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The advantages and disadvantages of Sea freight

Sea freight is a transporting method with large amounts of goods using ships. The goods are packed into containers, which are then loaded onto vessels. Most commonly used cargo ships can carry about 18,000 containers, sea freight is cost-efficient to transport large distances with high quantities of goods. Ocean freight takes more time to get to the destination but there are fewer restrictions on shipping hazardous cargo.
 
Compared to air freight, ocean freight is about 4 or 5 times cheaper, especially when it comes to large loads. The only catch is that ocean freight does take a lot more time, ocean freight takes weeks or even months to arrive at the destination. 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea.
 

Advantage and disadvantages

Advantages:
  • Cost-effective
  • Easier to maneuver heavy or odd-sized products
  • Inexpensive for long distances
  • Most carbon-efficient (for large amounts of goods)
Disadvantages:
  • Time-consuming
  • Price for small products is unsustainable
 

Terms to know

FCL – Full container load, containers are for one customer, whether it is fully loaded or not. If this container is not fully loaded it is not shared with anything or anyone.
 
LCL – Less container load, when you do not have a container’s worth of goods, your products or goods will share a container until they reach their destination.
 
RORO – roll on roll off, driving your cargo onto the ship, the vehicle drives off on the other end.
 
VGM – verified gross mass, a packed container is not allowed on board unless its VGM has been provided by the customer to the ship or port terminal before loading.
 
Dry bulk shipping – use for goods such as metal, or sand which can be dropped or poured onto the ship.
 

Container sizes

A standard container is 20 feet long and is capable of holding 17000 kgs per container. Internal dimensions of the container: 19.4 ft. length x 7.7 ft. width x 7.5 ft. height. One container can hold 10,000 beer bottles, for example, Internal dimensions: 39.5 ft. length x 7.7 ft. width x 7.9 ft. height. Another commonly used container is the 40-foot container which can hold 21000 kgs per container. This means a single cargo ship can hold more than 306 million kgs.
 

Types of vessels 

Panamax – The name for this vessel comes from the fact that at the time, its length and width (known as its beam) were the maxima that would fit through the Panama Canal’s locks.
Length: 965 feetBeam: 106 feet
Capacity: 3,000 to 5,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) refers to the number of 20-foot containers that a particular vessel can hold)
Container Configuration: 13 rows across, stacked 11 high
 
Post-Panamax – Post Panamax ships were those that could not pass through the Panama canal because they were too long and too wide.
Length: 1,100 feetBeam: 144 feet
Capacity: 4,500 to 10,000 TEU
Container Configuration: 17 rows across, stacked 11 high
 
Neo-Panamax – In June 2016, the Panama Canal opened its new, expanded lock system that would enable larger cargo ships to pass through.
Length: 1,200 feetBeam: 160 feet
Capacity: 12,000 to 14,400 TEU
Container Configuration: 18 rows across, stacked 13 high
 
Megaship – As operators seek to increase cargo efficiency and maximize the capacity of the vessels, mega-ships are the most commonly seen on the ocean. They are most common on trans-pacific shipping, which goes from Asia to North America, this line does not pass through the Panama canal as the vessel is not able to pass through.
Length: 1,300 fee
tBeam: 177 feet
Capacity: 10,000 to 20,000 TEU
Container Configuration: 21 rows across, stacked 18 high
 
Types of documents needed
Packing list – the packing list provides a detailed description of the goods that are shipped, with exact quantities, possible product or model numbers that help identify the goods, along with the shipper’s and the consignee’s name and address.
 
Commercial invoice – this invoice is similar to the packing list, however, this document also includes the pricing of the goods. This is mainly stated for the goods in case duties or taxes are calculated on the goods when they arrive at the destination. When customs make their calculations they use the amounts from the commercial invoice.
 

Bill of lading – this document is an official shippen document which is issued by the carrier, this document is forwarded to the consignee so that the goods can be claimed after customs clearance by the consignee.

 
Certificate of origin – this certificate is needed, for example, agricultural products, this document states where the goods originate from. This certificate is often issued by a local chamber of commerce.
 
Certificate of analysis – this certificate is mostly for foods as you must be able to verify that the goods are safe for humans to consume. Usually, his certificate demonstrates that tests have been performed on a product sample, and the tests came back negative, it is specifically tested for toxins such as salmonella.
 
The power of the ocean and Lubbers
The size of your company or cargo does not matter for Lubbers, we offer door-to-door solutions to make sure your ocean freight shipments always reach you. While your cargo travels we ensure that you are informed of its whereabouts.
 
If commercial ocean lines do not offer the transportation you are looking for, we offer cargo chartering services. With our network and partners, we will always find a solution that meets your requirements.
 

Combining ocean freight with transits to our air, rail, or road services, your cargo will save time and money. As our network has 17 support bases in 8 countries.

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