Ocean Freight

Advantages & Disadvantages of Sea Freight

Ocean shipping or sea freight is the oldest means of international transportation of goods and everything is moved via large cargo containers via huge ships. All these shipments are picked up by a vessel at the various major port and is then transported overseas via specific shipping lanes.

Basically, there are two primary types of ocean shipping as

Full Container Load: Imagine an exporter having goods to accommodate in one single full container then he will naturally book an FCL to stuff his cargo. Hence this means that the entire goods which are in the FCL container are owned by a single shipper. In an FCL the ocean shipping costs are calculated by the container owner and shippers are charged a flat rate per full container.

Less than container load: It is not necessary that a shipper will be having enough goods to export which will accommodate an entire fully loaded container. In such circumstances, he will have to arrange with a consolidator who can book his cargo. It means that the consolidator will try to accommodate his goods with other parties shipment into a container. Hence the term Less Container Load. Here shippers are charged by the cubic meter as your shipment doesn’t fill an entire container and said your shipment will share container space with other shipments.

Now that we have got to know what ocean shipping is and the two commonly used means of moving your cargo, let’s check out the Advantages as well as some common disadvantages of Sea Freight.

What are the advantages of sea freight?

  • Sea freight is a popular method of importing and exporting goods and commodities, particularly consumer goods moving long distances. It has a number of advantages:
  • Ocean shipping is a very cost effective method of shipping for both heavy as well as large loads and it is almost 4 to 6 times cheaper than the air freight movements.
  • While using sea freight the Duty and VAT are much less expensive as compared to the air freight as while calculating the same it always calculated as a percentage cost of the total cost of goods plus the export cost as applicable.
  • Ocean freight transportation provides with several different shipping options which includes taking an entire container or sharing between several different loads.
  • The biggest advantage is that you can ship bigger items which can include furniture or even vehicles by sea routes.
  • Goods can be shipped from more or less than anywhere via specialist operators.

Sea freight though has various advantages and seems to be the best viable for international exports it does have some inherent downsides as well.

  • Sea freight can be time-consuming as it may take several weeks to move your goods via ocean freight.
  • It can be possible that the pricing structure may work out to be less suited when you have to export or import small loads and in such a scenario air freight or even a courier can be a more effective method.
  • In comparisons with air freight, it can be said that sea freight can be more prone to damages in transit but occurrences of such untoward incident are most unlikely.

It largely depends on the kind of goods to be exported while choosing the best method of transportation whether by sea or air and the choice should be based on all major factors as the size of the goods to be exported and also on when the goods have to reach their destination.

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