You wouldn’t put on flip-flops to climb a mountain or go running with size-12 sneakers on your size-10 feet. Ocean containers are a bit like shoes: you need the right kind, and the right size, for your specific purpose.
As of June 2019, the spot rate for shipping ocean cargo from Europe to North America was $2,044 per 40-foot equivalent unit (FEU). That’s 42 percent higher than the rate one year ago. Even on less expensive lanes, you certainly don’t want to pay more for shipping than you need to.
So how can you keep ocean freight costs as low as possible?
If you’re moving to Eastern Europe from the US, get ready for an education. Shipping household goods overseas is much more complicated than sending them, say, from Boston to Arizona in a moving van. You’ll need to get up to speed on what you can and can’t ship in an ocean container, assemble the necessary paperwork and prepare to clear Customs while avoiding costly duties and delays.
If you’ve done business mainly within the U.S., but now you’re starting to import or export, get ready to be thrown some curveballs. International freight forwarding is a whole different game.
Moving containers to or from Europe? You’ll face rules and situations that don’t come up when you ship from state to state. It’s important to work with service providers that understand all the subtleties.
As a rule, the less you handle cargo, the better. But when you move heavy cargo internationally, sometimes it pays to transload. The extra handling adds a bit of risk, but if the numbers work out and your service partners do the job right, transloading can sometimes save you money.
When you need to get a container to the port or rail terminal, or from port or rail terminal to its final destination, you have some choices to make. One of them is how to source that over-the-road move. Should you work with the steamship line that provides the international transportation? Or should you work with a trucking broker?
Before you decide, here are some important factors to consider.
If the thought of moving your household overseas makes you nervous, who can blame you? Think of it: you pack your worldly goods—furniture, dishes, family heirlooms—into a shipping container, seal it up and send it off for weeks. Then what? Cross your fingers?
Luckily, there’s much more you can do to reduce the risk of damage, delay or extra cost.
It takes special expertise to ship heavyweight or oversized cargo. And when that cargo is crucial to a project—when it absolutely must be in the right place at the right time—that takes even more know-how and attention to detail.
Here’s a quick guide to project cargo services, with advice about how to avoid mistakes that can sabotage a project and cost you big money.
The more cargo you fit in a shipping container, the less you spend per unit on transportation. Not only does this strategy cut your expenses, but it might gain you a competitive advantage. Here’s how one heavy goods importer gained market share and boosted its bottom line by increasing container payload.
There’s no getting around it: cargo that doesn’t fit in a container costs more to ship than cargo that does. Transporting out of gauge cargo globally is also a more complicated process than shipping a steel box.
But if you do things right, you can control the cost of shipping oversized cargo, and also avoid some significant headaches.