There are hundreds of thousands of food grade carriers out there operating. How do you know which ones you can trust? Whether you are a shipper or 3PL, there are measures that should be in place to ensure quality food grade shipping.
At Becker Logistics we have developed some processes that ensure that we are choosing the best carriers each and every time. There will always be times that things do not go according to plan but using a trusted food grade carrier helps to minimize the fallout.
What to Check from your Food Grade Carriers
Authority, Safety, and Insurance
These are three things that you should look at with all carriers that you partner with. There are several differences when it comes to food grade carriers which you can read below.
Carrier authority is basically the permission carriers need in order to operate. Authority is given out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and there are several different types of authority out there. A food grade carrier should have Motor Carrier of Property authority.
Carriers can acquire safety through the FMCSA SAFER system. This system provides some basic information about the carrier and, more importantly, a safety rating. When vetting food grade carriers you should stay away from “Conditional” and “Unsatisfactory” ratings.
Lastly, you have to make sure your carrier has insurance. The industry standard is $100,000 min cargo liability and $1,000,000 min auto liability. This covers most food shipping, however, additional insurance is sometimes required.
New carriers are always popping up and plenty of times it can be very beneficial to use them for shipping. However, if you are looking for someone to bring onto a contracted lane or an important shipment it is beneficial to look into their past. This can be anything from simply confirming how long they have been in business to looking through online reviews.
If you are looking to building a long term partner with a food grade carrier then it is important that you are compatible with them. The most important compatibility is communication, most food grade freight is fragile and has specific shipping instructions. Due to this, you have to be able to easily communicate the requirements to the carrier you are using.
Additionally, you should look for quality from your food grade carriers. This means quality service and quality trailers. Your food should be shipped in trailers that are up to your standards. You do not want to end up shipping your food in a dirty or infested trailer.
When all else fails it’s always good to have a contract in place. One that can handle any issue that arises. By doing so you will have a binding agreement to go back to in case things go sideways. Never have your product shipped without some kind of contract signed beforehand. For food grade shipping, contracts should be sure to include a sealed load policy and measures in place in case the food is spoiled in transit.
Hopefully, with this knowledge you will be able to vet all future food grade carriers. It takes time and effort but is absolutely worth it in the long run. Additionally, you could always partner with a transportation provider to make the process easier. At Becker Logistics we have internal measures and scorecards of all the carriers that we use. This means we know who to reach out too in any given situation. If you want to see if Becker Logistics would work with you and your supply chain then you can reach out or request a quote.