We are specialists in national and international transport services, including air cargo, messenger services, individual packages and of course, cargo and freight. Today we’ll focus on our sea freight services.
So, what are sea freight services? This question has a very easy answer: any transport services that involve a ship. These are usually groupage services or complete containers on board merchant ships operated by companies such as Maersk, MSC, Cosco or Hapag Lloyd among others.
Advantages and disadvantages of sea freight services
Sea freight services are recommended for transporting big loads, specially those that are very heavy or very voluminous since it offers the best value for your money. Large supply chains would not be possible today without sea shipping.
However, transit times are much longer than other transport methods. You must control the timing and make a correct planning of the whole operation, both in origin and destination. This requires a lot of documentary preparation and multimodal logistics before and after the shipping is done.
The rates of sea freight transport are divided into three large blocks
First, we have the expenses in origin, which are generated by the loading of the merchandise (factory, warehouse or domicile) on to the ship.
Then we have the shipping or freight rate. This is the cost of transportation from the port of origin to the port of destination. When shipping a complete container, the fee depends on the size of the container: 20, 40 or 45 feet. If you use groupage services, the fee is established for each cubic meter of volume or a ton of weight. You apply the rate of the greatest, at least one cubic meter or a ton (even if the shipping weighs 10 kilos).
Finally there are arrival and delivery costs. These are generated starting from the arrival of the ship until the merchandise is delivered to its destination.
For companies, costs are established according to the agreed incoterm. As an example: in an FOB shipment, the sending company assumes the costs of origin and the destination company pays the freight and arrival expenses. This way the expenses are distributed between sender and receiver, helping them save on transport costs.
This is different for individuals since they’re responsible for the whole shipment: expenses at source, sea freight and arrival fees. Because of this, the cost is higher than for business shipments.
“I want to ship a box of 20 kilos by sea freight”
We receive many requests like this one once a week. Our answer to them is “sea freight is not always the best option, neither for price nor for transit time“.
As indicated above, when asking for groupages, the fee is applied for a minimum of one ton or one cubic meter, so applying the minimum fee to such a small shipment is very expensive. Documentary procedures have the same cost and work for a shipment of a box as for the shipment of a full container.
To send parcels, our advice is always to ask for “Shipping Economy” services. If you need urgent shipments ask for “Global Shipping” so you can get a very competitive rate and door to door service. Those services include the customs procedures in origin and destination. In most cases there is customs clearance, which means no customs taxes/duties apply.
So… are sea freight services suitable for individuals?
There isn’t a clear yes or no answer. The suitability of a service depends on many factors: contents, number of packages, volume, total weight, pick-up and delivery addresses, etc. A shipment of a few packages within Europe or even to the United States will not need a sea freight service. However, to ship a car or a greater shipping of personal effects, it might be the most suitable service.
We are the ones who can best advise you to choose one transport method or another. If you are not sure of the service you need, ask for a quote with all the details of your shipment. We will inform you about the options you have to consider and any fees involved.
If you ask us about the services you need, we will always help you get the best one. Don’t forget to give all the details of your shipment. You can contact us by email or by calling any of our phone numbers. We are always happy to help.