Freighting a Droid

There are 7 things you need to be aware of shipping a droid via a commercial carrier.

  1. Use a Freight Forwarder!
  2. Understand Dimensional vs. Actual Weight.
  3. Carriers/Handlers are in a rush!
  4. Forklifts are used regardless if wheels are on your crates!
  5. Insure your items, including your crate! A forklift can do a lot of damage!!
  6. Do not put Nice Flashy things on your crate – someone else might want it!!
  7. Delivery & pickup to residential addresses incur higher fees!

Freight Forwarders

When shipping a droid you want to use a carrier that is known as a freight forwarder for the cheapest rates possible.  FedEx, UPS, SAIA and DHL are NOT Freight Forwarders. A shipper that asks you what class of freight you are shipping is NOT a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder is someone that is just buying available space on someone else’s truck bed; they are not using the entire truck and then figuring out what can fit inside of it. Think of them like a Kayak.com only for the trucking industry. A very good one in California is BE Logistics 800-729-8115 (www.belogistics.com ). Another one is BAX Global 866-ship 282 (www.baxfn.com ). Transglobal Express 0871 855 7474 (www.transglobalexpress.co.uk/ is a very good international freight forwarder. Just like any other service industry, there are good ones and there are bad ones so do your homework. If you must use a non-freight forwarder, then when they ask what class of freight you are shipping (and they will) tell them 55 if the crate is empty or 125 if you have a droid in the crate. 125 is used for entertainment equipment and our droids qualify for that class of freight. Do not say robot or they will hit you with the most expensive density charge possible and you could easily end up paying too much. 

Dimensional vs. Actual Weight

There is a calculation to determine what the actual vs. the dimensional weight of an object will be. All shippers will choose whichever is greatest in determining the weight of an object. Simply put; if the object is a certain size, a shipper will allow it to weigh only so many pounds. That is called the dimensional weight. If the item exceeds that number, they will use the actual weight. The formula to calculate dimensional weight of an object is  12LxWxH194=X’>

FYI – In figuring the height, they will include the wheels or skids attached to your case or crate. The measurements for Length, Width and height are in inches. Therefore, a crate that would hold a droid that is 34 ¼ x 36 ¼ x 59 (with wheels attached) would have a dimensional weight of 377.59 lbs.

Therefore, if your crate weighs 265 lbs empty (which just so happens to be the weight of a droid case that is made out of  ½” plywood & plastic ABS covering to the dimensions mentioned previously)  and your droid weights (for the sake of argument 180 lbs) then the case plus the droid equals to 445lbs. If you remember the dimensional weight of that case came to 377 lbs. since the actual weight is more than the dimensional weight the shipper will charge you the actual weight. Later I will show you how than can be made less (other than a lighter droid) :)

Carriers & Handlers are always in a Rush

Loaders have 1 job. Get the truck loaded as fast as possible so the driver can get on the road quickly. The line managers of UPS, Fedex & DHL deliberately try to trick the Loaders by deliberately putting the wrong items in the trucks to see if loaders are paying attention to what they are loading as a form of quality control. Yes, I was shocked as well when I found this out. This has the unintended effect of getting the loaders upset, rushed to correct the mistakes as they pull out loads to correct the sabotage their managers have inflicted upon them and the customer sometimes pays the price with delayed deliveries, lost, damaged or destroyed goods. As a result your items could have fell victim to one of those acts. Other carriers may employ similar tactics to ensure their personnel are paying attention to what they are loading which is why I am telling you this because what you don’t know can hurt you and if you are going to send your droid via a commercial carrier you need to be prepared for rough and sometimes brutal handling.

Large crates are often moved by Forklifts even if there are wheels on the cases. Sometimes, the forklifts puncture the sides of the crates, rip wheels off or flip the crates as they slide off the skids from improper handling of the crates/cases, rushing to get the load finalized or from improper use of the forklifts. Make sure your droid is well secured and protected inside the case. Heavy foam padding is often necessary to protect the droid from breaches of the case wall or from tipping, falling over or heavy shaking for vibration. Make sure you do not have any loose articles inside the case as they can become projectiles as the case is thrown about, potentially damaging your droid. Also, don’t advertise what is inside your crate. It is an open invitation to all would be thieves that you have something really cool and very expensive inside.

Residential Pickup & Delivery Fees add costs

Pickup and drop off of crates or cases to residential addresses can add as much as 100-400 dollars in most cases to the cost of your shipment; even more if you need a lift gate. If at all possible try to get your droid delivered to a business address and then pick it up from there. If you have good relations with any of the local businesses, convention center staff, etc this could save you a bundle! When sending your droid drop it off at a terminal if at all possible. If you don’t have a truck or a friend that has one you can borrow, then rent one for a day from U-Haul. Yes, it will be worth it!! U-Haul can rent a truck for 15.00 a day plus mileage. It is better than paying 100-200 (one way) just for them to come pick it up from you unless you have money to burn!!