Types of International Shipping
Shipping is the engine behind international trade, and a basic understanding of how it works will help small business owners ensure faster delivery and reduce costs. Choosing between freight, courier, and container shipping will depend on the number of goods and how fast the transporter wants them to move.
Freight shipping is reserved for transporting large amounts of goods and cargo by sea, air, or land. Courier shipping refers to the mail delivery companies like DHL, FedEx, and UPS that carry small items to different parts of the world. In more developed areas, they carry out door to door service once the parcels arrive. However, the recipients have to go to their offices in more remote areas or places without organized addresses.
In container shipping, the items have to fit specific requirements regarding the size and type of material to be shipped. Small business owners should research the list of items banned from being transported in containers before using this method. It is ideal when carrying a large number of personal items, including things like cars, equipment, and household items.
Seaborne transport accounts for 90 percent of global trade and is excellent for transporting large commodities, crude oil, agricultural products, heavy machinery, and minerals. Sea is also the cheapest and environmentally-friendly form of transport. Its primary disadvantage is that it takes a longer time. Air shipping is great for its speed and reliability but is the most expensive way to transport goods around the world. It also provides the best level of security for cargo, but the environmental impact is high. Trains can carry more substantial and larger cargo and are the most efficient mode of transporting goods on land. Their transit times are more reliable, and they are cheaper over longer distances.
Road freight by trucks is more flexible in terms of the places it can reach. They can deliver from door to door and reach rural areas. They can also deliver conveniently across borders. SMEs can hire an entire truck to deliver their goods, usually known as Full Truck Load, or share the cost with other clients who live in the same area. This is described as Less Than a Truck Load.
Sometimes two or more modes of transport are used. For example, goods can be transported by land from the manufacturer to the transporter, then by ship or plane to the port before distribution by truck. This is referred to as intermodal freight transport. When they get to the port, they can be transported by trucks or trains to their final destination.
Additionally, SMEs can consider hiring freight forwarders to manage their shipping. A freight forwarder is a person or company that organizes transportation for businesses or corporations from producers to markets.
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