4 key factors that influence the cost of transporting your goods

Whenever we make use of a certain service or company for the first time, we aren’t always aware of the cost factors that influence the amount we are quoted for. This could cause us to make decisions for our business that we otherwise wouldn’t have made if we were more informed on the matter.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when looking at the cost of transporting your goods:

1 – Fuel costs

Maritime and land transport costs are naturally related to the fuel price. As fuel prices decrease, container ships and trucks become cheaper to operate and transport prices fall – and vice versa.

Fuel prices are mainly influenced by the price of oil, and the value of the Rand next to the U.S. Dollar. With these two factors fluctuating, the price of fuel is unstable and is therefore easily changed.

2 – Insurance

Insurance is one of the biggest necessities when it comes to transportation and the handling of goods. If a company doesn’t have insurance on the goods they are transporting, their quote might be cheaper than their competitors. However, the loss you may experience if something had to happen to your products could be devastating.

Be sure to look at the insurance that is provided along with your quotation. Making use of a company that has the insurance you find necessary for your product would be the best solution for your business.

3 – The labour market for commercial drivers

Increasing wages and competition among carriers can have an upward impact on the cost of transport. With older drivers retiring, carriers can struggle to find new operators for their vehicles.

Recruiting new drivers is difficult. Finding people who are capable and willing to drive for hours at a time is one thing. The other is whether these people have the required driver licence for the position. Courses to certify new commercial drivers can take weeks or even months to complete, adding strain to logistics companies and their customers.

Furthermore, many logistics companies are struggling to compete with ‘in-house’ truck driving positions which tend to pay more and are less stressful.

4 – Demand for freight

Pricing depends on the volume of product being shipped by operators just as much as it depends on the actual, underlying costs.

If capacity is limited, businesses may be inclined to sell limited space at a higher cost. On the other hand, if business is slow, a carrier may offer a lower rate than usual, even if it’s short-term.

The above factors are definitely not the only influences on transport costs, but keeping these in mind when enquiring transport costs will ensure that you make the most informed decision for your business.

5 things to ask a transport and logistics company before hiring them

Knowing exactly which company to make use of for the transport and logistics needs of your business can be tricky. You may even spend a lot of time weighing up the many options. And no one blames you. If you’re going to put your trust in a company to securely transport your goods to and from where they need to be, without a scratch, you’d want to know you made the right decision.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of goods being stolen while in transit or the transport vehicles being attacked and damaged while on the road. As a business owner, you want to know how to prevent this from happening to you – and if it does, what do you do?

Here are the top 5 things you should ask a transport and logistics company before hiring them:

1. What sort of insurance do they have?

If you’re going to trust a company to transport your goods, insurance should be the first thing on your mind. As much as we want to believe that things will go smoothly, we also know that anything could happen.

There are usually multiple insurance options to choose from, depending on the parcel or load that needs to be delivered and the business’s unique requirements. To ensure a peaceful night’s sleep, rather opt for a transport and logistics company that can offer you the type of insurance that will best suit your specific needs.

2. How will you be updated on the location of your goods?

Technology has made the tracking of your parcel or load’s location so much easier. Due to stringent security measures employed by good transport and logistic companies, you might not be able to get the exact, live location of your parcel. Your logistics company should, however, give you an update at certain points throughout the journey.

Whether it’s via email, SMS or phone call, a good transport and logistics company will let you know, without you having to nag them, when your parcel or load has passed a certain location and at least provide you with an estimate of its arrival.

Receiving regular updates at key points of the journey of your goods will give you peace of mind and help make communication with your own potential customer a lot easier.

3. Can you contact them after hours in case of an emergency?

Okay, maybe not an emergency. But let’s say the location of the delivery suddenly changed, or you need an urgent update on the whereabouts of your parcel, can you contact the transport and logistics company after hours?

Knowing that you’re able to contact your service provider whenever you need to says a lot about the personal relationship and customer centricity of the company. This is another advantage of using a smaller business instead of your large, well-known brands. To read more about this, go check out this article: Why hiring a more personal logistics company is better for business.

4. How often do they travel the route you require?

Let’s say your parcel or load needs to go to a location that not everyone is familiar with traveling, like Zimbabwe. Does this logistics company travel this route often, or not at all?

If the driver of the cargo is familiar with the route your parcel or load needs to take to arrive at their destination, your goods will be much safer—as the driver will have an idea of all the twists and turns that may come about. This lessens the possibility of surprise obstacles or unknowns that could hinder the delivery process, ensuring a smooth, timely and efficient journey.

5. What additional services are offered?

Except for just transporting your goods from A to B, what other services can the company provide? There are many transport companies out there, but not all of them offer a full-stack service that completely takes care of the entire end-to-end logistics process.

If your parcel needs to be delivered somewhere that crosses the country’s borders, do they help with customs and clearing to get your goods into the country, or is that completely up to you to handle? Can they provide additional advice or recommendations on the transportation of your goods, to ensure a smoother transit?

By asking these questions to the transport and logistics company you want to hire, you’ll be better equipped to make the best decisions for your business and ultimately ensure the successful transport and delivery of your goods.

If you have any other questions you think would be worth asking a transport and logistics company you may want to hire, feel free to comment them below!