Practical Guide to Shipping Perishables

For companies that shift temperature- and environment-sensitive stock, need to take extra care in selecting a carrier and provide good storage and shelving systems for their inventory. In selecting a carrier, knowing the shipping requirements of your product and communicating these needs to your transport provider can minimise product spoilage and boost your bottom line.

Knowing Your Product

Goods that expire during transit is lost revenue. However, with the range of technologies and packaging options available, businesses can eliminate unnecessary spoilage. To match the product to the right solution, it’s important to start by understand your product.

  • Knowing your product. What are the limitations and requirements of your product(s)? What makes it perishable? Most people will be aware of the basic limitations in food. For other perishables such as pharmaceutical products, chemicals, and health products, it may be necessary to clearly define the exact requirements for effective storage and transport.
  • Testing. Businesses will find it beneficial to conduct some testing to define the limits of what particular products will accept. For example, what’s the exact temperature limit or time limit for a product? What are the optimum temperatures and conditions? Will the product be subject to impact or compression during transport?
  • Packaging. Where and how you ship your products will impact on packaging. Products that are transported across high-humidity or very cold regions may need special packaging to reduce spoilage. Some products may require packaging that allows temperature monitoring or direct product visibility for checks during transport. Products that are shipped by air may need different packaging from those shipped by truck or rail, for example, in the form of more stable pallet racking.
  • Process. Other parts of the transport process, such as before and after shipping, can make a significant amount of difference to the product’s quality upon delivery. For example, how are products protected during the loading dock stage? How long do products sit in an open truck before the driver departs?

Finding the Right Carrier

Finding a carrier who can meet your product’s needs is vital.

  • Explore different transport options. Explore all your transport and packaging options together. While refrigerated carriers are available, you may also combine temperature-controlled packaging with express freight options.
  • Communicate requirements. Communicate your requirements very clearly to the carrier. Even the smallest details can make a significant amount of difference to a product.
  • Operating procedures and quality control. Feel free to question your transport provider about their operating procedures and guidelines for their staff. What are their quality control mechanisms?
  • Past experience. Look for a carrier with past experience in shipping similar products. An experienced provider can help you better assess your needs and suggest improvements.
  • Insurance. What are the insurance options available in case of loss, damage, or damage due to late delivery?

Complying With Regulations

Perishable goods are often subject to specific government regulations. These may cover record keeping, packaging, labelling, and quality at point of sale. Regular voluntary audits and testing can ensure that all aspects of storage and transport allow your products to meet the mandatory provisions. It will also further help eliminate damage during transport.

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