers and their drivers.

Technology can also help with giving more accurate delivery windows and ETA’s which allows for more drops and, ultimately, increased revenue.  Focusing on this process may be a viable way to eventually increase the wages of drivers nationwide.

With technology already making improvements in the logistics industry, now is the time to push for further investment in technological advancements to help decrease the driver and skilled worker shortage.

Increase in Driver Training

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) is viewed by many as a major reason for the driver shortage we are currently facing.

It’s clear that greater investment in training needs to be made. Experienced, trained, and respected drivers are the backbone of the industry but with an ageing population, something has to be done in order to continue to deliver great service. This, coupled with raising awareness of the value of the profession, will be a major step forward in aiding recruitment into the industry.

The Henderson Group training academy in Northern Ireland has taken steps toward helping with the training of courier drivers. They have developed programmes with the help of the RTITB instructor academy, which deliver instructor training to trainers of the Henderson group.

They have now qualified as CPC instructors and are providing training to the 136 LVG drivers within the company. In addition to this, they are offering their training services to third parties. The instructors have already delivered CPC training to more than 100 individuals over a four-month period.

This has worked out incredibly well for the Henderson Group as they are benefiting from the experience of their drivers, but also are profiting by running training courses for other companies.

This is raising the profile of the job and the respect within the sector for well-trained individuals. Going forward, offering training is something that other large companies within the UK could also look at implementing to help reduce the driver shortage.

The Role of the Government and Regulatory Bodies

It seems that government bodies have left the skills shortage in the hands of the industry thus far, but it does appear that it needs some help in alleviating the pressures.

In an effort to help alleviate the shortage issue for companies across the country, the British International Freight Association has launched a freight apprenticeship microsite which will focus on helping both employers and their potential recruits to understand the apprenticeship opportunities in the industry, relieving the pinch that companies are facing.

The Freight Transport Association are also campaigning for the following changes to alleviate the issue:

1) Student-style loans for vocational training

2) Better driver facilities

3) Quicker turnaround of medical queries by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

4) A campaign to raise awareness of the logistics sector in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions

5) Members to promote the logistics industry and engage more with the public

Final Thoughts

The logistics sector is currently facing difficulties which are already having a knock-on effect on many industries that rely on this sector every day. But there are solutions to the driver shortage issue and there are many companies taking the first steps on the road to recovering from this problem, hopefully for good.

A combination of solutions is needed to alleviate the main concerns of young people entering the logistics industry. First and foremost, cost-effective training and license acquisition need to be implemented, along with more investment in technology and better driving conditions.

Consumer demand is currently on the increase and both logistics companies and governing bodies must come together to find solutions quickly to keep the industry moving.  

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think the industry bodies and government are doing enough to help combat the driver and skilled worker shortage? Let us know your thoughts.





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