Packages are never completely “lost”. They’re sitting on someone’s dock — whether it is the shipper’s, carrier’s or receiver’s — parcels don’t just vanish.
The five most common reasons for package misplacement:
- Package never shipped by the shipper.
When a driver is picking up a package from a shipper multiple senarios can happen where the driver never tenders the correct piece or number of pieces.
- Package not scanned at the origin by the carrier.
The package enters the supply chain without confirmation or scan and travels in the shadows until someone figures it out and corrects the problem.
- Human error by the carrier during sorting, or package not loaded.
Package misplaced in the courier’s pick up vehicle - stuck between the seats, under a bin, etc. or misplaced in a warehouse.
Employees of the shipper, receiver or carrier
- Damage beyond recognition
Fluids from another parcel leak on it
So what’s the best way to find a “lost” package?
Initiate a “dock sweep” with the carrier at each dock along the planned route. Once completed, if your parcel is not recovered you’ll end up dealing with an OS&D clerk at a centralized location who can file a formal trace for you with the carrier. This should initiate a “dock sweep” on a larger scale (on the carrier’s part) to find your lost parcel.
Always be sure to include a good description of your carton, including color, markings, labeling and dimensions. It’s also a good idea, when shipping internationally, to never place your label over the tape where your container is sealed. Your parcel may be searched by customs agents while in transit, and placing the label over the seam of your carton will increase the likelihood your shipping label/airway bill will be damaged and may not be recognizable when your shipment is cleared for delivery.