If your business involves the international transportation of goods, it’s vital to know ocean freight costs compared to other modes of transport. Ocean freight is a popular choice when moving large or heavy cargo, and it is often the most cost-effective method of transportation.
Although ocean freight takes more time than some other operating common carriers such as air freight, you may find the scheduling, convenience, and ability to carry large loads is ideal for your needs.
What is Ocean Freight?
Ocean freight describes the transportation of goods around the globe on high-capacity cargo ships. Merchandise is typically, but not always, in containers that protect their cargo from the elements. There are several types of ocean freight, such as:
- Full Container Load (FCL) – an individual cargo load in a single large container.
- Less than Container Load (LCL) – multiple loads are in one container and divided at the last port for delivery to various locations.
- Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) – trucks drive onto the ship, park, and remain there for the duration of the journey. At the last port, they leave the ship and proceed to their delivery point.
- Dry Bulk Shipping – suitable for cargo that stays in a ship’s hold rather than in a container. This method is common when moving larger items or raw materials such as timber and metals.
How Ocean Freight Works
Ocean freight transportation procedures can be complicated, so you may want to hire an experienced international freight forwarder who can manage the supply chain on your behalf.
Freight forwarders have a network of vetted suppliers and can choose the best shipping company for your needs. After you accept the ocean carrier’s quote, they collect your shipment and take it to the port where it goes through customs.
The carrier loads your cargo into an FCL or LCL container and places it onto the ship. The shipping agent arranges for your goods to pass through customs at the destination port, and then delivers them to the recipient.
There can be delays throughout the journey if there is inclement weather or a backlog at a port. Trucks can break down or get stuck in traffic, missing their pick-up time, and not getting the cargo onto the ship before departure. These issues can be devastating to the profit margin, but a reliable freight forwarder can quickly and easily handle these problems.
Ocean freight takes more time than air freight, and you need to be sure your supplier is happy with the delivery timeframe. However, you can also transport more cargo on a ship, so you make fewer deliveries to your customers. Because ocean freight is one of the most affordable modes of transport, you can pass on the savings to your customers.
Ocean Freight Costs
Ocean freight is one of the most cost-effective ways to transport goods around the world. However, there are additional costs you need to consider. The shipping company’s transportation price depends on your cargo’s weight and size. This rate can also vary depending on how full their ship is.
As in most countries, North America charges an import duty, and depending on your goods, there may be other taxes. There are no hidden fees, but it can be challenging to know of all the applicable charges.
A good freight forwarder can liaise with a customs brokerage on your behalf. As they are experts in dealing with the documentation and charges at customs, they can ensure your goods continue their journey with unnecessary delays and penalty fees.
Cargo insurance is also essential. Liability can change hands between when cargo is on a ship and when it is in port, so it is vital to read your insurance contract’s terms and conditions.
Advantages of Ocean Freight
Ocean freight has many advantages and is popular with international traders as it is:
- Cost-Effective – ocean freight is ideal for transporting large and heavy loads. It can be 4-6 times cheaper than air transportation.
- Versatile – Choose the most suitable shipping option, FCL or LCL, depending on the size of your cargo
- Accessible – Ocean carriers can deliver to any location in the world.
- Environmentally-Friendly – Reduce your carbon footprint by using ocean freight. Shipping is generally kinder to the environment than using air freight.
Ocean freight is an excellent method for the international transportation of goods. Aside from being one of the most affordable options, it is convenient, eco-friendly, and a safe transport mode.
Asiana USA is an experienced international freight forwarder and can arrange your cargo’s delivery using ocean freight. Contact us for a free quote at (855) 500-1808.