There are many points that you need to consider when shipping a car for your business, because each mistake that you make can result in a loss of value and affect your business in a negative manner.
In this article we provide a simple, four point checklist that covers all the main areas important to vehicle Logistics – especially when using container transport.
1) Determining Vehicle Information
The golden rule of vehicle logistics is to transport your vehicle as safely as possible, by the most cost-effective means. To do this, you have to be armed with the correct data to choose the right shipping solution. The first step is, therefore, to collect all the vehicle information you need and ensure that all the consignment details have been covered. This information includes the current condition of the vehicles, including any external elements attached to the cars. The initial assessment should also cover any components that may pose as targets for vandalism or theft. This vehicle information also includes full ownership documentation, so that there can be a chain of accountability across every stage of the supply chain.
Without full consignment details, it can be difficult to choose the most cost-effective solution. This is especially important when using container shipping, rather than Ro-Ro, as you will need to arrange your consignment to use the fewest number of shipping containers – or else risk paying more than you have to. It goes without saying that full export documentation is also required to avoid hold-ups during the journey.
2) Choosing Your Racking Solution
A vehicle cannot fit into a shipping container like other palletised goods, as it may move around and become damaged. Due to the shape of cars, it is also impossible to fit more than a couple of vehicles in a shipping container without using a racking system, so much of the space is wasted. Thus, your vehicles will need to be fixed in place in the container with the appropriate racking system. Shipping a car affordably depends on selecting the most suitable type of racking and ensuring that the vehicle is properly placed in the container before the start of its long journey.
There are two basic options available for vehicle racking. The first are wooden systems, which are fitted in place at the embarkation point and usually only used once. You may wish to choose this option if you are only shipping vehicles as a one-time consignment. This is because wooden racking costs less than the alternative for a single use product. However, if you regularly ship vehicles, the cost of wooden racking will soon mount up, as fresh materials and labour need to be employed each time.
The second option is a more complex modern system fabricated from steel modules. There are several models on the market, including our own R-Rak and SKD-Rak systems. A steel racking system is designed to accommodate different shaped vehicles in ordinary 40 foot or 45 foot shipping containers. The racking itself can be adjusted to fit different widths of cars and installed in different containers as the need arises.
3) Racking Simulations
Arriving at the right number of racks and shipping containers is a bit like a puzzle game. At Trans-Rak we use 3-D simulation software to find out the best way to transport a consignment of cars in a containerised solution. This makes it easy to find the optimum configuration for mixed consignments – which may contain vehicles of widely varying size, width and weight.
4) Weight Considerations
The weight of the vehicles is an important factor. From combining point 1 and 2, you need to ensure that the system in place is suitable for the weight of the vehicle. We have seen numerous instances of vehicles having broken wooden or inferior metal racking systems due to the vehicle being heavy and/or the container moving during transportation.
Find Out More About Car Container Transport
To find out more about container shipping and how it compares with other vehicle logistics methods, please click here to download our Containerised Car Transport Guide. This free e-book analyses the costs and benefits of container shipping, and how you can use racking effectively to get better value for money. For sales queries, please call (+44) 1926 408282, or click here to request a free quote.