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IS YOUR FREIGHT BROKER LEGITIMATE?

This is a question that has been asked to us by new clients a great deal lately. In the recent years, more brokerage operations have flooded the industry making it challenging to know if your freight broker you selected is legitimate in terms of licensing, bonding and business operations.

In an article written by Eric Weisbrot from JW Surety Bonds, here a few ways to double check your freight broker to ensure you are getting what you are paying for.

  1. Check for Freight Broker Registration
    All Freight Brokers are required to register and hold a license with the FMCSA. You can search online at www.safer.fmcsa.dot.gov for their respective licenses. Not only can you check the validity of their licenses, but it also provides information if the license was ever revoked, if and when reinstated and how often that has taken place.
     
  2. Is Your Broker Insured and Bonded?
    Another requirement of the FMCSA is that all freight brokers hold a broker bond with a minimum requirement of $75,000. This requirement is in place to ensure freight brokers handle business is a safe and lawful way. The Safer website from above will also list this information, but be sure to check that the certificate provided directly from the broker matches what the site states.
     
  3. Check Freight Brokers Reviews/Feedback
    It would be in your best interest to take the time and go online and google the Freight Brokers business and read the reviews or feedback left by other clients that have done business with them. This can give you a good insight of how the Broker conducts business. If there are many of the same type of complaints, this may bring up a red flag. On the other side, many compliments can ensure a good relationship.
     
  4. Check Freight Brokers Alert Lists
    With so many new brokers coming into the industry every day, there is unfortunately many that will collect the money to have the shipment transported, but then they will not pay the Carrier for their services. This has forced many Carriers to proceed with Collection Processes and legally the Collection companies can and will come back after you, the shipper or consignee, for payment yet again. There is a website, www.freightbrokeralert.com where you can search the Broker to see if they appear on this list. If they do, proceed with extreme caution.

With all the competition in the transportation industry, it is critical to research each freight broker you plan to work with to ensure they are legitimate.

BeKa Holdings, LLC takes pride in the services we provide and the positive feedback we have received from our clients. Our motto is “The missing piece to your transportation needs”. Give us a call to help you with that “missing piece”.


INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

In today’s marketplace, a person can live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the piece of machinery or equipment they may be wanting to purchase and may involve crossing the Borders in order to have the equipment delivered to your location.  Exporting heavy equipment can be challenging because of both export and import regulations that must be followed.  The transport can be very expensive and should be figured into the price of the equipment itself when making that purchase decision.

When you have made that purchase, the first thing a buyer should do is find a transport company that knows and understands the difficulties of the transporting internationally.  They will be able to give an estimated cost of moving the equipment safely and legally.  They should also be able to recommend a Custom’s Broker that can prepare all of the paperwork needed to cross the Border with the equipment.

When all the logistics of moving the equipment is figured out, you will want to make sure that the equipment is washed clean and ready to be looked at by the Custom’s Officer at the Port or the International Port of Crossing.  Your transport company should be able to help you find a company that will do this for a reasonable cost.  Equipment that is dirty and greasy can be turned away or denied Custom Clearance for export or import.  Also be sure that a clean copy of the Bill of Sale, Bill of Lading, AES Manifest is given to your transport company and that they have their PARS/PAPS as needed.  If the paperwork is not done correctly or unavailable, there could be issues at the Border that can cause delays and may incur extra costs.

BeKa Holdings, LLC is very knowledgeable in International Shipping and can help in transporting your equipment.  Give us a call and we will be happy to answer any other questions


HOW DOES WEATHER AFFECT EQUIPMENT TRANSPORT

 With the changing of the season upon us, we are already feeling the colder weather and soon the snow will be in air.  If it isn’t already for some areas of the country.  So, you may be asking yourself, how will the cold weather affect my transportation of equipment?

 The main thing that can be affected by weather is that your transit time can be longer than normal or even delayed by days.  If your shipment requires oversize permits for transport during the winter season, keep in mind that the amount of time a permitted load can be on the road is reduced due to less daylight hours.  Oversize loads can only travel during daylight hours.  With the shorter days in the winter season, it can take a few extra days for delivery.  Also with permitted loads, they must abide by each States rules regarding when it is safe to travel due to weather and road conditions.  An oversize load can be shut down for hours or days if the roads are snow/ice packed and the State issues a no travel ban on permitted loads.

 Loading and unloading of the equipment can be quite difficult in the winter weather and could take longer to perform.  The equipment may not start or frozen up and not move.  Winter weather can make the easiest tasks into very difficult and time consuming projects.  For example, tarping is fairly easy in the summer months when the tarp is nice and warm.  However, to put a tarp on a load in the cold winter temperatures, that is a different story.  The tarp may be so cold that it is frozen to itself if it wasn’t properly rolled back up the last time it was used.

 Safety is the number one concern!!  There is not a shipment of any kind that is worth a Driver to risk their lives or the lives of anybody that is out sharing the roads with them in order to make a specific delivery time.

 So keep in mind these things when you are looking to book a shipment with anybody.  Mother Nature may have other things in mind and may not cooperate!


ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN ESTIMATING TRANSPORT COSTS OF HEAVY EQUIPMENT

With today’s technology advancement, there is a trend of having more online auctions available to buy that one piece of equipment that is needed for your operations or business.  You can now sit at the luxury of your home, office or even vehicle and bid at an online auction.  Like any bidder, you have a budget to buy this equipment.  But, does that budget include the cost of transportation to you?  Did you get an accurate estimate from a broker or carrier, who understands that there may be hidden costs that goes into transporting oversize or overweight equipment?  There are many more details to take into consideration when transporting heavy equipment.

To clarify what is a “legal” load of equipment, the load has to be:

  • Less than 102” or 8’6” wide
  • Less than 123” or 10’3” tall
  • Length:  can vary but cannot hang over the back of the trailer
  • Total weight of the equipment cannot put the truck/trailer over 80,000 gross pounds
If any of your dimensions are over these, then you have an oversize load.  There will be additional costs to consider besides just the costs of the carrier’s truck and trailer.  At minimum there will be the costs for the permits in each State that will be traveled through.  Depending on the size of the dimensions and each State law, you may need an escort or two. The above are just the basic extra costs for any heavy haul load.  But here are some other points you need to consider that can easily add extra costs to your transport bill that is sometimes overlooked.

  • Is there a way to load and unload the equipment at the pickup and drop off points?  If not, then you will need either an RGN trailer or a trailer with ramps in order to load/unload your equipment.  These types of trailers usually cost a little more per mile.
  • Does the equipment start and move on their own accord?  Or will a wrecker service need to be hired in order to get the unit running or possible load on the trailer?
  • Is the equipment so big that part of it will need to be to torn down or taken off in order to be transported?  If so, then there will be extra costs for this service.
  • Is the equipment going to a Port to be shipped overseas?  There will be extra costs for washing, degreasing and fumigating in order to be placed on the ship to consider.
  • Is the equipment crossing the border into Mexico or Canada?  A customs broker will be needed for the proper paperwork and EPA statements in order to cross.

There are many platforms like U-Ship, Veritread and Citizen Shipper that you can list your equipment on in order to get and estimate on transport.  Each of these platforms have their own “rate estimators” that they provide for their clients that is supposed to give you a general idea of the cost of transport.  Unfortunately, when it comes to oversize, overweight loads, it is not accurate because it does not take into consideration the extra costs of the things listed above.   While their estimators are good for a legal load for a flatbed or van trailer, it cannot figure out the real and current market rates for the extra services needed to ship heavy equipment. We are here to help you with your transportation needs!  Please give us a call at 605-528-2352.  We can truly be the “missing piece to your transportation needs”.

AVOID GETTING SCAMMED WHEN BUYING HEAVY EQUIPMENT ONLINE

We have a client that buys several pieces of equipment over the year and buys the majority of them online. He unfortunately has been a victim of scams no matter how careful he has been. During one transaction, he had what he thought was a valid paid invoice from an equipment company. But when we, as his transporter called the equipment company to set up pick up time, they did not have the equipment we were wanting to pick up and had no record of the sale. When we forwarded on the paid invoice to them from our client, it turns out it wasn’t even their invoice, but had their name, address and contact information on it. It turns out the scammers made up their own paid invoice using the equipment company’s information.

We have compiled a list of tips to help you as a buyer to avoid these types of scams and have a good experience in your online equipment buying.

  • When possible, only buy equipment from a reputable dealer or Auction Service
  • Check the seller out as much as possible. Use google to find any information you can. If you have an address where the equipment is to be located at, use google earth to be sure that it is in fact at an equipment yard and not at a shopping center or someplace it couldn’t possibly be at.
  • Ask for additional detailed photos of the equipment.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is. It might be best to walk away.
  • Use a transport company that specializes in heavy equipment transport. Since they are in the industry, they may already know of the selling company.
  • When possible, personally go look at the equipment. If you cannot do it yourself, your transport company may be able to help you have it looked at. This may cost you a small fee, but it is better to be out that small fee versus thousands of dollars for equipment that doesn’t exist.
  • Always pay with WIRE TRANSFER!  Never ever pay with cash or money orders…This is a CLEAR sign you are being scammed
  • Unless you are buying from a dealer or auction service, avoid giving out your credit card information.
  • Always get a written purchase agreement from the seller.

In today’s world, scammers are a real threat in all industries. We all need to do our due diligence to protect ourselves and our companies.


FAQ About Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas

There are many choices when you are transporting your equipment in the continental U.S. from carriers to brokers.  However, when you are trying to ship your equipment overseas to a foreign country there are fewer options to choose from.  This process is a bit more complicated and requires expert attention to the details and creative problem solving.  BeKa Holdings, LLC is very experienced in working with overseas shipping lines and U.S. ports and can help you get your equipment shipped.  The following is just a few common questions that we receive from our customers.

 
1. The equipment is not going to fit in a container.  Now, what do I do?

Most of the equipment bought to be shipped overseas is bought seen only through pictures.   Afterwards, the customer realizes the piece is bigger than thought and will not fit in a High cube, Dry or Open top container.  There are other options to consider.  One choice is to have the equipment dismantled and shipped in separate containers.  This choice will require re-assembling when upon arrival at the port.  If dismantling is not an option, then other options could be shipping in one piece via Flat Rack, Roll on/Roll off (RO/RO), Lift on/Lift off (LOLO) and break bulk.  Weight vs. measurements will affect the charges and port and terminal fees differ.  Call our office for help in determining the best shipping method

 
2. How do I get the equipment to a US Port for shipping?

Any carrier can deliver to US Ports as long as the driver has a TWIC card or has a port escort available to escort them into the port.  Be sure you use a company that you can trust for rates and availability.  You would not want them to be late on the delivery and miss the next ship out.  Also be sure they are knowledgeable about whether equipment needs to be washed or cleaned before entering the port.  This could be a costly delay.  BeKa Holdings, LLC can arrange for transport to and from any domestic locations using one of our reliable, dependable trucking partners.

 
3. Do I need to load or secure the cargo to the flat rack?

Since we have reliable partners and service providers at most ports, BeKa Holdings can take care of having the flat racks loaded for you.  It is important to use someone that you and your transporter both trust to handle the shipment.  Not everyone knows the intricacies of managing larger, sometimes oddly shaped cargo.

 
4. How do I measure my cargo correctly?

Most people from outside the industry measure differently versus those of us inside the industry!  Mistakes can easily be made because an exhaust pipe wasn’t unscrewed on a bulldozer or mirrors were not folded in on a bus.  It is always better to measure the widest, tallest and longest part of the item.  Don’t forget to give the most accurate weight of the cargo.  The more accurate on your weights and measures, the more accurate your shipping rate will be with no surprises down the road from inaccurate information.

 
5. Should I take out extra Insurance?  It’s EXPENSIVE

It is not as expensive as losing your equipment with no compensation.  If you haven’t insured the cargo beyond the minimum, you will hate yourself if something should happen.  It is very important to insure yourself against any risk.  Specialized freight brokerages, like BeKa Holdings, LLC work with insurance companies and are often able to achieve a better rate for you than what you might be able to secure on your own.

 
6. How long will take to receive my cargo?

Weather, port congestion, labor, mechanical issues, etc. affect your overseas shipment.  While much of this is out of our control, there are some things that are within our control.  Paperwork is one of them!  Be sure you are working with companies that know the current customs laws for the countries you are shipping to and avoid delays.  With over 30 years in the transportation industry, BeKa Holdings have a proven track record of assisting our clients with the required documents when shipping any type of equipment all over the world.