WHY IS CARGO SECUREMENT NECESSARY?
You don’t want cargo securement claims. Cargo claims often cost companies excessive amounts of money. Money that could be spent elsewhere like on newer equipment, improved facilities and increases in pay and benefits. The customer is paying for safe and timely delivery of goods. Properly securing your cargo helps protect both your reputation as a driver and your company’s reputation as a whole.
WHEN IS CARGO SECUREMENT NECESSARY?
In this era of covid and other restrictions, it is getting harder and harder to find shippers that allow drivers on the docks. But, if you can get on the docks you want to be there watching them load your trailer. Watching them load the trailer can protect you from unforeseen issues on the front end. You can see there’s any damage to the load before it’s even put on the trailer, if they’re setting the load properly with tandem weight distribution, or if the forklift damages the load before it’s even put on the trailer.
In a lot of instances, you won’t be able to do that. So, before you sign your paperwork, pull away from the building or dock and physically get up on the back of the trailer. You may only be able to see a fraction of the load and not all the way back, but at least get eyes on it to check for any glaring issues. Make sure all your cargo looks good. Make sure it’s loaded safely, and that it’s secured or that you will be able to secure it.
Once you sign those papers, more specifically the bill of lading, you are taking sole responsibility for that load as the driver. Whether it’s a $500 load of soup or $300,000 load of copper, the final responsibility of that customer’s goods now lies on you. If something happened beforehand and you didn’t catch it initially but catch it after you get to the receiver, the receiver is going to blame you. They’re not going to blame the forklift driver or company who loaded it. Protect yourself by properly securing your cargo!
HOW DO YOU PROPERLY SECURE CARGO?
There are many different ways of securing your load. There are cargo straps, load blocks, and you can use two by fours for blocking and bracing. The securement method will depend on the cargo type. Most times, the shipper will notify you when a load needs to be blocked and braced and they will provide the materials for you to do so. They understand that it can be hard to come up with impromptu two by fours and nails.
Cargo straps and load locks are what you’ll encounter most often. Perhaps the simplest form of securement are anti-slip mats. Simple but extremely effective. If you find that your cargo is loaded down the middle of the trailer, these anti-slip mats are great because they keep things from sliding from side to side. The trailer floors can be slick, the pallets can be slick. Even a heavy pallet can still slide pretty easily. These anti-slip mats underneath the pallets are usually provided by shippers.
Go slow, be thorough and protect your reputation. Inspect the load before it’s loaded and after, if possible. Check for damaged cargo before it’s loaded. Determine which cargo securement method is appropriate for the cargo you have. Check to see if the shipper is offering any of the securement equipment or if they have recommendations on how to properly secure it. Afterall, once you sign the papers, that cargo and what happens to it is your responsibility.