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In the Know: 5 Shipping Myths Debunked

The world of shipping is a complex industry with many intricacies like laws and regulations that determine how, why and when cargo is transported across the ocean. Although many people are unaware of how the shipping industry is run, it’s extremely vital to the way that our world works as 90 percent of all trade is carried out by cargo ships. Without this sector of our economy, we would not have many of the small luxuries that we take for granted. Whether you’re already involved in the world of shipping or you’re considering a career in this field, we’ve rounded up some of the most common myths that surround shipping processes to put these rumors to rest and help you make the right decisions–like using eco-friendly packaging or insuring your cargo load.

Cargo Insurance Isn’t Necessary

Many people involved in the shipping industry believe that cargo insurance is an additional cost that isn’t worth the money spent. However, insuring your freight load is a vital precaution, particularly if your goods are embarking on an extended trip. Although technology has helped us to improve our ships and the way they run, there are still dangerous factors out on the open ocean that can cause problems. Cargo ships are typically carrying millions of dollars’ worth of goods and while the possibility of losing that cargo may be small, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Damage is another factor in insuring freight loads because even if the cargo isn’t lost, it may have sustained some other damage during a long trip. Even a human error like not maintaining the proper temperature in a shipping container can lead to an astronomical profit loss.

Shipping Cost Quotes Are Completely Accurate

Prior to actually shipping a cargo load, most supplier companies will receive an estimated quote for the cost of bringing their goods from one destination to the next. However, many companies are mistakenly under the impression that all of the necessary costs will be covered in this original quote. Unfortunately, that is not the way that quoting works in any industry. Typically, this is a tentative number that gives you a price range so you can have an idea of the potential costs, but other factors can add or deduct from this original estimate.

If you’re working with a company to get a freight quote, you should have a list of questions ready to ask, including: What potential additional costs may come up? Are you building in extra costs in case of these scenarios? Will I receive my money back if those additional services are not needed? It’s best to have a breakdown of the entire quote to help you understand what exactly you’re paying for and ensure that you get it at the best possible price without any surprise hidden fees at the end.

You Can Avoid Customs

When you’re shipping across countries, you will regularly be passing through customs, and undergoing a customs exam is a necessary part of the entire process. There is no way to get past this part of the process, and if you try to, you may suffer some serious consequences as it’s very important for countries to monitor both what and who is coming in and out of their country. When you arrive at customs, there will be an officer there to ask for paperwork and other documentation outlining the incoming shipment. Although sometimes this will be all that needs to be done, other times, customs officers may want to inspect the goods for damage and to ensure that the products they think are being imported are the same products in the shipping containers. The best thing to do in this scenario is to try and remain as organized as possible by being knowledgeable and confident about what you are transporting.

Eco-Friendly Packaging Isn’t Worth the Cost

In many cases, using eco-friendly packaging is actually more cost-efficient than using traditional packaging materials, but there is a myth surrounding the idea that biodegradable items are more expensive. This isn’t usually the case, especially because using eco-friendly packaging not only saves money in the long run, but it also helps improve the environment. Unfortunately, the shipping industry contributes a lot to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It’s estimated that container ships are responsible for three percent of global carbon and GHG emissions, which may sound small but has a large impact for just one industry. Because shipping is a necessary part of the global economy, we need to retain the industry, but there are ways to help lower other impacts on the environment–particularly when using quality shipping materials.

Women Are Bad Luck on Board

A part of old maritime folklore, the idea that women bring bad luck on ships has long been debunked, but some older generations still hold this belief to be true. In the past, sailors would create all types of superstitions and folk stories to explain the natural events of the wide-open ocean. It was long believed that if women were brought aboard a ship, it would anger the sea gods that controlled the ocean and lead the ship into danger. However, nowadays, we recognize that sea gods do not control the sea or the fate of the ships sailing on it, and we’ve seen hundreds of women prove themselves to be more than capable of working positions like engineer, cargo mate and even captain on some of the world’s largest cargo ships.

Learn More About the Shipping Industry

The more you understand the way that the shipping industry works, the more efficient the system will become. And, while there are a lot of myths surrounding some practices within the industry, it’s best to learn why these myths are not true and help you and your company to be more prepared in the future. Implementing eco-friendly packaging to help reduce the industry’s impact on the environment and being aware of how to pass through customs will reduce myths surrounding shipping and coax the industry to move forward into the future.

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