Parcelforce 'No Not Fly' because parcel 'Too Dense'

Discussion in 'International Business' started by gundog48, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. gundog48

    gundog48 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 0
    This is my second thread about my international shipping challenges!

    I ship about 4-5 orders internationally per month, they are always packed exactly the same. They are very heavy, consisting of 2 parcels totalling about 50Kg.

    I've always used a mix of DPD and Parcelforce for EU orders, but as discussed in my other post, DPD has suddenly stopped contacting the consignee for duty payment, meaning they get returned, so I've started leaning towards Parcelforce, even where they are more expensive. However, the last two shipments I sent out, 1 of the 2 parcels got returned to me with a note saying that the parcel was "too dense" and that it wasn't hand-searched because it is a "sealed unit". This is a new thing, as I've sent the exact same parcel with them a dozen times in the past. The "sealed unit" part is simply untrue, it is a normal cardboard box with tape containing several items. Also, annoyingly, the first I hear about it is when the parcel arrives back with me, meaning I could have arranged a replacement a week earlier if they had contacted me when they started to return it.

    I'm a bit baffled how to proceed now. My parcel is quite dense, upon further investigation, it seems that it is too dense to x-ray. Again, I don't know why they didn't to a hand search. The thing is, one of the items is an electric motor. Basically a massive block of metal and magnets. They're not going to be able to see inside it with an x-ray, but an electric motor is not an unusual thing to ship either.

    I can't find any information on their website about parcel density, it's not even mentioned. The problem is, I have stuff I need to reship and need to know how I can do so in a way that it isn't going to get returned. Has anyone encountered this who can advise me how to proceed?

    Honestly though, couriers are an incredible bunch. When you've got customers asking where their parcels are, and you're running into these kinds of problems, couriers are just about the most laid back bunch, no useful information and handwaving. I don't know how you can continuously fail to perform basic functions, or return items for arbitrary reasons which don't appear in the T&Cs or literature, lose or break items, and just tell the customer that you're not responsible. My job is to purchase, manufacture, market, manage, account for and package products consisting of about 50 different components, yet the most stressful part of the job only occurs after I've handed it over to a 3rd party to actually get it to the customer!
    Posted: Apr 10, 2021 By: gundog48 Member since: Apr 10, 2021
  2. MBE2017

    MBE2017 UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,267 876
    Yet you fail to check with your courier that they are happy to take your consignments?

    No offence, but you need to talk to parcelforce, and other companies. Spend a bit of time finding out how to get your items delivered successfully, correct packaging, paperwork, declarations etc. Whether you like it or not, all these couriers, carriers, parcel companies, air freight companies etc main headache is the sender of the goods. Currently they are all experiencing massive growth, introducing new systems, and yet most try to compete on price.

    I used to sell for TNT IPEC, I would visit your premises on request, have a meeting, find out your problems and then design a solution, but often the client does not wish to pay the correct rate. Stop asking on a forum and start talking to your suppliers, ie parcel carriers etc direct.
    Posted: Apr 11, 2021 By: MBE2017 Member since: Feb 16, 2017
  3. japancool

    japancool UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,374 900
    I don't know any courier company that does this.
    Posted: Apr 11, 2021 By: japancool Member since: Jul 11, 2013
  4. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    28,146 3,467
    Sounds like there is room for you to set up a business offering exactly those services the others are not.

    Surely a process can be done whereby parcels are handled so they cannot break.
    Robots perhaps. And a £30 delivery charge or so.
    Posted: Apr 11, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  5. gundog48

    gundog48 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 0
    Thanks for your insight.

    I've done exactly this for domestic orders, I work with APC and I tweaked my packaging in the early days to make it more convenient for everyone, and have not encoutered any issues. For international orders, I don't have the volume to have this kind of relationship with a specific shipper, and because it's an even spit between the USA and EU, with a small portion going to the rest of the world, the most appropriate courier varies a lot.

    I've already been in touch with Parcelforce, they confirmed that the parcel was too dense to x-ray, but could not elaborate on how to package things to avoid this problem, so I won't know unless I try again. The fact that I've shipped this exact configuration with them before makes it even harder to understand. In fact, the other parcel in the consignment is steel plate, literally several layers of 10mm thick metal plate, which would also be inpenetrable to an x-ray.

    They've confirmed that none of the items shipped are prohibited, and that there should be no reason I can't send them.

    My reason for posting here was because of the lack of practical advise from Parcelforce, so I was hoping to find someone who has had a similar issue and find out how they resolved it.

    My main issue is that I can follow all the regulations and advice of the courier, and still recieve the parcel back unexpectedly, so I'm unable to ship with any confidence.
    Posted: Apr 11, 2021 By: gundog48 Member since: Apr 10, 2021
  6. Mike Godwin

    Mike Godwin UKBF Regular Free Member

    161 42
    Difficult to say exactly what the problem is here but it needs pointing out here, that in the UK we have an 'Aviation Security Policy' overseen by the DoT that divides exporters into 'Known' and 'Unknown' Shippers when freight is loaded onto commercial passenger aircraft in the UK.

    It came into effect following the Lockerbie disaster to prevent explosive devices from being loaded on-board passenger aircraft from the UK. There are slightly different rules for 'Cargo Only' aircraft such as the courier company's own fleet and this may be why you've had no problems with previous shipments?

    I would suggest you are an 'Unknown' shipper in which case your packages must be screened before loading. Screening can be by various methods including x-ray (if possible), decompression, hand search and canine olfaction to name a few. With the majority of courier companies under severe pressure post Brexit and if they are unable to easily carry out the screening process (for which there is usually a fee), they may deem heavy, dense parcels as problematic at this time. Just an opinion but nonetheless, please all be aware of the UK Aviation Security Policy for all freight travelling on passenger flights.

    Also and as previously suggested, a meeting with your courier company to resolve this issue would be a good idea. Hope this helps....
    Posted: Apr 13, 2021 By: Mike Godwin Member since: Mar 27, 2018
  7. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    12,184 2,540
    Maybe send the motor on its own with a good description of what it is
    Posted: Apr 13, 2021 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003