When looking to move commodities from one place to another, whether for business or personal reasons, one must seek the services of a shipping company. Most of the world’s commodities are transported using either air or water transport since these mediums are suitable for long distances. Roads are mostly used in cases where goods need to be transported locally over a short distance. For most people, handling the processes involved in shipping can be quite intimidating. Apart from the many fees that need to be calculated and paid, there are a few other confusing factors that need to be addressed as well.
Fortunately, there are many credible agencies that can help make your shipping experience less cumbersome. You can get all sorts of services regardless of whether you’re using air or ocean shipping. What’s more, you can even request a free quote from some agencies, which will go a long way in making your work even easier. Still, knowing the nitty-gritty when it comes to shipping will enable you to have peace of mind when your goods are enroute. Although it may seem like a very intimidating topic to cover, following the simple guide below will help you know all that’s required to ship goods.
Choosing Between Ocean and Air Shipping
The type of transportation you choose for shipping your goods is arguably the most important decision you have to make. For the most part, your choice will largely depend on the type of commodities you wish to transport. Air transport works best for low volume cargo of high value and since it’s much faster than ocean transport, it’s also suitable for goods of high urgency. Ocean transport is best suited for bulky and heavy goods since ships are capable of carrying a lot more weight than airplanes. Even so, both of these modes of shipping have their pros and cons, and picking the perfect one for you requires a deeper look into them.
Shipping goods using the air is best for low volume goods, preferably those that occupy less than one cubic meter. In addition, air freight is probably the best form of shipping when you require commodities to be quickly transported. Air shipping is almost ten times faster than ocean shipping, meaning that a shipment that would take approximately 30 days using ocean transport will only take two or three days using air transport. Some of the goods that are shipped using air transport are electronics, pharmaceuticals, and apparel. However, the major downside to air freight is the cost of shipping.
Types of Air Shipping
There are typically two ways in which one can choose to transport their cargo via air shipping. The first method is known as International Air Freight and is the less expensive alternative. Rates range between two and five dollars per kilogram depending on the type of cargo that’s being transported and the amount of space available in the vessel. Another thing to note about International Air Freight is that it may involve the services of multiple carriers during shipment. The other method is called Express Air Freight or commonly referred to as Courier services; it involves door-to-door shipping and is normally handled by one carrier such as FedEx or DHL.
Air Freight Shipping Costs
Weight and volume are of the utmost importance when determining the total cost of air shipping. Given that the space in cargo planes is limited, calculating the cost of shipping goods usually depends on both the volumetric weight and actual weight of the cargo. For instance, transporting 50 kilograms of leather will definitely take up more space than transporting batteries of the same weight. Thus, to determine the cost of air shipping, one has to calculate the volumetric weight of the cargo and compare it to the actual weight. To get the volumetric weight, the total volume of the cargo has to be multiplied by 167, which is the air shipment volumetric weight constant. The chargeable weight is the greater one between the volumetric weight and actual weight.
For those looking to transport heavy and bulky goods, sea freight is probably the best option for them. Sea freights are best suited to transport cargo that occupies more than one cubic meter and weighs more than 100 kilograms. There are two options when transporting goods using sea freight, Full Container Loads (FCL) and Less than Container Loads (LCL).
Full Container Loads
When someone ships using FCL, their goods will be shipped in a container that is solely for them. Therefore, commodities transported using FCL will not be packed with other importers’ goods during shipment. This method of sea shipping is best suited for goods that occupy more than 15 cubic meters since, at this point, the freight cost per unit is relatively lower than LCL. There are three main types of shipping containers that can accommodate 28, 56, and 68 cubic meters respectively. Thus, for commodities that occupy more than 10 cubic meters, it would be shrewd to increase the shipping order to occupy a whole container in order to reduce the freight cost per unit.
Less than Container Loads
These refer to commodities that don’t occupy the full space inside a container. Therefore, in this case, the commodities of one individual will be consolidated with other peoples’ shipments. For this reason, goods being shipped using LCL are usually grouped into different categories for easier accessibility. The cost of transporting goods using LCL is primarily determined by the volume that the shipment occupies; the more the volume, the higher the cost. Although weight is also a consideration, container ships can easily handle heavy loads, thus volume is usually given chief priority. In most cases, the total cost of LCL shipping includes five main charges namely pickup fees, origin fees which are paid at the container freight station, main leg charges, destination fees, and delivery charges. When it comes to picking between LCL and air freight services, the wise option would be to choose LCL if you have the luxury of time.
Although international shipping may seem like a complex undertaking, it’s actually a lot simpler than people think. Knowing the basics is a great way to ensure that you make informed decisions whenever you’re handling shipping for your business. There are also several freight forwarders who will work side by side with you to ensure that all goes well.