Sea freight is the method of transporting goods using ships. This mode of transport can carry large amounts of goods at cheaper rates to larger distances. Notably, this is the most cost-effective method with comparatively fewer restrictions on transporting different types of cargo. Most of the service providers offer Sea freight cargo services
Sea freight plays a pivotal role in facilitating international trade and connecting nations and continents. It is an integral component of the global supply chain and serves as the predominant part of international cargo services. Employing sea freight for the import and export of goods provides global accessibility and allows the transport of hazardous materials. When businesses are tasked with transporting substantial volumes of goods without stringent time constraints, sea freight emerges as a viable choice. There are two primary categories of sea cargo services: containerized and bulk. Containerized freight involves the use of standardized containers, enabling seamless transfer between various modes of transportation, including ships, trains, and trucks. In contrast, bulk freight entails the transportation of large quantities of goods without the use of containers.
Advantages of Sea Freight
Cost-effective: Sea freight also known as ocean freight is more affordable than road and rail freight services for voluminous goods. As per an international agency, sea freight is more than ten times cheaper compared to other forms of transportation. This is crucial for businesses, as shipping cost adds to the selling price of the commodity. Ships have more space to carry commodities and using sea freight can help save money. The cost involved in the maintenance of ships is less, making it more cheap.
Suitable for bulky goods: Ocean freight is the best option if you want to ship heavy and oversized items. Massive products such as large cars, equipment, automobile parts, machinery and construction supplies are effortlessly shipped by maritime transportation. Heavy cargo, which is too difficult to be handled by air freight and land freight, can be carried out by sea freight.
The safest mode of transport: Sea freight shipping offers a notable advantage by providing specialized vessels that ensure the safe transport of hazardous materials and dangerous cargo. The maritime industry possesses extensive knowledge in handling such goods, accompanied by stringent laws that safeguard the well-being of the vessel, crew, load, and environment. The meticulously detailed management and security protocols guarantee secure transportation.
Over the past decade, the occurrence of cargo loss resulting from maritime incidents has significantly reduced due to enhancements in maritime security. Every freight forwarder is trying to achieve extra protection through the use of sealed and locked containers during transportation. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that exposure to elements during sea transportation can pose risks, especially when dealing with dangerous goods. Consequently, it is of utmost importance to accurately declare and handle all dangerous goods on cargo ships to avoid disastrous consequences.
Sea freight is an exceptionally environmentally friendly alternative, characterized by significantly lower fuel consumption in comparison to other shipping methods. Major organizations typically opt for sea freight over air freight due to the inherent eco-friendly nature of ships. This is because air and other modes of transportation have notably higher carbon footprints compared to marine shipping, creating an environmental disadvantage.
Conversely, ships exemplify the most carbon-efficient means of transportation, emitting fewer grams of exhaust. These already low emissions are expected to decline further as technology advances, new ships are introduced, and LNG-powered alternatives become more widely used by freight forwarders.
Instrumental in foreign trade: Maritime transport has been associated with international trade from time immemorial. The Eastern and Western world engaged in trade activities with each other using solely sea routes and foreign trade is still largely dependent on sea cargo services.
Flexibility: Sea freight providers have the ability to meet cargo requirements, irrespective of the dimensions of your goods. Even smaller shipments can be kept with other cargo in a container, enabling cost-effective sharing of transportation services. Shippers have the advantage of accommodating larger goods in one or more containers, offering unparalleled advantages in terms of bulk transportation. Due to their capacity to carry substantial quantities of goods or raw materials, vessels are the optimal mode of transportation for bulkier goods.
Maximum efficiency: Sea freight transportation offers exceptional efficiency compared to other methods of transport due to its versatility in accommodating different types of goods. An exceptional feature of this mode of transportation is its ability to arrange goods systematically within containers, enabling seamless shipping for diverse shipments. This efficient arrangement facilitates the transportation of items like computers, meat, clothing, and toys. The containers, usually with metal walls, provide the utmost protection from harsh weather conditions and moisture.
For hazardous goods such as petrol and crude oil, liquid bulk transport serves as a reliable option within sea freight. Similarly, the dry bulk mode is available for shipping commodities like grains, cement and salt. There is a roll-on/roll-off cargo shipping that is specifically designed for the transportation of goods like cars, heavy machinery, and project cargo. Apart from that there is break bulk shipping which presents an opportunity to help in transporting items such as household furniture, and vehicle parts.
Disadvantages of Sea Freight
Similar to advantages, sea cargo services have certain disadvantages. These include:
Slow: The main disadvantage of sea freight is the slow speed. The shipments coming via ships may take time anywhere around a month. If you are particular about the time you want the goods to reach their destination, then ocean freight is not for you.
Infrastructure issues: It is difficult to stop a ship in certain places as they don’t have port or harbour facilities. Without proper infrastructure sea freight is not useful.
Risky: Sea freight is prone to weather changes that develop in the oceans. As a significant amount of time is taken for the shipment to reach the destination, climate conditions and environmental factors may damage the goods.
If you don’t have a strict time frame, ocean freight, the cost-effective option with the flexibility to accommodate goods of various sizes and shapes, is the best choice. However, if you are particular about the time you want the goods, ocean freight is not for you.