Sea freight is the most common method of international cargo transportation. The shipping time is longer than shipping by air, but the prices are significantly lower. That’s the main reason why 85 to 90 percent from the total global trade takes place by sea.
The standard transport unit is a container that comes in two main sizes: 20 and 40 feet. There are other types of containers, such as a reefers (temperature controlled), flatbeds & open tops (no roof/walls, iso-tankers and more. Containers are the preferred way of transporting goods by sea because they are uniform, that is, almost the same size everywhere in the world. There are special ships built for the purpose of transporting containers only when the biggest ones can load tens of thousands of containers.
Another method of shipping equipment by sea is by LCL / partial cargos. Importers / exporters are consolidating their goods into the same container, thus each one pays only its own proportion and reduces the shipping costs for all.
The ocean shipping rate is the shipping companies agreed rate for moving cargo from one ocean port to another. The price derives mainly from the following elements:
Transportation Distance – The geographic distance a boat must cover from the export country port to the import country port.
Service Frequency – Prices are supply and demand based. That means, more competition will lead to lower prices. Sometimes it will be cheaper to import from a geographically distant country just because of the service frequency.
Product Characteristics – Unique product features will affect the shipping rate. Some products require special attention and handling from the shipping companies. You will pay extras for those kinds of products. That’s like charges you pay when flying with over-sized cargo on an airplane.
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