Freight handlers usually deny fault in damaged products

damagedproductfedexA recent article on a Vancouver Canada news site reports that Fed Ex denied a damage claim for an heirloom shipment.   The recipient of the shipment complained that when she received the box, much of the contents were broken or smashed.   The contents were valuable vases and dishes.  Fed Ex stated that they cannot guarantee that fragile items would not be damaged during shipment and that it appeared that the contents were not packaged properly.

The recipient claims that she used “lots of bubble wrap” and even wrapped items in towels.

While Packnet usually does not provide packaging and crating services for every day consumers, we do find that the issue here is a very common problem in the shipping industry, especially for business to business transit. On one hand you have a delicate product that needs to be protected.  On the other hand you have a shipping transit system that could include multiple carriers, multiple transit methods and a number of handling and storage steps.   A package not only can experience a variety of shock and vibration due to both human and machine factors, but could see a variety of environmental conditions such as hot or cold, dry or humid, rainy or arid.

In the above story, we would like to point out two issues that need to be addressed when shipping fragile product.

First and foremost is the packaging method. The use of “lots of bubble wrap and towels” probably is not adequate, but is very typical of how an inexperienced packager would handle the situation.  In reality, providing secure cushioning is needed, but not all cushioning is the same.    Using the wrong cushioning materials or misapplying cushioning materials could be just as disastrous as not providing any cushioning.   Packnet’s vast packaging experience and material knowledge enables us to design custom foam packaging solutions that meet the requirements efficiently and economically.

The second problem is to trust the carrier to always 100% handle your product correctly at every point of transit and storage.   Fed Ex says it handles every package as if it were fragile.   We have no reason to doubt that Fed Ex or any other carrier has procedures in place to help assure a safe transit.  But let’s face it, stuff happens, people get careless, machines malfunction and accidents happen.   There is always a chance (hopefully very small) that a package or crate could be abused beyond what any shipper would deem acceptable practice.   The problem is how do you prove that the package was mishandled?  In the reported story, the consumer felt that the package was well cushioned, but there was no way to show that the package experienced excess trauma.   In most cases of this type, it is up to the consumer or customer to prove that the package was mishandled.  This is where Packnet’s handling monitors can help.

Packnet sells monitoring products that can measure shock, vibration, temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure while recording events and storing data. In short, they positively change the outcome and mentality within your handling and transportation environment. And if the package did receive excess trauma, you can prove it.

If you have large, expensive or delicate products to ship, you probably need a custom engineered solution to minimize shipping damage risk.   Packnet uses custom foam packaging to protect delicate products and ShockWatch® handling indicator products for monitoring shipments.