Transshipment Problems Solved: What Is Document Automation for Transshipments


To better understand the ups and downs of transshipment and what it entails, it is important to appreciate the role automation and digitization have in this essential shipping and transportation method. As highlighted by Supply Chain 24/7, “automation is now a familiar technical concept for enterprises, with many automating manual, repeatable tasks to achieve efficiency. The intelligent aspect is introduced by robotics, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies that can carry out human actions and act independently by making decisions, or interpreting data without direct human interference.” 

In overcoming some of the most common transshipment problems faced today, answering the question, “what is document automation?” can help bring clarity and direction for transshipment management teams.

What Are Transshipments in Shipping?

Transshipment is a transportation method commonly used today. It involves the shipment of goods or containers to an intermediate destination, where they will be unloaded and then re-loaded for delivery to another destination. Among the most popular reasons for transshipment is when a load has to be shifted from one mode of transport to another—for instance, moving cargo from rail and loading it onto trucks. Another reason is to shift the workflow and how products and loads are packaged and loaded—for instance, shipments being consolidated or broken into smaller loads. Despite its popularity as far as freight and transportation go, there are several transshipment problems that must be addressed.

Common Problems Associated With Transshipment Methods

Typical transshipment problems in the modern supply chain network can include the following:

  • Too much time to unload cargo – prolonged dwell time and issues at the loading and unloading docks will cause additional delays and costs.
  • Logistics issues at port and airports – coordinating drop-offs and pick-ups can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
  • Loss or damage of good during handling – the more times goods are moved and handled, the more opportunity there is for damage to occur.
  • Delays from inspections and customs – shipments across borders often get held for inspection clearance, and transshipment is prone to holdups.
  • Increased fees and expenses – the more work and labor involved in moving cargo, the more costly it will be for shippers and customers.
  • Missed loading/unloading schedules – delays in communications and delivery ETA updates can lead to missed schedules and further delays.
  • Risk of rolled cargo increases – the more times cargo changes modes and platforms, the more the risk or cargo being rolled increases.

How Document Automation and RPA Helps Reduce and at Times Eliminate Issues

To overcome these common transshipment problems, one must be able to answer the question “what is document automation?” as well as what role software providers play, and how it all can reduce or eliminate these issues.

  • Time taken to unload cargo – automating documentation and paperwork can save time when multiple containers and pallets need to be unloaded quickly.
  • Logistics issues at port and airports – digital papers are easier to send and receive and can also be corrected more quickly than chasing down paper copies.
  • Loss or damage of goods during handling – damages can occur because dock and airport staff do not know what is in the containers due to insufficientdocumentation.
  • Delays from Inspections and customs – delays and holdups can happen during inspections that could have been avoided with the correct paperwork in hand.
  • Increased fees and expenses – running around to get print copies, track down signatures, and file hard copies can lead to more work and higher fees.
  • Missed loading/unloading schedules – having paperwork available digitally and updating it on demand can save time during shipping crunches. 
  • Risk of rolled cargo increases – shippers and drivers can keep to a schedule and avoid rolled cargo by ensuring all forms are filled out well ahead of time.

It is easier to overcome these common issues with transshipment loads by utilizing innovative tools that accommodate document automation and digital filing processes.

Leverage the Power of RPA Solutions Today by Partnering With RPA Labs

Freight document management has become a vital aspect of national and global transshipments. While it is true that there is a range of transshipment problems shippers have to contend with, there are several ways improved automation and innovative measures can address and alleviate them. When dealing with transshipment issues and concerns, knowing what is document automation and what it can do for the process can make a world of difference.  Contact RPA Labs today for a free demo and learn more about improving transshipments with document automation.

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