Using freight services for international shipping saves money and lets you send a lot of goods to faraway places. But the process can be confusing, especially if you're new to it or if you're shipping items that you don't normally handle.
Ocean freight and air freight are your two main choices for items heading anywhere other than mainland North America. To ensure you get the best service possible, you need to look at what each service requires and what benefits you get with them.
Time Is the Most Immediate Factor
The development of air travel was a marvel. Not only could people fly through the air (albeit with the assistance of a powered metal tube), but companies could transport goods long distances in a matter of days, if not hours. Ocean and land shipping could take weeks by comparison.
For this reason, air freight is the service you want if you need to have something arrive quickly. International air shipping still involves border waits and customs. It may be possible to send documents overnight internationally, but plan for a couple of days at least for air cargo.
Ocean freight, on the other hand, will take longer even if your cargo is on a ship headed directly for the port city you need it to go to.
Weight and Size Matter as Well
Weight and size are the next most important considerations. You can't exceed the maximum weight for ships and planes, of course, but large cargo ships can carry substantially more than a plane, both in terms of size and in terms of weight. If you need to make a very large mass shipment that you can't break up, for example, ocean freight is likely better.
You'll have to talk to each shipping company you're interested in using to determine maximum shipping weights and volume. Each company has its own requirements.
Ocean Freight Offers Less-Than-Container Options
On the flip side, if you usually use air freight but are shipping a smaller amount than usual and don't want to pay full air freight prices, ocean freight may provide the better deal. Ocean-bound cargo shipments allow for a service called less-than-container loads, in which your cargo takes up only a portion of a container.
Be aware that your cargo may share space in a container with other less-than-container loads; this makes sense as otherwise, you'd have to pay for the space the entire container takes up on the ship. But that does mean you should package your cargo well so that if anything happens to the other cargo, it does not damage your goods.
Both Benefit From Insurance, but Get the Right Type
You're going to need insurance no matter how you ship your products. The shipping company may offer coverage that you pay extra for, or you might have your own cargo insurance from a third party. Ensure that whatever insurance you have, it will cover damage, theft, and anything else that might happen to the cargo.
Also be sure you have liability insurance. This may be available as an additional coverage on your overall insurance policy, or you may need to purchase it separately. Liability insurance covers damage caused by your cargo. For example, if you didn't pack the cargo properly, and it contained liquid that leaked and damaged other goods on the cargo hold, you'd likely be liable for that damage.
Dolphin Brokerage International can help you choose the right mode of shipping and get your packing and insurance issues under control. Contact us today for professional crating services and answers to all of your questions about shipping goods.