Cold Chain Logistics, Customs Documentation, Life Science Shipping, Shipping & Logistics - General

6 Common Shipping Pain Points

January 12, 2024
6 common shipping pain points

Pain Points and How to Overcome Them

Written By: Narek Hakobyan

Shipping is a vital part of any business but can also be a source of uncertainty, frustration and stress. Whether shipping domestically or internationally, you may encounter various challenges. But don't worry, with the right partner and strategy, you can overcome these challenges. Here are six common shipping issues and their solutions.

1. Customs Documents are Challenging

International shipping requires a lot of paperwork, such as:

These documents are required to comply with the origin and destination countries' customs regulations and avoid potential delays, fines, and further penalties. Filling out these documents can be confusing, time-consuming, and prone to errors. Furthermore, most companies and individuals are unaware of all the required documents that need to be completed.

Incomplete or incorrect documentation can result in penalties such as:

  • The Wrong Harmonized Tariff Code can result in increased duty rates.
  • Incorrect incoterm can make you liable for unexpected costs or delays.
  • If an ATA carnet is missing or invalid, it can lead to fines, delays and even confiscation.

You can overcome this pain point by using a reliable and experienced international shipping partner. They can help you prepare the correct customs paperwork, ATA Carnets, and provide guidance on duties and taxes.

2. Subpar Customer Service

If you have ever tried to contact your shipping vendor for help, you may have experienced long wait times, unresponsive agents, or a lack of information. This can be frustrating, especially when you have a time-sensitive shipment, an urgent issue or an important question. You may feel like you are not valued as a customer or not getting the service you need. Often, inadequate service is one of the top reasons customers switch to different shipping partners.

To overcome this pain point, look for a shipping partner offering personalized and dedicated customer service. They should have:

  • A direct line of communication, such as a dedicated phone number, chat, and email, that they can reach out to at any time.
  • Knowledgeable and dedicated agents who can effectively answer your questions, provide you with updates and resolve any issues.

3. Small Companies Often Require More Support

If you are a small business owner, you may not have the same resources or experience as larger companies when it comes to shipping. You may need more guidance and help through the shipping processes, such as:

  • Choosing the correct shipping method
  • Properly packaging and labelling your shipment
  • Tracking your shipments
  • Dealing with Customs

You may also need more flexibility and affordability in your shipping options, as you may have smaller or irregular volumes of shipments. They should offer:

  • A range of shipping options, including express, economy, and freight, tailored to your budget and delivery needs.
  • Support and advice on how to optimize your shipping operations, such as how to pack your products, how to label your shipments, or how to reduce your shipping costs.

4. Support for Time/Temperature Sensitive Shipments

Some products require special care and attention during shipping, such as:

These products may need to be shipped promptly or in a controlled temperature environment to ensure their quality and safety. However, not all shipping vendors have specialty experience or offer these services and may charge a premium.

5. Tracking and Tracing

One of the most common shipping pain points is not knowing where your shipment is or when it will arrive. This can cause anxiety and uncertainty about whether your shipment will arrive on time.

A reliable shipping partner can offer real-time tracking and tracing of your shipments through a user-friendly online portal. You can monitor the status and location of your shipments, receive notifications and alerts on any changes or delays, and get proof of delivery, such as a signature or a photo.

6. Damaged Goods and Shipping Insurance

As a customer, it can be frustrating to find out that your shipment gets damaged during transit. It not only causes uncertainty about the product's integrity but can also lead to a complete loss of the item, which can significantly strain you or your business.

One way to protect yourself from the risk of damaged goods is to purchase shipping insurance. Shipping insurance offers you protection against lost, stolen, or damaged packages. It can cover the cost of replacing or repairing your goods, as well as the postage value of your shipment.

However, not all shipping insurance policies are the same. You should: 

  • Compare and understand the shipping insurance options offered by different carriers.
  • Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Shipping insurance can give you peace of mind and security when you ship or receive goods. But it is not a magic bullet. You still need to pack your goods properly and follow the carrier’s guidelines and best practices for shipping. This will help you prevent or minimize the risk of damage, and ensure a smooth and successful delivery.


Shipping doesn't have to be a pain. With the right shipping partner and the right shipping strategy, you can ship like a pro. If you want to learn more about overcoming your shipping pain points, learn how Mercury can help and contact us Today.

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