For heavy and bulky cargo, nothing can compare to sea freight transportation. It’s safe, efficient, and a lot cheaper than air freight. Compared to road and air freight, it’s also more environmentally friendly. If you need to organise international shipping of goods for your business, sea freight is the go-to choice.
However, there are a couple of significant challenges ocean freight shipping faces that require innovative solutions, such as hiring a freight forwarder. UK business owners should know about these unique problems, which are currently the hot topic in the sea freight industry.
The Cost of Sea Freight
Sea freight transportation has always been considered the most economical option available. Unfortunately, it’s not immune to rising costs and fees.
As ocean shipping is essential in the modern supply chain, many shipping businesses are unsure how to address this issue.
The changes in taxes, penalties, and expenses that follow technological upgrades have led to increased sea freight costs. But the costly fees of sea freight can be controlled in several ways.
The Importance of Benchmarking
When it comes to managing prices, patience is often the best approach. But what does that mean exactly? To secure a fair rate, shippers have to know about the actual market rates and resist just accepting any price.
One of the best ways to manage the ocean freight transportation process is to pause and pay attention to what the competitors and peers are paying.
A practical way to control the cost of sea freight shipping is to consolidate cargo volume and seek partnerships in the business.
The cargo consolidation typically guarantees baseload, but not every shipping company has a steady cargo volume to consolidate shipments.
That’s where the partnership with other shipping companies come in. Having a partnership with another experienced company represents the likelihood of better rates and terms of contracts.
Avoiding Hidden Fees
Negotiating sea freight rates is a part of the process. But it can also be tricky, as hidden costs can be a real problem. Usually, unexpected fees occur during the port loading or discharge.
Hence, it’s essential to read the contract’s fine print and look for detention fees or costs for potential slowness of custom clearance.
Hiring a Freight Forwarder Company
Hiring a freight forwarder is probably the ideal solution to get the best possible sea freight rates, especially with a limited cargo volume.
A professional freight forwarding agent works with many carriers and always know who offers the best prices. A reliable sea freight forwarder provides plenty of flexibility as they don’t actually use their vessels and can always reach out to another carrier.
The Capacity and Reliability of Sea Freight
The other major issue the sea freight shipping business has to deal with is security capacity for shipments. This pressure on carriers results in a decrease in the overall reliability of ocean freight transportation.
One of the most common problems is rolled cargo. This term describes a situation when a container isn’t loaded due to customs setbacks, incorrect documentation, or overbooking.
Other problems include port skipping, blank sailing, and delays. Here are a few ways to tackle these issues.
A Two-Way Commitment
The carrier and the shipper can share the same frustration, such as rolled cargo and unfulfilled capacity. The repetitiveness of this occurrence has led both parties to create binding contracts that focus on everyone getting what they want.
In practice, that means that the shippers will promise to deliver a certain amount of freight for carriers. In return, they’ll agree on rates and reduce the risk of skipping ports.
Opting for Port Bundling
Accommodating carriers regarding port possibilities allows shippers to access a broader range of shipping lines. This can open up many opportunities in terms of capacity, scheduling, and even cost.
Port bundling allows carriers more flexibility because they’re not limiting themselves to a single port of loading or port of discharge.
Entering the New Era of Sea Freight
While the cost and capacity are the two most important issues of sea freight logistics, they’re far from the only issues. The global political changes, cargo loss, environmental regulations, and labour shortages are worth mentioning too.
However, the prices and reliability of sea freight dictate whether businesses will even rely on this form of freight transport in the future.
The best way to cut costs and optimise the entire process is to hire a reliable freight forwarder.