Deciding on the best method of transportation for your product can be a daunting task. Everyone in your company may be relying on you to arrange for shipping of the companies goods so they will have a product in stock and ready to sell.
Importing and exporting products requires a well-thought-out transportation strategy. Although ocean freight is much less expensive than air freight in the short-term, in the long run, shipping your products by sea may end up being more costly if you do not get important deliveries in time.
If you are primarily concerned with price and the impact on the environment, ocean freight may be the best choice for you. However, if time and reliability are essential to you, air freight is probably your best option.
Transportation of goods is one of the biggest expenses any company will face. There are a number of elements to take into consideration when deciding the most cost-effective way to ship your product.
What is the Real Price of a Shipment?
Obviously, the money you pay for any service is very important in business. When it comes to transporting products, you should know that air freight companies charge differently than ocean freight carriers do. Air freight companies bill you by chargeable weight. Chargeable weight is either the gross weight or the volumetric weight of the shipment, whichever is greater.
Ocean freight carriers charge by the container. Shipping containers are generally 20 feet or 40 feet. If you have less than an entire container, they will charge you by the number of cubic feet that your product takes up rather than by the weight. If you have a heavy shipment that will not take up much space, you will save a lot of money if you ship by sea because you can always share the container. If your shipment is small and lightweight, air freight might actually be cheaper.
You may also want to consider where you are sending or receiving your product. If your company or the company you are shipping to is located in a city that is near the docks, you may just need a single truck run to have your products delivered to their final destination.
If you are shipping to a landlocked state, the logistics can be much more complex and your trucking costs might be much higher. You may have to use several different modes of transportation to get your product to its destination. This can prove to be very expensive.
Many logistic companies will cover multiple forms of transportation in a single contract. Companies that offer combined transportation will be liable for ocean shipments as well as any truck or train trips that are necessary.
Some ports have very high customs fees. Fees also are affected by environmental restrictions on the kind of products that you are shipping. If you have to store your shipment at the docks for any length of time, it might be very expensive. Storing products at an airport tends to be less costly than storing them at the docks.
If your company is in the public eye, having environmentally sound policies can be great for public relations. Ocean freight shipping is much better for the environment than air shipping. If you have products coming into the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach, or San Francisco, you should know that recent modifications to regulations are supposed to reduce the amount of pollution produced by docked ships by 90%.
Taking the environment into consideration can actually affect your bottom line. There are tax incentives for companies that have environmental programs. Many consumers will want to patronize a company that has green practices.
There are some cases in which airlines have strict regulations when it comes to shipping hazardous materials. Items that are flammable, contain magnetic substances, or products that pose a public health risk cannot be transported by air.
If you find yourself needing products shipped to you immediately, you will have to use air cargo. If you have a small warehouse, you may find yourself ordering products as you have room for them. It is very important to determine how much inventory you will need and when you will need to have it.
If you have a large warehouse and you plan your shipments well in advance, getting products in a hurry will not be as important. Marketing companies can help you determine how much of a product you will need to have in your inventory to avoid needing emergency shipments.
Speed and Convenience
A plane is simply faster than a boat. If you are in a situation where not having the product will cause you to lose money, it may be more cost-effective to use air freight.
Although ships are faster than they used to be they’re not nearly as fast as an airplane. Any ship will take over a week to get across the ocean. Air freight is also much more reliable than shipping. When an airplane is delayed, it will normally leave that same day except in the cases of a weather emergency. Even then, a flight normally won’t be delayed more than a day or two.
Ocean freights are often delayed for several days. Depending on such things as rough weather and restrictions imposed by the Coast Guard or other regulatory entities, it may take much longer than originally planned to arrive at the appointed port.
It is not uncommon for ocean freights to be delayed by as much as a week or two. Ships are scheduled on a weekly basis. If they are overloaded or delayed, your shipment may be pushed back to the following weeks’ departures.
Your customers and clients are relying on you to keep a well-stocked warehouse. Making sure people can get your products when they want them should be your top priority. Click here if you need more details.