You have to choose an ocean freight shipping company when you want your freight/cargo transported by ship from port to port. Shipments in this case are usually divided into two categories – LCL (Less than container load) and FCL (full container load). Containers may vary in lengths and delivery times may be different as well. If you think ocean freight is a bit too slow, you can also opt for expedited freight, which is almost as quick as airfreight is.
There are certain situations when ocean freight shipping seems to be a much better option as compared to other available options. For instance, it provides you with capacity and value. A single container can hold loads of stuff and it costs you less. If your shipment weighs more than 500kg, you will always be better off using ocean freight services. Similarly, it comes with fewer restrictions. It means that so many items that may be considered restricted as air cargo can still be transported as sea cargo. Some common examples are toxic/corrosive items, flammable items, gasses, oxidizer, magnetic substances, and biochemical products.
Here is also important to bear in mind that there are certain limitations associated with the idea of shipping cargo by ocean. Delivery time, for instance, may not be as impressive as with airplanes. In fact, airplanes are more than 30 times faster as compared to ocean liners. Where passenger jets can move at speed of 575mph, ocean liners usually move at 16-18mph. It means that it is going to take longer to deliver your goods when you opt for ocean freight shipping. Of course, you can opt for expedited services, but they may not seem like a good option if you have opted for ocean freight shipping as a cost-effective option in the first place.
Reliability may sometimes be an issue with ocean freight shipping. With an improvement in railroad systems, intermodal transportation has become one of the most cost-effective and reliable way to transport goods, but you have to think of a different option when you want to import/export internationally. Ocean freight shipping may be a cost-effective option, but it may not be that reliable because of issues, including custom delays, port congestion, and bad weather conditions. Moreover, if your ocean shipment is not larger than a container load, there is an increased risk of getting your container misplaced.
As mentioned already, ocean freight is divided into two categories – LCL and FCL. Several shipments go into one container when you opt for LCL. This usually means that the forwarder has to work hard to pack several shipments into one container and this involves tedious paperwork. This is the reason why it usually takes longer to deliver an LCL shipment. The risk of getting your shipment misplaced or damaged is also higher with an LCL shipment.
What it means is that though ocean freight shipping may cost you less, but there are certain limitations and options to consider to ensure if the idea of transporting your cargo through ocean will work in your favor or not.