What is the SHIELD Protocol and How Can It Help You in 2021?

2021 is everyone’s year… or at least that’s what we’re all thinking to ourselves. 2020 brought tons of challenges to businesses – especially to those working in shipping. As a result, many businesses that are shipping internationally may be looking at switching their freight forwarder in search of a better solution.

But unfortunately, we’ve seen time and time again that the same 4 issues plague the industry. Shipper’s switch over any combination of these 4 issues, and usually end up with another forwarder who presents their own set of challenges.

How Does the SHIELD Protocol Solve the 4 Great Burns of the Shipping Industry?

Our market research that involved surveying thousands of international and domestic shippers revealed (against our expectations) that shippers’ reasons for switching shipping providers were easily boiled down into 4 primary frustrations.

We decided something needed to change. Every provider talks about how either their experience or customer service sets them apart from the competition, but neither of those can hardly be labeled as “unique.”

The thing that makes us different is that we are the only freight forwarder who has solved the 4 great burns of the shipping industry. That’s what the SHIELD Protocol was built to do. Here’s how the SHIELD Protocol can help you in 2021 with your international shipping practices:

Communication Disconnect: GEMCA

Our GEMCA  (Guaranteed Expectations & Milestone Cost Awareness) tool has solved shipper-to-freight forwarder communication disconnect at the root. Shippers don’t just experience frustration with their freight forwarder’s lack of communication – it’s often due to their over-communication that the most important details are lost in a sea of mostly useless notifications.

Communication disconnect is one of the biggest reasons shippers will switch their transportation provider. With GEMCA, undercommunicating and overcommunicating are no longer an issue. Here’s why:

With any international shipment, we track roughly 29 milestones. While those are all important to us, usually only 3-5 are important for shippers. With GEMCA, you are given the choice to select the 5 most important milestones that you want updates on while your shipment is in transit, and we guarantee it through Irresistible Notifications.

No more details falling through the cracks. No more important notifications lost in a sea of meaningless updates. You are guaranteed clear communication on the milestones that are most important to you.

Rate Availability & Accuracy: TORCH

One of the biggest frustrations of the international shipping industry is the lack of availability for immediate and accurate shipping rates. TORCH is the first solution that allows complete transparency in pricing, offering immediate, accurate, and reliable rates for ocean, air, rail, LCL, and FCL shipping.

Shippers often suffer from being overcharged by their freight forwarder over time due to price-creep, and we understand why it happens. Switching providers can be a pain if your new forwarder isn’t properly equipped to handle the transition, so most shippers go on with their daily business lives putting up with their freight forwarder frustrations. Unfortunately, the difficulty of switching combined with the lack of transparency in shipping pricing makes it easy for freight forwarders to creep their pricing up on customers slowly over time without being noticed.

TORCH solves the issue of pricing transparency. You put in your origin, destination, mode of shipping, and shipment details and get immediate access to shipping rates. This allows you to compare rates without going through the process of switching or researching other freight forwarders, and immediately brings to light any chance that you are a victim of price creep with your current transportation provider.

Lack of Accountability: TEF

Do you ever feel like you’re left eating crow while your freight forwarder has 100 excuses as to why it’s not their fault? Lack of accountability is a huge issue in the transportation industry.

Accountability is directly tied to expectation, and the issue with issues involving failed expectations is that most mistakes happen not as a result of unmet expectations, but rather unstated ones.

TEF (Transactional Expectations Form) solves this through declaring expectations up front so that actual accountability between you and your freight forwarder is possible. Here’s how it works:

TEF is a form that acts as a process to ensure everybody agrees to the ready and pickup dates of cargo, sailing or flight options, and other factors that are not commonplace in industry communication protocols. Everyone who needs documentation with Letters of Instructions, ISF, Commercial Invoices, and Packing Lists has it. With TEF, actual accountability is possible, permanently removing freight forwarder excuses from the mix.

Cargo Claims: GCA

One of the most frustrating tasks in the international shipping industry is dealing with international cargo claims. There is no worse job. You’re stuck dealing with a frustrated customer, attempting to find out who broke your cargo, and being left to purchase the product twice in order to ever get the product back. And when your cargo isn’t insured (and it isn’t if you haven’t purchased additional insurance), it’s even worse.

But the worst part about cargo claims isn’t even the headache with customers and how it affects your bottom line. It’s the process; or should we say, lack thereof. There is hardly a process that exists for filing an international cargo claim other than writing a letter to a carrier and hoping they don’t crumple it up and throw it in the trash can (spoiler alert: that’s what they do.)

GCA (Global Claims Assist) solves this. GCA is a free online tool which allows you to file an international cargo claim by putting every party who fingerprinted your cargo on notice of your demand for payment. You fill out the information once regarding damages/cargo loss, images, and all necessary details. From there it’s one click away from notifying every carrier who took part in the shipment of your pursuit for reimbursement.

Start the Year Out Right

2020 burned a lot of people. While we’ve seen the SHIELD Protocol absolutely transform the way that so many customers manage their logistics processes already, 2020 proved just how essential it is.

The SHIELD Protocol is the only guaranteed solution to the 4 Great Burns of the transportation industry. TEF, GEMCA, GCA, and TORCH all work together to address these burns at their root and establish actual measurable accountability between you and your freight forwarder.

If you’re interested in starting the new year off right with your international shipping process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team! We would love to help you and your team figure out a process that works for you.


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