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Showing posts from 2016

Trade Show Season 2017 Crating and Shipping

The holiday season should be a time for living in the moment, enjoying family and friends, and taking a small deserved break from the hustle and bustle of work. For many, those who plan and organize their companies presence at trade shows, the real work, unfortunately starts when everybody else is getting into the holiday spirit.
For over a decade I worked at a company that attends the largest expo on earth. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which this year will run January 5-8th. The planning and logistics necessary to have a successful trade show in the first few months of the year always takes place in December.
The trade show season every year starts off with a bang, CES and just keeps going from there, with large shows such as MAGIC -Apparel, Furniture and Home Decor - Furniture, Automation Tech - Equipment, Medical Manufacturing - Medical Equipment, Kid Show - Baby and Kid, and The Day Spa Expo - Spa, all taking place in the first few months of the year.
The companies that at…

Selling and Shipping International? What terms of sale should you use? Know your Incoterms

Gateway deals with a lot of first time international shippers. People looking to sell their goods overseas and looking for the costs involved to make the sale. It is always an educational lesson beyond logistics transportation to explain to people the basics of International sales contracts BEFORE calculating the costs in transportation. I always instruct these people to read up on the latest Incoterms. 
Incoterms or International Commercial Terms are internationally recognized standards used in sales contracts to define who is responsible for the goods at each stage of the sales delivery process. This includes who pays for what portion of the transportation and includes who pays for insurance, taxes and duty.
What I am providing below is a brief (very brief) interpretation of the latest Incoterms we use here at Gateway and in no way should be regarded as a definitive rule on the terms. For a full understanding of these terms and or changes to them visit
Let’s begin w…

Holiday Shipping Season 2016 - Here we go again.

So another peak season is upon us and with the growth of e commerce year over year, this holiday shipping season is sure to bring more volume and more challenges. The number one challenge during this time of year is ensuring your items arrive safely to their destination. With so many packages and freight shipments running through the system, damage is the number one issue facing shippers.
It has been estimated that shipping packages between October 15 and December 15 increases your chances of damage to your shipment by 36%. In fact some major carriers have published statistics that show over half of their freight damage claims for the year occur in this 2 month period.
In a major study of online retailers most report that they plan on a 5% damage ratio of product being shipped during the year and another recent study indicated that the 3 major carriers UPS, USPS and FedEx have damage ratios of 11%, 10% and 7% respectively during the year.
The peak season deluge of shipments places a…

Shipping the Large, Heavy, Awkward, Fragile and Cool...

We have picked up, crated and packed some pretty large heavy and awkward items over the years including this metal transformer. If you are a movie buff you would recognize this as Bumblebee, at 8 ft high and weighing over 1,000 lbs he needed to be moved from a basement movie theater and shipped to be shown at a Trade Show in Texas.
This would have been a much easier job if he could have just transformed into a Camaro and drove himself to the Expo, but in the logistics world not much is that easy. He did disassemble into a few pieces, the largest and heaviest being a leg-torso fitting that was close to 300 lbs. After having four guys get the pieces up a staircase we got Bumblebee back to the warehouse and custom crated him and shipped him off to the show.
Once in our warehouse, handling, packing and crating was easy. The logistics of picking these types of items up or delivering them is the difficult part. 
Some items we crate, pack and ship are not heavy but just LARGE. Try a 23 foot…

Does your Shipping Department need a full wood shop?

Like many freight shippers you probably have a number of different sized pallets sitting around to ship your product on. For years shipping departments have settled with shipping product on standard sized skids 48 X 40 or some variation thereof. But many have learned that shipping product on skids that are too big or too small leads to damaged product, unhappy customers and lost revenue. 
The biggest mistake, and what leads to the most shipping claims is product overhang. You have a 55" box and you let it hang over a standard 48" pallet. This most certainly leads to damage. In a freight system either loading full truckload or LTL, pallet bases are used to bumper each other, in other words once the pallet on the forklift touches the next pallet the forklift driver stops.
So invariably if your product is overhanging a pallet there will be pressure from the palleted items being loaded next to it. This will cause damage. This box below greatly overhangs its pallet. I wonder how…

V.C.I Wrap? What is it? When do I need it?

V.C.I is an acronym for Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor. V.C.I is a chemical (a film) applied to poly and paper products that provides rust protection against moisture and humidity for steel, iron and metallic components. In the picture above you can see the yellow poly film we use, this is the V.C.I wrap.
Gateway Crate and Freight utilizes V.C.I wrap when we ship these types of materials via ocean L.C.L (Less than Container Load) or full container load. We primarily utilize a poly wrap on these materials to protect the items from the damaging effects of salt water and the ocean humidity.
The V.C.I wrap works as a desiccant which is a hygroscopic substance used as a drying agent, if you have ever seen the little white canisters in medicine bottles or white packets these are filled with silica gel, an inert, nontoxic water insoluble solid that basically is there to protect your items from the damaging effects of moisture.
When shipping International or domestically on the ocean, even whe…

Transportation Management Software D.I.Y or Managed?

Our clients have become accustomed to using our online transportation management system (T.M.S), ACCUFRATE, to quote, book and track their freight shipments. These clients who use the system to schedule outbound, inbound and third party shipments, all online, love the fact that they can manage their own transportation, they pick the carrier, service and price they want for their shipments.

We call these users the (D.I.Y) Do It Yourself T.M.S shipping managers. The whole idea behind a T.M.S is to automate shipping functions. I started developing T.M.S software for use in worldwide distribution centers in the early 90s. Developing T.M.S software that ports to accounting or ERP software and rates, routes, books, tracks and produces reports on these activities was at the time, the most important development in supply chain logistics.

Since these early days the T.M.S has come along way and has made it easy for anyone, even those with not much experience in Traffic or Freight management to…

Crates for Export IPPC Compliance

Shipping International in or on any wood packing material like pallets or crates requires the shippers adherence to the rules and regulation of the FAO or the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization who established regulations for Wood Packing materials controls through country cooperation with the IPPC or International Plant Protection Convention.
What does all this mean? Well if your an exporter of goods and you want the items packaged for freight transportation it is likely you will want to use wood pallets or crates. If you do use these items the WPM must have a stamp (Like Gateway Crate and Freight's Stamp pictured above, our license number is US-20468) visible on the outside of each pallet or crate.
The stamp is the certification that the material used in the packing meets the IPPC requirements of being either Heat Treated HT or treated with Methyl Bromide MB. On our stamp above you can see for this crate we utilized Heat Treated wood signified by the HT below our …

Canada oh Canada. Shipping to and from Canada

Shipping Truckload or LTL shipments to Canada is pretty easy for someone who has been doing it for decades, but for a U.S company shipping to a client in Canada for the first time the rules and paperwork requirements can be pretty daunting.
I have been fortunate to have logistics experience on both sides of the border and have benefited from years of experience in dealing with the Canadian Border Services Agency and Revenue Canada while bringing a multitude of commodities in and out of Canada.
The transportation of materials in and out of Canada has become seamless, a routine and easy task for truckload haulers and LTL Carriers, but for many U.S manufacturers, distributors and e commerce retailers the paperwork and customs requirements can be a bit confusing.
We have a client who sells auto part kits and we recently shipped an LTL shipment to the province of Alberta for him. He was here at our offices for over an hour asking questions about Canada shipping. One thing he didn’t under…

Logistics is all about Timing

In the mid 1990s the band Hootie and the Blowfish had a hit song called "Time". The first and last line of that song is "Time...why you punish me?" I unfortunately think that way too often in my business life as I deal with coordinating freight for our clients.

Managing transportation services such as local pickup and delivery as well as long haul and white glove services puts a high demand on timing. whether you are a large or small transportation service provider, the economics are the same. Time is money.

My blog this month is about timing. Specifically how Gateway tries to manage the logistics process to provide our clients with the most efficient and economical services to attain the optimum result.

Larger logistics groups would have you believe that its just a matter of scale, once you get big enough these issues go away but after working for one of those groups I know these same issues existed back when I was managing loads for them.

On a daily basis our of…

Blue Collar White Gloves kind of 3PL

I have recently had a number of conversations with clients and some client prospects about what we do and what in particular makes Gateway different from some of the other transportation related companies they have dealt with. In the business of supply chain and distribution services Gateway O.T is considered a Third Party Logistics company or 3PL.
When I am asked what king of 3PL we are I answer: "Blue Collar White Gloves" to reinforce our company moto “We ensure shipping success”. It’s in the way we ensure this success that differentiates us from other 3PLs. We are a hands on company. Gateway can pick up, warehouse, pack and deliver your goods. This is actual blue collar work that a lot of the other 3PLs don’t offer.
As a U.S Air Force veteran I know the term Logistics was first coined in the military, but the specific term 3PL began in the 70s and 80s when manufacturers and wholesalers started “Outsourcing” some or all of their supply chain needs.
By utilizing a 3PL, th…

E Commerce Shipping Tax

We get asked a lot by our e commerce clients, those that sell their stuff online through eBay, Etsy and other e commerce web platforms, whether they need to pay tax on shipping. They come to us because we know the answer and the answer is simple:

"Yes" and "No"

Confused? Laughing? Have I answered your question?

In Arizona we have what is called a T.P.T or Transaction Privilege Tax. The tax in essence is the cost, or "privilege" of doing business in the state. Gateway Crate and Freight for example pays a tax on the crates and packaging we build in our warehouses or on site at our customers locations.

For our customers who sell online and have us pack and ship their items, it is important for them to understand the tax implications of their sale. The bottom line answer to the question comes in the form of a line on your invoice.

Does your invoice to your customer show freight as a separate line item charge? If it does than that amount is excluded from taxes…

Packing for Optimum Transportation

I have written in this blog on a number of occasions about the shift in ground freight to dimensional pricing among many national and regional L.T.L companies. and today I wanted to focus on the importance of packing items for safe shipping while receiving the best freight rate.
Lets start by looking at the picture of the un-boxed oven above. The actual size of which is 29 inches wide by 27 inches deep by 29 inches high. When shipping this in a class rated structure, you could box this oven and strap the box to a standard 48 X 40 pallet and send it on its way.
Here's why: The N.M.F.C has this oven as a density based class with the density breakout at 6 and 10. So if the density is less than 6 this would ship as a class 200 if the density is between 6 and 10 then it would ship at class 110 and if the density is greater than 10 then this ships at a class 77.5
Before we could understand the density breakout of this shipment we need to know a little more info about the shipment like …