Whether you want to ship beverages to a buyer or import them for use in your own business, choosing the right company to deal with shipping and the related logistics is essential. Here are seven questions to ask any potential partner, before you trust them with a cargo that requires extra-careful handling and full compliance.
1. Are they experienced in shipping beverages?
Beverages – especially alcoholic drinks – require precise handling, both in practical and regulatory terms. It’s essential that any logistics partner that you choose is aware of this and, ideally, experienced in shipping the same kind of beverage, to the destination in question. This last point is vital as different destinations may have different rules and regulations in place.
2. What shipping method will be used?
There are several different ways that beverages can be shipped. The right method for your shipment will depend on volume, the type of beverage, the method of shipping and your budget. You will have the option to ship your beverages filled, i.e. already in bottles/containers or to ship in a tank and fill at the destination. Each method has various pros and cons. For example, filling at the destination can increase shelf life, eliminate the risk of damage to the packaging and reduce the carbon footprint of the shipment. An experienced beverage logistics partner should offer a variety of shipping options and be able to advise you on the most suitable one for your shipment.
3. Can they control the shipping environment?
Alcoholic beverages are sensitive to temperature, light and humidity, so it’s crucial that your logistics partner can control these variables to ensure optimum shipping conditions. Your shipment also needs to be protected from contamination, which means following the correct handling, shipping and storage processes.
4. How will they protect your shipment?
As well as protecting the quality of your shipment, a good beverage logistics partner will also recognise the fact that alcohol can be a relatively high-value cargo, which increases the risk of theft. Ask what tools they use to reduce this risk – for example, GPS tracking systems.
5. Will they guarantee compliance?
Compliance is absolutely essential unless you want to risk losing your shipment and potentially facing punishment. The laws and regulations that need to be complied with will depend on the country (or even state) of dispatch/destination, which is why an experienced and knowledgeable logistics partner is vital. You’ll also be trusting your partner to ensure that the relevant customs/tax formalities are correctly completed on your behalf.
6. Are they reliable?
Like other perishables, beverages have a limited shelf life that you’ll want to maximise. This means avoiding shipping delays wherever possible. Shelf life aside, ensuring that deliveries are made on time is essential for developing and maintaining good relationships with the partners that you are shipping to. Likewise, if you’re looking to import alcohol for your own business, you’ll want to avoid stocking issues that can be caused by delayed or missing shipments.
7. Do they offer good value for money?
Whether you’re buying or selling, the bottom line is always an important consideration for all business owners. However, when it comes to specialised shipping like the shipping of beverages, it’s important to look at value rather than simply comparing cost. Ensure that any partner that you’re considering has the experience, the know-how and can offer the right shipping method for you, before comparing quotes on a like-for-like basis.
John Good Shipping is happy to answer any questions that you might have about shipping beverages or any other type of cargo. Call our friendly and experienced team to talk through your requirements today.