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Five tips to make container transport run better

Container transport: always a hectic affair. There are also an awful lot of steps that have to be performed to collect a container from the customer’s depot and deliver it to the terminal (or vice versa). SKB Logistics has been active for many years as a carrier of containers from customers to ports and vice versa. Our company has seen the number of steps grow steadily over the years. Time to give organisations 5 tips to improve transport.

The steps

If you think transporting a container only takes a few steps, you’re wrong. An awful lot is involved. In a nutshell:

  • the client sends the order (a complete transport order with data, loading/unloading locations, special operations); T1 document; removal; proof of exemption;

  • the carrier enters it into the system;

  • the carrier requests any missing data;

  • the carrier checks in advance whether the container is already at the terminal and whether the exemption the client must arrange is still valid;

  • the carrier books a time slot within which the container can be collected;

  • if all data is complete, the driver can collect the container and the associated paperwork within the time slot (while the driver is on the road, the above matters are often sorted out, checked and arranged);

  • throughout this process, the carrier’s Planning department continuously communicates with the client about delays (due to numerous causes);

  • the container eventually arrives at the customer and is emptied there;

  • our driver then takes the empty container to a terminal for storage on behalf of the client and drives to the next terminal or depot for the next trip.

This process applies to all 40, 60 or 80 containers simultaneously accompanied on a carrier schedule on any one day. The parties greatly depend on each other: if the customer does not provide an important piece of information, the carrier cannot continue. If the carrier omits something during, for example, the import (trip on the wrong date), it also poses a considerable problem (also read our blog about the five biggest annoyances). How can you make this process run as smoothly as possible? Our five tips: Tip 1: Provide all details of the transport properly If you, the client, want the container to be delivered to the location smoothly and in time, prepare the transport well: create a complete transport order, deliver all data in one go: transport order, T1 document; removal; proof of exemption. Also make sure everything is entered in Portbase on time. Tip 2: Book multiple trips that are similar with one carrier Many clients use multiple carriers. Divide trips among the carriers as efficiently as possible. The best thing to do is arrange trips with (approximately) the same loading and unloading addresses with one carrier. If there is an unexpected delay on one of the trips, we can swap to deliver the container as efficiently and quickly as possible. Tip 3: Stick to a fixed set of trips with fixed loading and unloading addresses with a fixed carrier The more often a carrier performs the same trip, the better he knows the ins and outs of the trip. The bottlenecks that often occur, delays that occur regularly, the occasional omissions of a client. Transport will run smoother and will require increasingly less mutual consultation. And that makes everyone happy.

Tip 4: Take the time to perform all necessary actions As a client, you also have to complete several steps. Very important steps, in fact. Be sure to complete them. Assuming the matters listed below ‘will be taken care of’ is a bad starting position. ‘The carrier will tell me if something’s wrong’ is not a good thing. Because it means the delay is already a fact.

  • Check whether the exemptions have been arranged and whether they are still valid

  • Check whether the reserved empty containers are, indeed, available

  • Check whether the full container is on the quay in the port

  • Check whether the empty container to be returned has already been registered at a terminal

Tip 5: Reserve your trip on time The transport market is erratic. One moment it’s quiet, the next time it’s the opposite. Reserve or book your trip on time. This will allow the carrier to take it into account in his schedule. And as a client, you have a better chance of your transport being carried out. This way, we can head for the road together.

This SKB Logistics blog is a call for more understanding for each other and for more collaboration. Both parties will have to perform their tasks properly to achieve the desired result: a container that is delivered on time without too much stressful contact between the carrier’s Planning department and that of the client. SKB Logistics is a container transport company that operates on the basis of solid collaboration and mutual trust. We believe this forms the basis for a shared result: stable transport, competitive but healthy rates, helping each other out in difficult situations (shortages, surpluses or a forgotten rush job) and safe situations on the road. We don’t compete on price and we don’t bid on auction sites. Good transport at a good, competitive price. Please contact us for a customised quote: + 31 85 1117650 or


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