Sea freight has been the traditional mode of transporting cargo using ocean-going vessels. It is normally reliable and cost-effective. Rates are usually computed based on cubic meters and up to the port of destination. There are usual surcharges and of course, you need to take care of customs fees. However, the total cost is manageable compared to air freight. The most important document for sea cargo is the Bill of Lading.
This is the document provided by the carrier of the transporter’s agent to the shipper. Bill of Lading serves as formal agreement for the carriage of consignment items. It is the receipt for goods that have been accepted for transport. This BOL must be presented at the port of destination. This document becomes available more or less four days following the ship’s departure.
Sea freight has a major advantage. Container ships can carry large volumes of merchandise for lengthy distances. Bulk cargo can be stored in containers or simply placed in pallets. It really does not matter since the ships will convey the cargo to its destination port. On the contrary, land freight has a smaller volume and limited access. Moreover, products that are carried by several trucks can be carried by a single vessel in one voyage.
For long distances, sea transport is safer than land. Trucks will have to negotiate rough and unfamiliar terrain. There is always the risk of hijacking, robbery and road accidents. Sea travel is smooth. Ships can also dock during stormy weather. Merchant shipping firms can always seek Coast Guard assistance for dangerous waters of piracy problems.
Sea freight is more affordable compared to land transport. The latter becomes more expensive since it requires a bigger number of personnel and resources to facilitate the conveyance. One ship can store all kinds of goods. It has massive refrigeration facilities for commodities that require cold temperature at all times. Sea-going vessels also have large storage areas. Trucking space is limited and separate vehicles are needed to haul refrigerated items. The only disadvantages of sea shipment are speed, navigation as well as weather conditions.
All kinds of consignment can be transported and delivered by ocean freighters. These include general cargo, outsized and heavy merchandise, bulk cargo, refrigerated products, and dangerous items. However, you need to secure different kinds of permits and pay the corresponding custom fees for specific consignments. Freight forwarders can provide you with estimates of fees and documentation services.