Ocean Freight

What is
Ocean Freight

Ocean Freight” is an essential component of global trade, facilitating the movement of large quantities of goods across the world's seas and oceans. This method of transport plays a pivotal role in connecting markets, supporting economies, and enabling businesses to reach international customers.  

Understanding Ocean Freight

Ocean freight, also known as sea freight, is the process of transporting goods in large containers by sea. This mode of transport is preferred for its cost-effectiveness, especially for heavy or bulky items that are not time sensitive. The goods are packed into containers, which come in various sizes, the most common being 20-foot and 40-foot containers. These containers are then loaded onto cargo ships designed to carry thousands of them at once, traversing set sea routes to deliver goods globally.

The Process of Ocean Freight

The ocean freight process involves several key steps:

  • Export Haulage: The movement of goods from the shipper's premises to the port of origin.
  • Export Customs Clearance: The goods must be cleared for export, involving the preparation of documents and payment of taxes.
  • Origin Handling: Activities include unloading, inspecting, and validating the cargo against booking documents.
  • Ocean Transit: The cargo is loaded onto a vessel and shipped to the destination port.
  • Import Customs Clearance: The cargo must be cleared for entry into the destination country.
  • Destination Handling: Involves the transfer of containers from the ship to the dock, checking, and preparation for collection.
  • Import Haulage: The final delivery of the cargo to the receiver's location.

Types of Ocean Freight Services

Ocean freight offers various service types to meet different shipping needs:

  • Full Container Load (FCL): FCL containers are those which shipper’s takes up the entire container for their goods. Ideal for large shipments, offering better protection and cost efficiency.
  • Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL are suitable for smaller shipments where goods from multiple shippers are consolidated into one container.
  • Bulk Cargo: For goods that are not containerized, like oil, grain, or coal, specialized vessels are used.

Advantages of Ocean Freight

  • Cost-Effective: Particularly for large or heavy shipments, as costs are not significantly affected by weight or size.
  • Eco-Friendly: Ships produce a lower amount of greenhouse gases per tonne of cargo compared to air or road transport.
  • Capacity: Capable of transporting large volumes of goods, making it suitable for a wide range of products.

Key Considerations

  • Time: Ocean freight is slower than air freight, making it unsuitable for urgent shipments.
  • Complexity: Involves numerous documentation and regulations, requiring expertise in freight forwarding to navigate successfully.
  • Reliability: Shipping schedules and transit times can be affected by weather conditions, port congestion, and other factors.

Choosing the Right Ocean Freight Partner

Selecting a freight forwarder that aligns with your business needs is crucial. Look for a partner with:

  • Extensive Network: To ensure your cargo can be delivered to your desired destination.
  • Experience: Knowledge in handling the type of goods you are shipping.
  • Reliability: A track record of timely and safe delivery of goods.


Ocean freight is a cornerstone of international trade, offering a flexible, cost-effective, and eco-friendly solution for transporting goods across the globe. While it comes with its set of challenges, such as longer transit times and complex documentation, the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks for many businesses. By understanding the intricacies of ocean freight and choosing the right partners, companies can effectively navigate the complexities of global trade.

Contact Shipthis today to streamline your freight forwarding needs and discover how we can help you optimize your ocean freight operations, ensuring your goods are transported safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively across the globe.

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