Whether you’re moving internationally, or just shipping goods a significant distance overseas, you have two choices: you can either ship your goods by air, or by sea.

If you ever have to face this decision, it’s prudent to know that ocean freight is a more cost-effective method of shipping goods internationally; however, there are some drawbacks– like longer transit times.

Be Prepared for The Strain of Ocean Freight on Goods

If ocean freight is the most viable method of international shipping for you, as the exporter, you need to be aware of the demands that international shipping puts on packaged goods. There are four potential problems that exporters need to keep in mind when they are preparing goods for ocean freight international shipping: breakage, moisture, pilferage, and excess weight.

Generally speaking, cargo is transported in containers, but on occasion, it is still shipped as breakbulk cargo. What this means is that beside the normal handling that is typically encountered during domestic transportation, a breakbulk shipment that is being transported via ocean freight could be loaded aboard their vessels by net, sling conveyor, or chute–all of which adds strain onto your shipment. Not only that, but overseas handling facilities may have less quality control than the facilities in the US– cargo can be dragged, pushed, rolled, or dropped during the unloading process, while making its way through customs or in transport.

Ocean Freight: Moisture and How to Avoid It

Moisture is also a constant concern– condensation can develop in the hold of a ship that has air conditioning and a dehumidifier. Other factors that can play into this are if cargo is loaded/unloaded in precipitation, or the foreign port lacks covered storage facilities.

With these threats in mind, it’s important to prepare your goods for ocean freight using these guidelines:

  • Observe product-specific hazard labels
  • Packaging and filler should be moisture-resistant
  • Good should be containerized (when possible) and palletized
  • Evenly distribute the weight of your goods to ensure proper bracing in the container
  • Pack in strong containers, sealed and filled.
  • To avoid theft, do not write contents on packages. You can further protect your freight by using straps, seals, or shrink wrapping.

There Are Viable Packing Materials for Ocean Freight Shipments

It’s common for those who use ocean freight for their international shipments to use containers that have been obtained from carriers/ private leasing companies. It’s a fantastic option for ocean freight shipments because these containers are able to accommodate most cargo.

Shipping internationally on ocean freight is different– cargo can be heavier than air shipments, but it must be adequately protected– in the majority of cases, standard domestic packing is acceptable, this being especially pertinent if your goods are durable.

And lastly, transportation costs are calculated by volume and weight– and the exports industry has stepped up to the plate, creating reinforced and lightweight packing materials specifically for ocean freight exports. You could possibly save money on international freight by packing goods in such a way to minimize volume and weight, while reinforcing your freight as well. This will also ensure that your goods are adequately protected for the journey.