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The ABC's of Magazine Shipping

You send materials to the printer, see the proofs and wait until it is printed and bound. But the process is not complete until the magazines arrive at their final destination. Shipping is an extension of the printing process and integral to your overall satisfaction of the printing experience. Shipping companies are independent operators commissioned on your behalf by the Printing plants. As the customer, you can select the shipping company of your choice. However, every printer has relationships with selected carriers and generally has negotiated special pricing that you may not be able to get on your own. Quality service standards - delivery reputation and schedules are important factors in selecting a carrier to complete this process.

It is important that you understand shipping terminology and use it when communicating your shipping requirements. This way the best possible solutions can be applied for the shipping and destination carrier selections.

Here are definitions of commonly used terms in the ground transportation industry.

Shipping Options:
Ground freight shippers offer standard, expedited, and guaranteed service.

Standard- Standard service is the basic service where the shipment will travel from one point to another within as specified time frame.

Expedite- Expedite service is more costly than the standard service but is quicker, for example, a route that typically takes three days would take two days with expedited service.

Guaranteed- Guaranteed service is used to guarantee a specific day or time for delivery. This is used mostly for conventions or trade show deliveries where there is a window of time when deliveries are accepted. The guarantee is for the time and/or date. If that is missed, then you don't have to pay the shipping, but you cannot collect for any other residual damages and printing services will still be required to be paid.

Hot Shot- The truck leaves the printing plant and goes directly to the delivery destination, usually same day service.

Air Freight- Air freight is also a shipping option, although it is more costly than ground transportation. Air freight usually delivers within 24 hours however it uses commercial carriers and is restricted by the airlines 'flight schedules'. Delivery services are available from the airport to the final destination for an additional fee. Air forwarders generally understand the time-sensitivity of the shipments.

Hot Shot- Many publishers require fulfillment services were your product delivery is required to go to multiple locations and is broken into multiple shipments. For example part of the shipment might go UPS to numerous locations and the balance shipped by truck to another. Customized shipments where various counts are placed into the cartons are available.

Shippng Terms:

Door to Door (dock to dock)- From the manufacturer's shipping dock to another industrial-type shipping dock; the receiver is responsible for unloading the truck.

Inside Delivery- When the shipment arrives at its destination the driver will assist with unloading the truck (if stairs are involved, be sure to let your Customer Service Rep know).

Residential Delivery- A delivery to a residence but does not include unloading; if unloading assistance is required be sure to specify and be sure to check to make sure there are no local ordinances or road conditions that would prohibit a truck in a residential area

Lift Gate Delivery- A truck with a hydraulic lift gate to assist with unloading is used for the delivery.

Standard Truck- Small truck (20 foot bed) not a tractor-trailer. This is used for small deliveries, usually locally for residential or small confined delivery locations such as mini-warehouses or strip malls.

LTL (less than a truckload)- Other freight is traveling on the same truck and might go to a centralized distribution center for further routing.

Cartons/Boxes- Printers have standard cartons but also offer special order sizes. The standard magazine carton is 11 5/8" X 8 5/8" X 11" and holds 35-40 pounds. Cartons are stacked on a pallet (skid) and shrink wrapped. Each Pallet can hold 68 cartons, four layers of 17 boxes each.

Being as specific as possible when communicating your shipping and packaging requirements will only help simplify the final stage of your magazine delivery process.