It’s not a secret that there’s been a disconnect between shippers and carriers in the transportation industry for years. Each looks out for their own business and tries to secure the best deal for themselves. But, with the new regulations put in place with the passing of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that took effect for the transportation industry in 2017, they need to put aside their differences to ensure that the regulations of the new law are met.
Key disagreements between the two parties commonly occur when: shippers ask carriers to deliver in lanes that they don’t heavily operate, shippers don’t ship the agreed upon tonnage in a lane, inaccurate or no data at all is shared, shippers jump from one carrier to another too frequently, or drivers aren’t treated fairly, among other things. However, this discord cannot happen when it comes to the transportation of food.
While shipper/carrier contracts outline the parameters by which food should be transported, it largely falls on the shipper to ensure that those guidelines are met. However, many carriers don’t have the necessary systems in place to monitor the transportation conditions – such as temperature control and cleanliness. The lack of equipment makes it tougher for shippers to do their jobs and deepens the rift with carriers.
Because there’s a high risk of foodborne pathogens originating from transporting product, it’s imperative that both parties work together to adhere to the regulations set forth by the FSMA. Collaboration will help ensure that the transportation industry isn’t the source of a foodborne illness outbreak.
Here are some tips for how shippers and carriers can improve communication:
Use technology – it’s widely used throughout the industry already. Put it to use and work together to share the data. When both the shipper and the carrier have all the information that’s available to them, they can improve their operations and relationships together, without blaming one or the other when something isn’t done correctly.
Plan accordingly – give each other ample time to get things in order. It takes time to find the right carrier. It takes time to plan trips. It takes time to get the job done. Invest in a plan that works for both parties.
Communicate – review performance metrics to see what is and isn’t working. Have discussions about rate changes and operational costs. This two-way communication will ensure that neither the shipper nor the carrier is surprised with any changes.