Offering time-specific deliveries to customers is one way your business can go above and beyond the competition. In a world where we are constantly busy, knowing exactly when our goods are due to arrive gives us an essential convenience. If you’re shipping internationally, managing time-critical shipments can be a complex process. The goods need to pass through so many checkpoints and customs barriers, that being able to confidently offer this service requires the support of other professionals in this industry. In this guide, we’ll take a look at this type of crucial shipment and everything you need to know about setting up this corner of your business.

What Are Time-Critical Shipments?

This term is used within the shipping industry to discuss shipments that need to arrive at their end destination as quickly as possible. It can also refer to cargo that needs to arrive at a specific time and one that needs to be delivered to prevent perishing or damage. Other terms that fall within this bracket include expedited shipping. This is where your main goal is speed – the item needs to be delivered within 24 hours or slightly longer otherwise there are negative impacts. Time-critical deliveries need to arrive as soon as possible, giving more leniency on the methods used.

In both situations, you are working under restricted time-frames. If this service is offered, the client needs to be confident that it can be carried out. There is nothing worse for business reputation than offering expedited delivery and failing to deliver. This is where a freight-forwarding company steps in to help. With a wide breadth of contacts within the industry, they are able to most accurately calculate the length of time it will take to move goods from one location to another.

When Do You Need to Offer Time-Critical Shipments?

Time-critical shipments are used for a number of reasons. Within corporate environments, they can be vital for transporting sensitive information, documents, or goods that cannot be viewed before a certain time frame. Equally, when working with trade shows and perishable goods (such as flowers or fresh foods), time-critical deliveries ensure they arrive at a non-permanent destination within a very specific time frame. Automobile or other vehicle parts required for time-sensitive movements are also goods that are commonly transported through time-critical shipments.

If we look also at expedited shipping (which sits within time-sensitive movements), there are specific situations where this becomes the most suitable option. For example, transporting medical goods that need to be maintained at a consistent temperature would be best suited to expedited shipping. Temperature-controlled freight movement is time-limited – the temperatures can be maintained only as long as the environment and machinery is in full working order. Expedited delivery minimises the scope for errors and helps to ensure goods are delivered in optimal condition. Expedited delivery is also ideal for deliveries out of normal office hours.

The Demands of Time-Critical Shipments

You generally find that time-critical shipments are the result of unplanned occurrences. An unexpected event or production line interruption that threatens to damage the reputation or flow of a business line. Equally, the demand for them can come from planning operations that are restricted in terms of time. Some of the examples we mentioned above demonstrate situations just like this.

Not all courier services are able to provide this service. In many instances, it requires access to aeroplanes, ships, and trucks within a very short time frame. Additional premiums cause the cost of these accelerated shipments to soar upwards. And, for those within the pharmaceutical industry or requiring temperature-controlled environments, there is a demand for the right type of technology to manage the goods. In order to guarantee time-critical shipments, there needs to be an agreed structure in place that has been tested and approved on numerous occasions.

Certain considerations need to be taken into account, including:

  • What actions are taken to minimise delays?
  • What time-frame can realistically be offered?
  • Where are delays likely to occur and how can these be avoided?
  • What is the back-up plan, should something hinder the timely arrival of this shipment to its end destination.

The Importance of Tracking

Modern technology has made it easy, and commonplace, for us to be able to track where our goods are in real-time. This becomes even more important when dealing with time-critical deliveries. Providing this service not only allows delays to be identified and rectified quickly. It also provides trust and reassurance to the client, providing them with the tools to ensure the goods are on track and inform their end customer. Full tracking facilities are becoming a regular appearance in international shipping. When working with the right freight forwarder, they will be able to steer you towards the most equipped companies to support your individual shipment.

Working With a Freight Forwarder for International Time-Critical Shipments

Freight forwarders bring with them a wealth of contacts and experience within the international shipping industry. With all cargo movement, including expedited and time-critical, there are a number of hurdles that need to be passed in order to get the goods to their final destination. As an individual, you can manage this yourself. However, with the breadth of companies out there all offering seemingly similar services, ensuring timely delivery becomes a challenge. The right freight forwarder provides their own network within the industry, identifying the most suitable logistic solutions for every freight shipment.

Here at Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services, we have over 25 years of experience offering a range of freight movement services to our clients. Our team of professionals can connect you with the right contacts, ensuring time-sensitive, time-critical and expedited shipments arrive on time. To request a quote or speak to a member of our team, get in contact with us here today.