There are a number of freight claims that 3PL’s can face on a day-to-day basis. Every time that a shipment goes out there is a possibility of damage, breakdowns, accidents, or more. Part of what determines if a 3PL is excellent is its ability to respond in these situations.
As a shipper, you need to have these situations resolved IMMEDIATELY if you want to get your freight in a timely matter. As a carrier, you are going to have your own interests to look out for. It is the job of the 3PL to get the matter resolved and make every party involved happy.
Some claims you will only see once every couple of years. Other claims may be a weekly or daily occurrence. Not matter how frequent, it is important to have a plan of action in place. The common claims that we see at Becker Logistics are:
#1 Broken Seals
Seals should only be broken by the receiving personnel and should never be authorized unless there is written permission from the owner of the goods to do so. Depending on the customer, a broken/mismatched, or missing seal may equal a full loss claim.
#2 Damage in Transit
When freight is damaged on its journey you want to make sure that any and all damage is properly noted on the BOL, if not the claim is considered a concealed damage claim which can lead to other issues. 3PL’s should ensure that the damaged product is held for inspection. Often claims, especially LTL claims, are denied solely because the freight was disposed of. Most small claims are recovered only by deductions which are agreed to quickly and the claim resolved.
When a carrier is in an accident, they are usually concerned with their equipment and driver first. Once insurance is involved accidents can be dealt with quite quickly. Tow yards will not release freight until they are paid in full, sometimes at exorbitant rates. Being proactive early in the process can get accident claims closed in half the time which works better for everyone.
Communication and documentation is everything, we’ve seen a rise in shortage freight claims filed against carriers over the past couple of months. In most shortage claims it all really boils down to unclear paperwork and is resolved pretty easily. The other option is that the freight was stolen, which is the next point.
Trucks do get stolen more often than you may think. We’ve also seen a rise in trucks being broken into at truck stops and only a few cases taken. If the load is food grade and sealed this will most likely be a complete loss claim unless it can be proved that the chain of custody wasn’t broken. When this happens you need to be in high communication with the shipper and carrier. The first step, however, should always be to include the authorities.
#6 Lost Freight
This typically happens when a load is cross-docked. Communication is extremely important, these situations can go on for months, especially when dealing with a common carrier. Always try to talk directly to someone at the location where the freight is thought to be located. With this type of freight claim, you just have to put in the time and it should be resolved.
It’s important to be proactive during breakdowns, the carrier is going to be concerned about their equipment, not the cargo. If the cargo is not perishable then these situations often get ignored for a week. If a carrier’s equipment breaks down and they have no clear action plan for getting the freight delivered then it is important to escalate the issue to get things resolved.
#8 Unloading issues
These freight claims are often not the carrier’s fault, but a claim will be filed. Pictures, while the carrier is onsite, are essential to showing fault regarding unloading issues. If a carrier says there was damage, but it was caused by the forklift driver on-site, ask them to send pictures before leaving.
And those are the top 8 freight claims that we see here at Becker Logistics. It is important to have processes and plans in place for when things do go wrong. Doing so means that there is no guessing or estimating during a time of crisis, you just go from step A to B to C.