Everything You Need to Know About Sea Freight

What is Ocean Freight

Businesses have several options for transporting their goods. One of these is ocean freight. Also called sea freight, ocean freight involves the transport of cargo by sea using carrier ships.

Typically, ocean freight shipping is the most ideal transportation method for large loads of goods. In fact, most cargo delivered globally is shipped by sea. An average cargo ship can hold approximately 18,000 containers. It makes sense that companies in the business of exporting and importing huge quantities of products around the world usually move cargo via carrier ships.

You can directly engage with a shipping company or work with a reliable 3PL to handle the entire process. Either way, your goods will be collected from you or your supplier, and then transported through ports until they are delivered to the end destination.

Common products that arrive via sea freight shipments are those that people use every day, including raw materials, food, toys, livestock, and industrial chemicals. These goods are loaded into containers, which are then loaded onto the ship.

In terms of transporting heavy and large quantities of goods over long distances, sea freight in Australia remains superior to other modes of shipment. Nowadays, modern freight software offers numerous advantages to businesses, including simplifying the booking process and learning how to track sea freight.

How Does Ocean Freight Work?

Ocean freight shipment works by loading packed goods into shipping containers. There are four major ways in which ocean freight can be shipped.

  1. Dry bulk shipping – This is used for specific goods that are not loaded into a container. Rather, they are placed in the ship’s hold, a space allotted for carrying cargo.
  2. Full Container Load (FCL) – One or more containers are used for carrying goods.
  3. Less Than Container Load (LCL) – This is used if the amount of your goods isn’t enough to fill a whole container.
  4. Roll On, Roll Off (RORO) – Goods are in a vehicle, which enters the ship and drives off at the destination.

Several factors can affect how long sea freight takes from the point of origin to its destination. The time spent on the sea and that is allotted for door-to-door shipments are two different things. Location, delays, and rail or road transport all impact the time of transit of ocean freight.

Benefits of Sea Freight

Each method of transporting goods has an important role to play in the current outlook of the global supply chain. Sea freight offers major advantages and benefits that can help businesses determine the right shipping method to meet their specific needs.

Sea freight is cost-effective. When it comes to shipping large amounts of goods, sea freight in Australia is one of the most cost-effective methods. The lower the cost of shipping, the more likely that a business can keep the price of their products competitive for end users.

Sea freight is environmentally-friendly. Freight transportation largely contributes to air pollution, which adversely impacts the health and welfare of people. Being the most environmentally-friendly method of transporting cargo, ocean freight can boost the reputation of your company. The more sustainable your brand is, the better your standing will be.

Sea freight is ideal for heavy goods. If your business deals with big or heavy freight over long distances and across international borders, ocean freight is the most ideal option due to its higher shipping capacity. While air freight also transports cargo overseas, it has weight and size restrictions. Shipping ports have larger storage capabilities, allowing for easier movement of bulky or heavy goods.

Sea freight is convenient in times of natural calamities. During natural calamities that may disrupt rail and road transport, such as heavy rain, flood, and landslide, goods and cargo can be transported via sea. This mode of freight transportation is useful in sending relief operations to places affected by the calamity.

Sea freight is safer for certain goods. If you are moving chemicals or other hazardous products, ocean freight may be your best bet. Aside from sealed containers that hold hazardous materials, maritime personnel is also trained to inspect, handle, and ship these kinds of goods. Other items that are best transported via sea include cars, electronics, and bulky furniture.

How Is Sea Freight Cost Calculated?

Many factors come into play when calculating the cost of sea freight shipment. Whether importing products or shipping goods, the sea freight cost mainly depends on the Incoterms agreed between both parties. Where should the cargo be delivered to? The port, the terminal, or the warehouse? Before entering an agreement, make sure that all terms are clear and the responsibility of each party is laid down.

Often, shipping lines issue sea freight invoices to their customers, but it is not uncommon for a freight agent to send out an invoice on behalf of the shipping company.

Freight companies and shipping lines have base rates for calculating ocean freight charges. FCL charge is typically based on the container’s size. LCL is usually charged based on the good’s gross weight or volumetric weight, whichever is higher. The reason for this is not all goods of the same size have the same weight, and vice versa.

An ocean freight invoice shows a lot of numbers that may overwhelm you. Aside from the base ocean freight charges, other fees include loading port fees, destination port fees, customs-related fees, handling charges, bill of lading fees, and other related costs.

With smart shipping software like Cario, you can easily see and analyse your freight costs and data. You can access all your freight carriers, optimise based on price or service, and do sea freight tracking. Cario automates your freight processes, so you don’t have to manually perform them.

Let Cario Help with Your Supply Chain Today!

Ocean freight can offer a lot of benefits to your business. It may be the most ideal mode of transporting goods if you’re dealing with bulky items, heavy products, or hazardous materials.

Like other modes of shipment, the process of ocean freight shipping can be expensive and overwhelming. The leading sea freight Australia management platform, Cario, provides a single solution to this problem by automating your freight decisions.

Manual freight operation is prone to human error and takes too much time. Cario wants to make freight simpler and smarter for all businesses. With Cario, you can book, receive quotes, and perform sea freight tracking through multiple providers. It also provides real-time visibility of all your shipments and freight costs, allowing you to manage your freight and supply chain more easily.

Ready to bring freight control back to your hands? Contact Cario today to learn more about taking charge of your supply chain independently.