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3 Ways to Send Cargo by Sea

What's in this article?
  1. Container Shipping
  2. Container Shipments Fcl (Full Container Load) And Lcl (Less Than Container Load)
  3. Ro-Ro Shipping
  4. Rotational Shipping
  5. Potential Drawbacks Of Shipping By Sea
  6. Final Thoughts
3 Ways to Send Cargo by Sea

The shipping industry is one of the most fragmented markets in the world. You can find thousands of shipping companies, each with a specific focus on one type of cargo, destination, or vessel size.

Moreover, there are plenty of hidden complexities when it comes to shipping by sea. So if you're sending cargo by sea for the first time, you may feel a little confused about which type of shipping solution is right for you.

When deciding on a mode of transportation, numerous factors exist. For example, do you want your shipment to be fully insured? How quickly do you need your goods to arrive at their destination?

All these questions will help determine which ship operator is the best option for your circumstances and budget. Read on to discover more about three different ways to send cargo by sea.

Container Shipping

The most prevalent method of freight transportation by sea is container shipping. It's also the most reliable and cost-effective way to ship a large volume of goods internationally.

Today, container shipping is widespread, with most global seaborne trade being transported this way.

A container is an enclosed cargo transport unit that has become the industry standard for moving goods between countries.

Containers have revolutionized the shipping industry in many ways—not least of which is the ease of loading and unloading them from ships.

Containers are special metal boxes designed to be transported on large ocean vessels. When you use container shipping to send cargo by sea, your goods are loaded into your warehouse or factory containers.

The containers are stacked together on a ship and delivered to the nearest port. There, they're unloaded and transported to your destination. This is an excellent option for high-volume businesses that need to regularly move a lot of goods from one country to another.

Containers come in standard sizes that allow you to use one shipper to move your goods from beginning to end. It often includes a door-to-door service where the shipping company will take care of all your goods and transportation needs.

Container shipments are fully traceable and come with a guarantee of arrival. This makes container shipping an excellent choice for companies that must meet strict delivery deadlines.

Container shipping is also an excellent international shipping option for businesses that want to ensure their goods are fully insured.


Container shipments: FCL (Full Container Load) and LCL (Less than Container Load)

If you want container shipment service, you might consider two main types of this shipping methods: FCL and LCL.

An FCL shipment is when the shipper secures the entire container (or a series of containers) to ship their cargo.

In contrast, an LCL shipment is when the shipper decides to split their shipment across multiple containers.

The key difference between these two shipping modes is the price. When you book an FCL shipment, the cost is largely determined by the maximum weight and volume of containers you want to deliver.

On the contrary, you'll be charged per container when booking an LCL shipment. This means shipping a container via an FCL shipment is usually more expensive than an LCL shipment.

Besides, full container shipping enables you to pack your goods into a pre-existing container for faster delivery. You also have greater control over handling.

Moreover, full container shipping is fully customizable. You can choose the number of containers you need, and the type of cargo they should be used for. You can also choose the location where they'll be picked up and dropped off.

Ro-Ro Shipping

Ro-Ro shipping is also known as roll-on, roll-off shipping. This type of shipping is ideal for transporting items too large to fit into a standard-sized shipping container.

Ro-Ro shipping is a type of deep-sea transportation where cargo is loaded onto a large, specialized vessel. This vessel has ramps or a bow door that can be opened to let your cargo items drive on and off the ship.

Furthermore, Ro-Ro is a method of ship-to-shore transportation that's used to move:

  • Heavy machinery
  • Automobiles
  • Trucks
  • Trailers
  • Construction machinery
  • Other types of large and heavy goods that wouldn't be suitable for container shipping

For example, if you are transporting a large manufacturing machine and need to get it from China to France, Ro-Ro shipping might be your best option.

Ro-Ro shipping is also ideal if you need to change your shipping schedule or route quickly.

Roll-on, roll-off shipping has the most economical cost of shipping when you need to move bulky or heavy cargo. It is also a great choice if you need to ship many cargoes at once.

With Ro-Ro, you can ship a single truckload or an entire fleet of vehicles in one go.


Rotational Shipping

Rotational shipping is a less common form of shipping by sea. This type of cargo ship is ideal for a wide range of cargo types and volumes, including break-bulk cargo.

Rotational shipping is another form of dry freight shipping. Unlike full container shipping, rotational shipping requires you to load your cargo into smaller shipping containers.

Inside a bigger container, these containers are piled on top of one another. This type of ship is most commonly used to transport bulk cargo, such as minerals, grains, and food products.

This is a great option if you need to send a small number of containers to one or two destination ports, as it's usually more cost-effective than full container shipping when the volume of goods to be shipped is low.

Additionally, it's often the best option for smaller businesses that need to send regular shipments to a similar delivery destination.

Rotational shipping service will hire a vessel to pick up your cargo and drop off some containers at different destinations.

The shipping company will arrange for the containers to be picked up from the ports and will be delivered to their intended recipients.

The main disadvantage of rotational shipping is that its delivery times are usually slower than full container shipping.

Potential Drawbacks of Shipping by Sea

As we’ve mentioned above, shipping by sea is the cheapest option, but this also means that it’s the most time-consuming.

Most ocean freight services don’t come with a track and trace feature, so you won't know when your items will be delivered.

International shipping by sea is also not immune to customs problems and issues such as bad weather, piracy, and even strikes.

When shipping by sea, your items will be delivered eventually. But they'll likely take a very long time to arrive at the assigned destination. Shipping by sea isn’t the right choice for everyone, specifically when shipping smaller items, such as clothing, food, and electronics.

For example, electronic items like smartphones, computers, and appliances often need to be delivered quickly.

In these cases, we recommend choosing a shipping method that offers a track and trace feature and uses airplanes to deliver items as quickly as possible.

Another potential drawback is that your goods may be lost at sea. Although shipping companies work hard to prevent losses, they do happen occasionally.

The good news is that some shipping companies have insurance packages to protect companies against potential risks.

They may also take other steps to minimize loss, like using the right equipment, hiring experienced personnel, and considering the weather.

This is why it’s important to find a shipping company that has an excellent reputation and a history of reliability.


Final Thoughts

Sea shipping is the most common and cost-effective way to ship cargo between two countries. Moreover, it's the only way to send large and heavy items that must be transported abroad.

This article lists three popular types of shipping when sending cargo by sea: container shipping, ro-ro shipping, and rotational shipping. Each of these options has its benefits, and you can select the one that best suits your requirements.

If you're still confused and unsure about whether sea shipping is the right option for your cargo then reach out to reputable shipping companies like A1 Auto Transport.

We are a team with 33 years of experience in the transport industry. What's more, we have the most experienced experts in the field to assist you with any international shipping information you need.

You can either call us or request a free quote and we'll organize a private consultation with you.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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