shipping natural stones

Shipping Natural Stones

“The latest trends in supply chain logistics for natural stones.”

Sunil Chowdhary, Proprietor, Stone International

GDSN, Packing, and logistics for natural stones:

Packing methods for natural stones:

In construction and installation projects, shipping natural stones are most crucial keeping in mind safety. Typically, wooden crates or pallets weighing approximately one ton are the most preferred packing method to accomplish this. The suppliers pack their products in crates and pallets to ensure the stones are secure for transportation to their destination via truck or shipping container. By following this process, we can assure the safety of the products at the time of delivery to the users.

We ship most of the formats using the above method. Some formats like large gang-saw slabs may require special packing. Typically, suppliers use ‘A’ Frames and ‘H’ Frames to pack and secure large slabs. Thereafter, they load and secure the frames inside the container. Granite blocks do not need extra packing. Shippers need to secure them inside the containers or the transport to avoid damage to the equipment.

Importers are crucial in bringing natural stone products to potential buyers and installers. Storing their materials in centralized warehouses ensures a smooth distribution process through their network of wholesalers, retailers, showrooms, or B2B partners. Buying the necessary materials from these channels is the perfect way for DIY enthusiasts to bring their projects to life.

Legal Metrology:

To adhere to the regulations set forth by local authorities regarding the purchase of products by individual consumers, it may be necessary to attach appropriate labeling and writing to every unit sold. The manufacturer or the marketeer complies with the regulations by providing the necessary information. It is of utmost importance to be aware of these regulations to avoid any potential legal complications that may arise.

Marketers must comply with providing the following regulatory information:

  • Information in Official Languages: All sellers must disclose the Information regarding the country of origin of products along with other legal metrology data about the dimensions and weights of the selling unit. The manufacturer, marketeer, or brand owner should display the relevant information in the official language of the jurisdiction. In cases with multiple official languages, regulators may direct the stakeholders to provide bi-lingual or tri-lingual labels. It is essential to ensure that all necessary information is provided clearly and concisely for the consumer’s benefit.
  • Barcodes and identifiers: Due to legal requirements, it may be necessary to disclose certain information, such as the name and location of the producer, marketer, importer, or distributor. However, printing all this information on the packaging can be challenging, given the limited space available. To overcome this challenge, affixing barcodes or QR codes on each selling unit is a practical solution. The GS1 barcode is the international standard of identifiers in almost all countries worldwide. The Indian manufacturers and exporters can subscribe to the ‘890’ series barcodes through GS1 India. GTIN and GMN are the most generated identifiers through GS1. Additionally, GS1 India maintains a DataKart repository that provides invaluable information to users of their barcodes, populated by manufacturers, brand owners, or distributors, as mandated by regulations.
  • Hazards and warnings: Certain nations may have regulations that mandate the disclosure of potential hazards and cautionary information about the application of their merchandise. Sufficient warnings must be displayed on packages while shipping natural stones. As a result, it is imperative for all relevant parties in the supply chain to appropriately label both and the transportation units with such pertinent data.

Optional logistics information:

Using GS1 identifiers has proven to be an effective way to maintain logistics efficiency throughout the supply chain. Manufacturers or brand owners utilize these identifiers to track products while shipping natural stones from the point of origin to the end user. For instance, Code 128 or GS1 128 can accommodate significant amounts of information on a small label, usually the size of a B6 paper. A label/tag is affixed to every shipping container, and a distinct identifier is assigned to each container to enable easy tracking of the package as it travels along the supply chain until it arrives at its intended location. This method ensures that shipment is secure and easily traceable, reducing the risk of loss or damage.

Fumigation of cargo:

Regarding natural stone products, there are currently no phytosanitary requirements in place. However, majority of the trade uses wooden packing materials for shipping. Therefore, all parties must comply with the quarantine regulations in the destination countries. To ensure compliance, the packing materials must be treated, and the cargo must be fumigated after it has been stuffed into the container.

It is worth noting that quarantine regulations require a fumigation certificate with each shipment. The authorized service provider fumigating the shipment issues it. The provider will also affix the necessary stamps on the crates as required by law. It is essential to understand that Methyl Bromide (MB) treatment is generally accepted at most destinations. However, specific destinations may require Heat Treatment (HT) instead. Therefore, staying informed of the destination-specific requirements is recommended to avoid potential issues.

Shipping information:

When shipping natural stones globally, a 20-foot TEU-high cube container is the most practical and favored option. These containers have the capacity to accommodate weights of up to 27.5 tons. However, please note that the shipping costs may increase if the Destination Port, Inland Container Depot (ICD), or Destination Highway/Motorway rules do not allow the transporters to utilize the total capacity of 27.5 tons in the equipment. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the destination-specific weight limitations before selecting the transportation equipment.

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