As a 3PL our simplified task is getting people to work together and get the job done in the most optimal manner at the best possible price. This being said freight brokers are often reduced to being mediator’s in conflicts between equipment suppliers and freight owners.
Claim management is really the moment where a companies customer service shines. Freight brokers who do not have proper claim mangement process in place risk losing valued partners to bitter exchanges of he-said, she-said.
For freight owners to put forth a claim it must be done in a formal manner with request for credit, POD’s properly signed with all the necessary damage information noted and commercial invoices detailing the value of the product. Pictures can help, but are not absolutly necessary. Once this is done it must be sent in a timely manner to the parties being claimed.
3PL : not liable for damaged product
It is important to understand that 3PL’s are not liable for damaged product. Since Logistics companies are not carriers their names cannot appear on Bills of Lading. This document is the contract of carriage between all the parties involved in the movement. Namely the party shipping the freight, the party hauling the freight and the party receiving the freight. The BOL states if the product was loaded or unloaded with damges. The carrier hauling the freight is responsible for the product between point A and point B, thus responsible for the damages.
In the event of insurance claims, it is the carriers insurance that gets claimed. The brokers liability is for hiring the right people to do the job, and that is what their contigent and ’’errors and omissions’’ insurance covers. The specifications of these insurances will be discussed in further blogs.
3PL : mediation between the two partners
The 3PL’s responsability though lies in the proper mediation of the claim between his two partners. The freight owner and the carrier. Both must be properly informed of the advancement of the claim through the different steps.
In conclusion, no one likes freight damages. Of course carriers with high claims rates are blacklisted quickly from an 3PL’s freight rating system, i’m sure. But, anyone who has experience in the industry knows that damages happen to all carriers and they happen at the worst times. The worst time being at anytime! The 3PL has a responsibilty to properly resolve these matters in as little time as possible and to ensure that the resolution is as fair for both parties as can be provided.