Container Ship

When it comes to global logistics and container shipping in general, the industry is so wide and diverse that it can be difficult to keep it running smoothly and without fault. In fact, it could very well be impossible. Freight forwarders face problems every day within their businesses and the global logistics industry in general, and so we’ve decided to look into some of the biggest problems that container shipments face.

Communication

Communication between not only businesses, but customers and their freight forwarders can altogether cause more problems than it might solve – at least, when there’s a lack of communication. In a world where constant tracking updates are common and customers like to know everything that is happening with their shipments at every stage of the journey, communication is key and an almost vital part of the industry. Similarly, communication about a shipment from business to business or port to port is also vital for ensuring a smooth and trustworthy service.

Security

Security is a growing concern in the freight industry due to the volume in which goods are being passed between providers. A single delivery could go from a local trucker, to a warehouse, then from the warehouse through to another truck to take it to a port and so on. It can pass through upwards of five or six pairs of hands in long-distance shipments and so while each company might boast the best security, they will all have their own way of practicing this. All of this movement becomes a security risk, especially if even only one of the parties involved in the shipment breaks a security procedure.

Delivering on time

There is no denying that we are living in a world of high expectations when it comes to delivery times. Next-day and same-day delivery services are in high demand, and so when it comes to long-distance shipments, even a week can seem like a long time compared to what we are growing accustomed to. This can be difficult in an increasingly busy times of the year. Holidays and busy ports can all account towards late delivery, which can ultimately cause problems with customer satisfaction.

Capacity

Space for shipments is a problem that is growing with every passing day. As the volume of shipments increases, the space and capacity available decreases, which can ultimately halt and cause problems for companies that might have a high volume of shipping containers to send. It can mean late deliveries if there is no room available on a ship.

Infrastructure

With the global logistics industry growing, the world is needing to change to account for the increased volume of shipments, or simply the sheer sizes of the ships that are being sent. Some ports still can’t take the sheer size of some freighters or don’t have the room to store the containers that come off of them. Infrastructure problems are especially prevalent in developing countries where delivery volumes are increasing, but the ports simply can’t take the volume.

The Top Trucking Movies of All Time

When thinking of trucking, a very stereotypical image can come to the minds of those who may not know much about the industry as a whole, but the question is – why? Depictions of truck drivers in movies could have a part to play in this, and so we’ve decided to look into some of the best trucking movies or movies that include trucking of all time.

White Line Fever (1975)

White Line Fever follows Carrol Jo Hummer, played by Jan-Michael Vincent, after he returns from a stint in the Air Force. He borrows money to buy a truck in order to make money by hauling produce all so he can marry his love interest in the film, Jerri Kane. However, he discovers that the long-haulage industry had been corrupted by criminal forces. The film centres on his fight against these corrupt forces to return the trucking industry to a trustworthy, crime-free industry.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

The most memorable quote from this movie is probably “For the good ol’ American life. For the money, for the glory and for the fun. Mostly for the money.” In short, this movie was probably the one that made kids want to be truckers and helped increase the popularity of CB radios. The film follows Bo “The Bandit” Darville (Burt Reynolds) and Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed), two truckers who have found themselves on a wild ride hauling an illegal truckload of beer from Texas to Georgia, all while being chased by “Smokey” – Sherriff Buford T. Justice.

Over the Top (1987)

Over The Top follows Sylvester Stallone as Lincoln Hawk, a struggling trucker who is trying to rebuild his life after the death of his wide. Trying to make amends with his son that he left behind 10 years earlier, Hawk takes up an arm wrestling to make some extra cash but when the World Arm Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas crop up and his son takes an interest, he knows he has to take part. He hopes to win the grand prize of $100,000 and an expensive custom semi-truck all to start his own company – and win over his son.

Black Dog (1998)

Patrick Swayze stars as trucker Jack Crews in Black Dog – the marmite of trucker films. It’s possibly the best or worst trucking film of all time depending on whether you love or hate it! Jack Crews is an ex-convict who is tricked into hauling illegal firearms across the country. Swayze did all of his own stunts in this movie, as well as driving the huge 18-wheeler truck featured in the movie. The movie also features musicians Randy Travis and Meat Loaf, with Travis having sung on the movie’s soundtrack and ultimately reaching the top 30 of Top Country Albums!

…. And Cars! (2006)

Okay, so this is hardly a trucking movie, but if there’s any truck in any movie that is memorable, it’s Mater. Voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, Mater is a tow truck that any little future truckers will love to watch and quote. While the movie might not be about trucking, Mater’s character can help introduce people to the world of trucks, and generate interest in kids for future careers.

Five skills you need to be a logistics manager

The world of logistics isn’t always as simple as it might seem to someone on the outside. Logistics managers’ roles will differ from company to company, but regardless of what you’ll be doing, there are some skills that are the same no matter what your duties may be. Logistics managers are essential for a business to run smoothly and with minimal fault, and so we’ve pulled together some of the top skills that you need if you’re thinking about becoming a logistics manager.

Forward Thinking

Like with any fast-paced industry, some level of forecasting is important. Logistics Managers need to be able to forward plan for any potential needs and risks that their company may face, and with the lead-time that is needed in some cases to fix these potential problems and risks, the forward thinking and forecasting is vital. Ensuring there are enough resources, parts, transport or even staff for a particular job or time of year can help to ensure that a company stays afloat when things get tough, and forecasting will help do this.

Numerical and Analytical Skills

While a good logistics manager doesn’t necessarily need to be an amazing mathematician or a statistics graduate, even though it might be able to help. What they do need, however, is to be able to read and analyse data in order to make informed, accurate decisions about the future of the company. If you can do this with any success, then being a logistics manager could come easily to you. If you want to do further research into these skills, there are plenty of universities including the Open University who will offer courses in mathematics, statistics or logistics if you decide that this is something that you want to do.

Attention to Detail

Any logistics company will have a supply chain with numerous tiers and components, all of which a logistics manager may need to either manage, or at least have some form of communication with. Being organised and paying close attention to even the smallest of details is important in making sure that your business and its components are all running smoothly and with minimal, if any, risk. As a logistics manager, you’ll have the opportunity to create your own system of keeping track to make things as efficient and accurate as possible.

Good People Skills

Being a logistics manager will mean coming into contact with people from all areas of life. Workers, bosses, clients, suppliers and more are all important parts of your business and so good interpersonal skills are a must for keeping a good relationship with them all. Miscommunication can lead to big problems, and so it’s important to be clear and friendly where possible both face-to-face and in written communication. Confidence is key, but be careful not to come across as over confident!

An Understanding of the Industry

This may sound like a given, but an understanding of the industry that you are operating in is vital for good logistics management. You’ll need to know the bigger picture of the supply chain that you’re working in to truly understand the effect that your management of your employees will have. Having a full understanding of the product’s journey from start to finish not only helps you with management as a whole, but overall can help you think and act more strategically within the goals that you have for your company.

Top Tips For Shipping During The Holiday Season

The holiday season can be stressful when it comes to shipping. Whether you’re shipping gifts, or just find yourself in need of shipping services, finding an affordable, reliable and efficient way to ship your items on time can be difficult. Here at Barrington Freight, we’ve decided to put together some of our top tips for shipping your items during the holiday period to ensure a timely and reliable process.

Pick the right gift

This may be a given in some respects, but if you find that you’re shipping gifts this year, it could very well be worth changing up your ideas in favour of something that is easy to mail. Avoid anything fragile or breakable if you know your parcel is going a long way to avoid any broken hearts when the shipments arrive at their destination. Clothes, books, DVDs and some toys are all safe bets and don’t cost too much to ship either, just make sure that you check the prohibited items for your shipping company just to make sure that you can actually send the gift that you want to send!

Pick the right packaging!

Picking your packaging is just as important as picking the gift in the first place. Smaller items should be fine in a well-padded envelope, but for larger items, be sure to pick the right box. Boxes that leave a few inches on each side of your item and allow for plenty of padding are perfect if you have an item that might get dented or broken. Using a new box that is sturdy and strong might cost you a little more than simply wrapping your delivery, but think of the money you’ll save and the extra peace of mind knowing your item is well protected.

Consider the deadlines

When it comes to shipping during the holiday seasons, it’s important to consider the deadlines that companies will set for delivery, and how much it might cost you if you leave sending things until the last minute. If you miss a deadline, your item won’t be delivered, especially in the busy holiday season for shipping. Similarly, the run up to the big holidays tend to be slower when it comes to shipping simply because of the sheer volume of parcels being shipped. Be sure to account for extra time when sending your items, even as far as how long you may need to wait at a post office or for a courier to pick up your items.

Flat-Rate shipping

All year around, there are often flat-rate shipping options that can work out cheaper for you around the holiday season. Flat rate boxes and envelopes mean that no matter the weight of the item inside, the shipping will cost the same amount. This can be particularly useful if you have small but heavy items. Seeking out deals like this are worth seeking out, as they can save you time, effort and can ultimately be more efficient.

Insurance

If you’re really concerned about the items you are shipping around the holiday season, look for insurance. Not every company will offer insurance with their shipping, or you may have to pay a little extra to get it. When it comes to expensive or rare items, this kind of insurance is definitely worth the extra cost for the extra peace of mind. If something happens to go wrong or your parcel is damaged or lost, then your insurance will cover the costs of the lost items and potentially more, depending on the cover.

Common Issues for Logistics Companies

Like any business, the transport and logistics industry has issues that it has to face. From traffic, to the cost of fuel, all the way through to ensuring that the customer is satisfied at every step of the way, transport companies are fighting a daily battle against a multitude of issues. We’ve looked into some of the biggest contenders when it comes to issues that companies face, as well as a few ideas on how to overcome them, or how they are being dealt with in the logistics industry today.

Fuel Costs

Despite the improvements in fuel costs over the past few years, fuel prices within the UK are still much higher than the rest of continental Europe. The duty that has been placed on fuel, while frozen at 57.95p per litre, is the largest component of diesel and petrol prices. With VAT on top, paying for the fuel required for the long-distance journeys that transport companies regularly take can quickly add up to quite the hefty outgoing cost. However, while there is no way of lowering the cost of fuel overall, there are ways to optimise the fuel that you do get. Avoiding rush hours if you can is a way of reducing how much time you spend with your vehicle running, but not moving. The engine running will ultimately use up more fuel, so crossing as much distance as you can on the petrol that you’re using will be more efficient than simply sitting in traffic. Similarly, driving carefully and in the right gear, and avoiding any harsh breaking can save you fuel usage in the long run as well. Taking the most efficient routes is also far easier now with GPS systems and TMS all making finding the easiest and quickest route simpler than ever.

Customer Expectations

Managing customer relationships and ensuring that their expectations are met can be just as difficult, if not more so, than organising the deliveries themselves. Plenty of companies offer Next Day Delivery now due to a customer expectation for a fast service, and the more companies that offer this next day delivery, the more that need to offer it to keep up with the demand of the market. But the expectations go beyond this. More and most consumers are expecting updates on where their packages and deliveries are, and when they’re estimated to arrive. Technology is constantly improving to make this easier, and transport companies all over the world can take advantage of the rise of the smart phone age, and how easily their customers can access information.

Congestion

With more and more cars on the road and more and more built-up areas, congestion is a daily worry for everyone in the logistics industry. Navigating built-up towns and cities is difficult enough in big vehicles, but with traffic in addition it can make the whole experience not only unpleasant for the driver, but can also set them behind and risk them falling behind on schedule. However, some towns and cities are making routes for Lorries and trucks that are solely for the purpose of making transport easier for them. They won’t need to queue up behind domestic cars or commuters going to and from work, ultimately making the whole trip a little easier.

Lost at Sea: Some of the worst shipping disasters in history

Maritime accidents aren’t completely avoidable, and unfortunately Container ships and Freighters aren’t exempt from this rule. Ever since goods have been transported by ship, there have been accidents with ships with cargo getting lost at sea, never to be seen again and so we here at Barrington Freight have decided to look into some of the most memorable shipping crashes and accidents to happen to freighters.

MV Tricolor

On 14th December 2002, the MV Tricolor was on a journey from Zeebrugge in Belgium, to Southampton in the UK. Carrying nearly 3,000 vehicles, the ship collided with Kariba, a container ship that was able to continue on after the crash. The MV Tricolor, however, wasn’t so lucky and sunk in the spot where she was struck. But the disaster didn’t end there. The sinking had led to the vessel not only being submerged in the water, but being lodged on her side and caused another two collisions due to it’s position in the English Channel. A popular shipping route, bollards and guards were put out to ensure safety, but there were another two collisions before the MV Tricolor was salvaged in 2003-4.

SS Mont Blanc

The French Freighter SS Mont Blanc was carrying ammunition while in Halifax Harbour on December 6th 1917. When the ship then collided with the Norwegian ship the SS Imo, the freight exploded, causing the Halifax Explosion, killing around 2000 people in and around the city in Canada. A fire had started on the ship after the collision, detonating the cargo. The explosion that followed 20 minutes later was so massive that it devastated not only the harbour, but the city too.

MV Panagiotis

There is little doubt that the Navagio beach – also known as Shipwreck Beach – is perhaps the most photographed and well-known beaches in Greece. This secluded beach became known as Shipwreck Beach for one simple reason. In October 1980, the MV Panagiotis washed up on its shore and has since been open to much speculation about its history and what the ship was carrying at the time of its running aground. The most common theory is that the ship was smuggling cigarettes, booze, and potentially even women when it simply ran out of fuel and was washed ashore.

MSC Napoli

While this wasn’t the most memorable sinking in and of itself, the memorable part about it is perhaps the fact that the MSC Napoli was broken in two by explosives in a bid to make it easier to pull out of the sea. The salvage attempt cost $100million after the cargo vessel was refloated and after attempts to break the badly damaged hull during a high tide failed, a 1000 metre exclusion zone was put around the vessel to allow for the explosions to take place.

Tips and Tricks for Road Freight Drivershttps://www.barringtonfreight.co.uk/blog/top-trucking-movies-time/

Here at Barrington Freight, we understand that the long hours spent in the driver’s seat can be exhausting. Being a freight delivery driver can be straining, but there are plenty of ways to ease the strain so you can enjoy your job again. We’ve collected together some of the best tips and tricks for freight drivers to follow for an easier, more pleasant routine.

Be aware of your trailer 24/7

This may seem like a ridiculous tip or trick, but keeping an eye on your trailer and where it is in relation to the main cabin is important in ensuring that you’re driving safely. If your trailer is out of your lane at any moment or leaves the road completely, then you aren’t driving safely at all. Ultimately, it’s your trailer that proves to be the biggest weapon you have. If it swings or swerves too heavily, then it’s likely that someone will get hurt, or you’ll lose your cargo completely if it tips. Try and drive the trailer, rather than the cabin.

Pay attention

Make sure you pay attention to not only things going on around you, but also signs, especially on service stations. If you’re driving a large truck, you may have to take a different way back onto the highway than a car would, so it’s important to pay attention to the signs and directions laid out to you. Being sure to keep note of small, narrow roads and how to avoid them can also save you and your truck the trouble of trying to manoeuvre through roads that simply aren’t big enough for your cargo.

Learn to love your safety department

If there’s one common complaint among truckers, it’s that the safety departments of your head office can be agitating, and much like a police officer. However, it’s important to remember that they are just looking out for your best interests, and that they aren’t horrible people looking to make your job harder. The safety department have nothing to gain by your failure, and so they have as much passion for helping you succeed as you do for completing your deliveries.

Limit your caffeine and Alcohol intake

While drinking under the influence of Alcohol is illegal in most countries and is an obvious tip to follow, avoiding caffeine isn’t always quite as commonly known. When you’re tired, the first thing you might reach for is a cup of coffee, but this can have a major effect on the body in the long run, that can actually contribute to fatigue. Caffeine goes straight to the brain, blocking out receptors for adenosine – a molecule produced by your body that builds up to create a feeling of tiredness. Blocking the receptors makes you feel wide awake, but the brain will make more receptors, meaning you’ll need more measures of caffeine to feel the same effect.

Re-think your sleep schedule.

The more time you spend on the road, the more you begin to learn that making the most of the wealth of hours during the work day is a necessity. As much as you may want to sleep for eight hours a night, it could be worth experimenting with sleeping for shorter periods of time but more often. Change it around a bit and see what works for you. Naps can actually help restore your alertness, enhance your performance and reduce mistakes and accidents. So spend some of your stop offs sleeping, you never know what wonders it could do.

For more information or advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our experts have a whole range of experience and will do their best to help you with any enquiries.

Who are the BIFA and what do they do?

Here at Barrington Freight, we are proud members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA). As Freight forwarders, it’s important to have an association available to represent not only our best interests, but the interests of our customers and other freight forwarding companies. But who are the BIFA, and what do they actually do?

Who are they?

The British International Freight Association is the main trade association for any UK-registered companies that are involved in the movement of freight. Whether it’s by air, road, rail or sea, the BIFA are the lead organisation setting insurance-backed industry standards for any and all companies and related persons to the industry and its activities. It is a not-for-profit organisation that is entirely funded by subscriptions, meaning that it is run by its members for its members. With a full-time Secretariat, there is full-time cover and support for Freight companies and their assets.

Training

The BIFA can offer industry training to any of its members, but it doesn’t stop there. It also opens this training and development to International traders. Throughout the year, courses are run all over the UK, covering subjects including customs procedures, dangerous goods, security, imports, exports and international trade procedures. They also have information available about apprenticeships, as well as providing extra support for small companies who are taking on under 18 year olds.

Representation

Acting as an authoritative voice at official and government levels, BIFA uses its position to represent its members and the entire freighting industry. It is one of the only freight trade associations to be listed by the UK Government on their Business Link website, and is also regularly consulted by HM Revenue and Customs as a member of the Joint Customs Consultative Committee. It is also the UK National Association member of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), meaning that they can offer Freight Companies amazing representation and support at national and international levels.

Information and Guidance

All members of the BIFA will receive a copy of the Association’s monthly newsletter, the BIFAlink. I will keep them up to date on all sorts of things to do with the industry, and with a full list of the members on the website as well as constantly updated information about the freight and trade communities, there is certainly plenty for freight forwarders to keep up to date with. There are plenty of conferences and seminars taking place the whole year round, and any subjects that require any extra focus or coverage will always receive it.

Industry Promotion

The BIFA can offer plenty of promotion of not only its members to the industry, but the industry to its members. The Secretariat handles a large number of enquires every year, and the BIFA as a whole consistently encourages the world of freight and logistics as a path for students to take. It can also provide support and assistances to new importers and exporters, and for an extra leg up in promotion, they regularly partake in all kinds of industry trade fairs throughout the UK.

For more information about the BIFA or Barrington Freight and our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Becoming a Trucker: The Pros and Cons of Delivering Freight.

While you might not need college or University grades, becoming a trucker takes a very specific type of person. Here at Barrington Freight, we value speed and efficiency, and finding drivers with the means to help us fulfil our promise takes more than just find someone with a valid licence. With long hours and a need for endurance, trucking can either be your biggest dream or your worst nightmare. We’ve gathered together some of the pros and cons of delivering freight for you to consider.

Pro: Travel opportunities.

If there’s one perk of freight delivery to consider, it’s the fact that it opens up the opportunity for plenty of travel. The long-distance driving that comes with being a trucker means that you could wake up in England, and go to bed anywhere in Europe, all while getting paid to do so. With ever-changing scenery every day of your working life, you’ll run into plenty of destinations that you might not have otherwise had the opportunity to visit, or even places you might not have known existed previously. If you enjoy travelling and the opportunity to see the world, then a freight delivery job could be perfect for you. From countryside to mountain ranges, the views will be constantly and consistently changing, giving you an experience you won’t get in any other job.

Con: Long hours.

It may seem like an obvious statement, but long-distance drivers will be working long hours that might seem even longer when you’re on the road. You’ll need to be alert to keep yourself and others safe on the road, and come to terms with the fact you might miss important family functions or the opportunities to hang out with your friends. If spending hours alone with yourself sounds like your idea of hell, then this job probably isn’t for you. But if you think you can comfortably drive for hours on end, simply holding onto a steering wheel and watching the road, then don’t be disheartened just yet. While there are plenty of long repetitive hours, there are also plenty of hours filled with new experiences to enjoy.

Pro: Well paid.

With the volume of deliveries constantly increasing all over the world today, it’s no wonder that the industry is desperate for drivers and willing to pay for them. Companies are constantly on the lookout for experienced, dedicated drivers and most, if not all truck drivers are going to earn significantly over minimum wage. Solo truck drivers can earn upwards of £30,000, with team drivers and trainers earning even more than that, and there are usually plenty of perks and benefits to boot. From medical cover, to marriage counselling facilities, high speed networks, health insurance and accommodation discounts, most delivery companies will offer plenty of benefits to their drivers on top of the generous pay. With most companies paying per mile, long distance driving can be quite the well-paying business.

Con: You won’t have a companion to talk to.

There’s no way of denying it, delivering freight can be lonely. Even for those that prefer their own company, sitting alone in your truck for hours upon hours at a time can have an effect on the psyche, and the lack of companionship can affect you more than you’ll initially realise. You have to remember that it won’t just be while you’re in your truck that you’ll lack someone to talk to. You could be eating alone too, and very possibly in places that aren’t the most favourable. Communicating with your love ones or work colleagues can ultimately come down to just phone calls or the use of your CB, so you’ll need to be comfortable with that kind of communication too. But you will meet people on your travels. Whether it’s the clients, or other truckers in the same situation as you in various fast-food joints along the motorways, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to run into someone you wouldn’t otherwise have met.

For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

What is Container Spotting?

You’ve heard of train spotting. You’ve heard of bird spotting. You might have even heard of bus, car or sign spotting. But have you ever heard of container spotting? Hundreds of containers are shipped every day, but unless you are the owner of the container, it’s unlikely that you’re going to know what’s inside it, who owns it, and where it’s going. Some people, however, are starting to take up container spotting – the act of spotting shipping containers and identifying them by colour, size, origin country, vintage and much more.

Why?

One of the biggest questions you might have about Container Spotting is why? But the answer, really, is simple. It differs from person to person, depending on where their interests lie and what their history might be. Someone with a history in container shipping might have a particular interest in a company they used to work for, someone else might simply find satisfaction in spotting a container that is of a rare brand or colouring. The answer to the ‘why’ question is as simple as answering why bird spotters watch birds, or train spotters track trains. There is some level of satisfaction in the act no matter what that might be, and the personal choice to pursue something they’re interested in is not an unfamiliar concept.

Details to Look For.

If you want to look into container spotting for yourself, some of the details on the outside can tell you more about the origin, destination and potential contents. The longer you spend spotting, the more you’ll begin to learn about each company and their habits when it comes to shipping. Whether it’s different colours for different types of cargo or something not quite as glaringly obvious, container spotters all over the world are learning what to look for. Whether it’s the size, the origin country or the logo on the sides, the seasoned amongst spotters will be able to pick out the rare among the common. Some of the rarest and most interesting finds can find themselves featured on Intermodal Container Web Page – a page maintained by Matt Hannes.

The Container Guide.

For container spotters new and old, The Container Guide by Craig Cannon and Tim Hwang is a perfect companion and guide for spotting and identifying all kinds of containers. This pocket-sized, waterproof guide can guide you through the different containers and the corporations that own and ship them, and pulls inspiration from the traditional bird-watching guides that are so common. Hwan claims that the book appeals to “two types of infrastructure nerds” – those who are awe-struck by the scale of seaports and container shipping, and those who are far more into the data side of things, including mapping and tracking all kinds of containers and ports. The guide is a comprehensive, easy-to-understand field guide about shipping containers and the commercial world they belong to, and can be useful not only to container spotters, but to anyone who has anything to do with container shipping in their lives.

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