International ocean freight shipping is one of the most preferred ways to securely ship your goods. However, you need to consider several things – from cost to delivery time and the type of container to the size of your packing. Therefore, before you plan to international ship your products, read this guide for deeper insights.
Why Do You Have To Plan Ahead For Container Shipping?
Planning for container shipping holds immense significance due to various reasons. Firstly, it plays a vital role in guaranteeing the timely delivery of goods. This aspect is of utmost importance for businesses that heavily depend on just-in-time manufacturing or face stringent deadlines.
Secondly, container transportation planning assists in reducing shipping expenses. Considering the great impact International ocean freight shipping costs have on the overall financial health of an enterprise, managing these costs becomes imperative. Not only do shipping expenses affect profit margins, but they can also directly influence the overall profitability of a business.
Which Issues You Can Face When You Deliver The Shipping Container?
Delivery timelines are subject to heightened expectations across the board. As next-day and same-day delivery options gain popularity, the duration of long-distance shipments may appear prolonged compared to what the market has grown accustomed to.
Ensuring the timely delivery of container shipments remains a persistent challenge due to the intricate involvement of multiple stakeholders and complex processes. Moreover, during peak seasons, the likelihood of delays significantly increases, leading to potential dissatisfaction among customers.
Instances of cargo arriving in a damaged state are not uncommon. It is crucial to properly secure your cargo within the container during the loading process at the origin. Surprisingly, improper packing accounts for approximately 95% of cargo damage cases. Therefore, a firm grasp of container loading fundamentals is essential. You must know the appropriate number of pallets that fit within a 20-ft or 40-ft container.
Shipping containers can go missing occasionally. Considering the vast expanses of ports, which are continually expanding, particularly with the rise of mega-ships, it is not surprising that discharged containers can sometimes become misplaced. Searching for a single container within the entire port area exemplifies the daunting nature of finding a needle in a haystack.
How can Shipping Containers Be Shipped?
There are three ways to ship containers.
By Road Via Trucks
This is one of the most common and fastest techniques used to transport containers through the truck, whether long or short distances. Road transport ensures that your cargo reaches its destination on time.
By Container Ship
This type of shipping can reduce the expenditures and transport times for domestic and international shipments. In fact, sea cargo shipping companies transport more than 90% of overseas non-bulk cargo through boats.
Trains can transport bulk cargo containers. They are designed to move cars, goods, and other goods containers.
Types of Shipping Containers and Sizes
Standard containers, typically constructed from steel or aluminum, are airtight and water-resistant, safeguarding the cargo from external damage. These containers are versatile enough to accommodate various dry goods such as boxes, pallets, sacks, and barrels. Furthermore, they can be customized internally to cater to specific cargo types. They have standard dimensions of 20ft and 40ft containers.
High Cube Container
High cube containers, abbreviated as HC, share a similar structure to standard containers with identical length and width dimensions. However, they offer an additional one-foot increase in height, enabling them to meet higher cargo demands. They are available in two sizes – 40ft and 45ft.
Reefer containers function as refrigerated units designed to transport temperature-sensitive goods. Equipped with a T-shaped decking system, these containers ensure consistent airflow throughout the cargo by circulating chilled air.
Reefer containers can maintain temperatures ranging from -30°C to +30°C. Fruits, vegetables, ice cream, drugs, meat, and other perishable items are commonly transported in reefer containers. These containers are available in 20ft and 40ft sizes.
Flat rack container
A flat rack container is a specialized container with walls only at the short ends of the container. Since the container type doesn’t have any roof and long walls, you can easily load the oversized and uniquely shaped cargo from the top or sides. As a result, the flat rack container can easily store and ship out of gauge cargo such as machinery, timber, pipes, buses, and boats, among other things., cars, and other vehicles to load them through one set of doors and unload them from the other side.
Open-top containers feature an open-top design, replacing the solid roof with tarpaulin sheets. This adaptable feature enables easy covering or uncovering as required. These containers are constructed with steel bodies and wooden flooring, accompanied by swing-open door heads that facilitate seamless loading and unloading processes.
Insulated containers are designed to maintain a consistent temperature inside, regardless of external temperature conditions. These containers often feature a double-wall structure with a vacuum layer that minimizes heat and cold transfer between the interior and exterior. Furthermore, the interior is fully sealed to prevent condensation and moisture buildup, making them suitable for transporting temperature-sensitive goods.
Key Points to Consider Before Your Container Shipping
Quantity and Dimension
Managing logistics can be complex, as multiple parties are involved in the supply chain. To find the right logistics provider, consider the type of cargo you are shipping. Before starting, determine the quantity and dimensions of your cargo, including total weight, size in cubic meters (m3), and the number of boxes or pallets.
These factors also influence your overall costs, as larger and heavier shipments may require additional space and incur surcharges. Also, ensure there is enough clearance space around the container to be easily moved.
Transport Time Plan
Having a well-defined time plan is essential. Determine when your products should arrive at their destination and account for unexpected delays. The mode of transportation also affects your time plan. Once you know your time, you can check the accessibility of the shipping container.
Selecting a professional logistics company with an experienced packing team is vital. Packing experts ensure your goods are packed correctly, minimizing the risk of damage. They will also help with rigging, crating, loading, and dissembling your goods.
Here are some key things to consider:
- Check if your cargo requires any permits for loading and discharge. Make sure it’s allowed at the destination.
- Determine if your cargo is hazardous and requires a dangerous goods declaration.
- Ensure that your packing list accurately reflects the cargo weights, as different weights are used in shipping, and misdeclaration can have consequences.
- Familiarize yourself with SOLAS VGM regulations. If you’re using Method 2, keep the weight documentation readily available.
- If you’re packing Out of Gauge (OOG) Cargo, make sure you have the necessary permits and escorts arranged.
What is the Cost of Shipping Container?
When it comes to container prices, it’s important to understand that they can vary depending on the location. On average, a new 20ft dry container can cost you between $1,500 and $3,500. If you opt for a 40ft dry container, the cost will fall between $2,500 and $4,500. A new 40ft high cube (HC) container will cost around $2,500 – $6,000.
Keep in mind that these figures are approximate and subject to change. Container shortages and the current volatile global economic climate can also impact prices. Haulage and shipping expenses will apply, and the distance can affect the overall cost.
Customs clearance is important because you might be asked to pay additional charges if the container is transported between different countries. Other factors that can affect the price of the container include:
- Distance traveled
- Route taken
- Type of container
- Availability of the container and shipping
- Weight of cargo
- Type of packaging
To avoid shipping problems like delayed shipping or damaged goods, you should get expert help. International freight forwarders like Atlantic Project Cargo can help you in this regard. The company is fully equipped to provide hassle-free services and customized logistics to clients worldwide.