Ocean freight shipping plays a major role in the shipment of goods between countries and continents. It offers a cost-effective transportation solution. One should choose ocean freight shipping when the transportation time is not important for the shipper. Ocean freight is a low cost mode of transportation and is normally used to ship large and heavy freight. Freight or cargo is defined as goods transported for commercial gain. The shipment of cargo through ocean or sea is known as ocean freight shipping.
The primary types of cargo shipped by ocean include automobiles, break bulk cargo, bulk cargo, containers and heavy weight cargo. Break bulk cargo is material stacked on wooden pallets. Bulk cargo includes goods including salt, oil, tallow, and scrap metal and is normally defined as commodities that are neither on pallets nor in containers. Containers are the largest and fastest growing cargo transferring objects that ship everything from auto parts and machinery components to shoes and toys. Project cargo and heavy weight cargo include manufacturing equipment, factory components, and power equipment. Ocean freight shipping is essential to the world economy and carries the bulk of international trade.
Before selecting a freight shipper one should check two fundamental parameters: the cost of shipment and transit time. The cost of shipping the consignment is the sum of all costs associated with operating terminals and vehicles. The cost of transportation service is simply the rate charged by the shipping agency to the shipper. Freight shipping via ocean is four times less costly compared to train and seven times less costly compared to trucks. Transit time is the time a shipment takes to move from the origin to the destination. This parameter is influenced by weather and traffic conditions. Ocean freight shipping normally operates for non-perishable goods and when transit time is not essential to the customer.
Ocean freight shipping mainly provides two kinds of services, full container load (FCL) service and less than container load (LCL). Full load container service includes shipments that weigh between 15,000 pounds and 80,000 pounds. FCL is used to transport large, heavy freights including automobiles and manufacturing equipment. Less than container load services include shipments that weigh between 1,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds. Less than container load reduces the transit time and minimizes the cost. Another benefit of LCL is that it keeps the shipment moving to send the goods when they are ready rather than waiting for a full container.
The carriers used for freight shipping are categorized by bulk carriers, tankers, containers ships, roll on/ roll off ships, ferries, and coastal trading vessels. Bulk carriers are used to transport bulk cargo items including rice, and grains. Container ships carry their entire load in truck-size containers. Tankers are used for the transportation of fluids or liquids including crude oil, petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, and chemicals. Coastal trading vessels or coasters are shallow-hulled ships used for trade between locations on the same islands or continents. Ocean freight shipping is a cost-effective solution for shipping goods and is beneficial for small and large businesses.