Ocean freight shipping, also known as sea freight shipping, is the method of transporting goods across the ocean via containers loaded onto boats. The product being shipped is packed into a sea shipping crate, the crates are loaded onto a boat and the boat travels to the end destination. About 90% of goods are shipped by ocean freight, with the remaining 10% going to courier, air freight, express and other methods of transportation.
While plane travel is also a popular transportation option for goods that need to cross the ocean, there are often cases when sea freight shipping is the only option due to the size of the cargo. As a general rule, companies send their heaviest shipments or those consisting of multiple containers by ocean freight. This popular shipping method can transport almost any item, so long as it is stored in the right containers. Even items as large as cars can be transported with ocean freight shipping.
In this guide, we will discuss the various types of ocean shipping services, how to calculate the costs for this transportation method, the pros and cons of this solution, and whether this option is the best choice for your company.
Types of Ocean Freight Services
There are a few primary factors that set expedited shipping apart from traditional shipping options:
- Streamlined process: Traditional methods allow freight shipments to make occasional stops along their routes. This allows time for refueling and breaks, but it also puts some hitches in the shipment process. With expedited shipping, a shipment will usually go from A to B with minimal stops, cutting out this idle time and ensuring an item gets to its destination when it needs to.
- Direct routes: To account for various factors, freight companies might not take the most straightforward routes to get to a shipping destination. If a shipment is expedited, a company will likely find the most efficient route possible to speed up travel time.
- Emphasis on cargo: Ultimately, the main goal for expedited shipping is to get the cargo to where it needs to go — on time. In traditional shipments, there’s an emphasis on timing, but likely not as much as there would be for expedited shipping. Fewer stops also mean the packages will touch fewer hands, decreasing the chance of damages and making expedited shipping a more delicate option for shipments.
Expedited shipping is an option for packages large and small, and many different businesses can reap its benefits.
Who Can Use Expedited Shipping Services?
Expedited shipping is a flexible and useful method — and it can cater to a variety of businesses. The reasons businesses may utilize it differ widely.
Here are several ways businesses might explore expedited delivery options.
Expedited shipping is about more than getting deliveries to a destination fast — it means making deliveries on time. This is a powerful tool for businesses that rely on timing for success. Deliveries that arrive too early are interestingly similar to those that arrive late — they both fall out of the realm of utilizing time.
Expedited shipping narrows the margin of error so companies can use time to their advantage. Many industries rely on time to gain a profit:
- E-commerce: Time is essential for e-commerce businesses — they know their customers rely on high-speed delivery for satisfaction.
- Medical: Sometimes, shipments are a matter of life and death — the medical industry might rely on expedited shipments to deliver emergency supplies quickly and efficiently.
- Pharmaceutical: The pharmaceutical industry also needs its supplies to be delivered swiftly and handled properly — expedited shipping is a great option for those situations.
- Sports retail: If a team wins the super bowl, retailers have a narrow window to supply the huge demand for jerseys and customized merchandise for the winning team. Getting that influx of supply when it favors them ensures they make a profit.
Having lean inventory is a good strategy for a business. Companies can meet demand without overstocking supply. However, balancing that supply and demand can be challenging, and as a business, you always want to have supply at the ready. Businesses in manufacturing can use expedited shipping to restock critical supplies quickly when needed.
You can cut down on inventory costs, save time and ensure deliveries with the efficiency of expedited shipping.
When the holiday season rolls around, demand for unique items reaches a crescendo. But that demand’s longevity is short-lived, usually reserved for a few weeks leading up to the holiday.
Business owners have to walk a tightrope and meet demand without wasting money — expedited shipping allows businesses to meet the demand they need. When the Christmas season arrives, businesses can rest easy knowing they can expedite shipments if they need to.
Replacement Parts and Equipment
Manufacturers that create various replacement parts and equipment might only need inventory at certain times. Instead of supplies gathering dust in the corner, these manufacturers can expedite parts at a time that suits them. This is also popular in the automotive industry, as cars require various parts that need to be ordered separately.
Manufacturers of vehicles and heavy equipment often use expedited shipping for supply purposes.
Organizations and companies responding to disaster relief rely on time to save lives. Traditional shipping methods don’t have the kind of efficiency this type of industry is looking for, so they seek the quicker, more direct delivery option to get their supplies and jump-start the relief process.
These are just some of the industries that use expedited shipping. Because of its usefulness and advantages, it’s an appealing option for many companies.
The Benefits of Expedited Shipping
Some may think that expedited shipping is only advantageous because of time, but the premium option offers much more than that.
Here are some benefits of expedited shipping.
Meet Customer Demand
As mentioned, expedited shipping lets you meet customer demand. Whether seasonal items or Super Bowl merchandise, getting inventory when you need it to meet a narrow demand window is one of the main benefits of expedited shipping. The process also works on a base level, offering the customer upgrades to their shopping experience:
- Offer options: People are looking for various options now when they buy something. If all they see is traditional shipment methods, this may not satisfy them. Offering the premium option of expedited shipping shows the customer you care about giving them options and how you deliver their packages.
- Reduce cart abandonment: Offering that quick delivery option to a customer might be the one thing that keeps them from going to a different business. Expedited shipping could help you gain and retain customer loyalty.
- Improve customer experience: With the option for efficiency and timeliness, expedited shipping is a simple way to boost the overall customer experience.
Lower Inventory Costs
Expedited shipping options also let businesses keep a steady inventory without having an excessive supply. Today, many companies utilize just-in-time supply chains, which try to balance this supply and demand to optimize budgets.
Common sense might say that excessive inventory would be beneficial to a company — when a customer places an order, they’ll have the materials ready to go. However, sometimes demand slows, and that inventory can sit in a warehouse, collecting dust and sucking up safety costs. Maintaining a lean inventory and responding to orders when customers place them helps reduce inventory costs and meets demand when needed.
With the streamlined expedited and express shipping process, fewer hands are involved in handling packages, and they’ll have to travel in fewer vehicles. This linear delivery reduces the risk that any damage will happen to packages. Customers and businesses alike will be satisfied that their deliveries are handled with care.
Eliminate Wasted Time
Time is one of the most valuable commodities in today’s world, and expedited shipping meets that need directly. You can effectively eliminate wasted time on the roads, in inventory storage and in the entire delivery process by choosing expedited shipping. Though it may cost a bit more, it’s money you’re investing in that valuable shaved-off time.
Common Goods Expedited in Shipping
Aside from its benefits and the industries that might use it, many may wonder what expedited shipping services actually deliver. The answer is broad and covers a vast array of goods — expedited shipping has come a long way from only carrying perishable goods like produce.
Today, companies can expedite anything from pharmaceuticals to furniture.
Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies
Expedited shipping can be critical when it comes to the medical field. Emergency equipment, specimens for lab testing and pharmaceutical supplies need to arrive promptly and be handled with care. Expedited shipping caters to both these needs.
Driver’s licenses, car registrations and passports are common documents that might be expedited. It’s beneficial to speed up transit time for these items because people often use them as soon as they’re received.
Governments might opt for expedited shipping during elections. They need a trusted transit time with less room for delays to ensure they’re getting ballots to a specific location.
Seasonal and Holiday Products
The holidays create a unique challenge for businesses, as demand for products may peak for just a few weeks leading up to the holiday before it falls off completely. These companies have to figure how to meet the right demand without ending up with too much inventory. Expedited shipping allows them to order a variety of holiday products when inventory is running low to find a happy medium and reap a profit.
As mentioned earlier in the article, sometimes the need for apparel will rise sharply — a local sports team might win a championship, ushering in a whole new audience of people looking for a way to celebrate their team.
Companies might expedite shirts, jerseys and more to keep up with demand and retain their customer base.
Couches, chairs, tables and beds — these are all living essentials someone might want to be delivered quickly and safely. Whether someone is moving or a company is switching over to a new office, it’s convenient to get what they need to be delivered on time so they can focus energy on more important areas of their life.
One of the most popularly expedited items is electronics. Mostly everyone goes through their day using at least a couple of different electronics — laptops, cell phones, TVs and e-readers are just a few. The world is full of them, and the demand is only increasing. People need laptops to work, computers to run their businesses and cellphones to communicate, so it’s easy to see why these items would be expedited.
Ways to Reduce Expedited Shipping Costs
Expedited freight shipping is an excellent option for your business and offers many benefits, including reducing wasted time, preventing damage and meeting demand. However, expedited shipping can also be expensive, and it may be challenging to weigh the pros against what it will cost you.
There are a few ways you can work to reduce expedited shipping costs.
Nurture Supplier Relationships
Communicating and working out a strategy with your supplier is one of the best ways to mitigate the costs of expediting materials. You could attempt to leverage alternate suppliers in the case of a supply shortage or work directly with a supplier to collaborate and determine a mutually-beneficial plan to cut down on expedition costs.
Building that relationship and opening a clear line of communication will be very advantageous to get ahead of any supply issues.
When it comes to shipping, planning your routes is one of the important aspects of the job. You can figure out ways to save time, maximize efficiency and get your items where they need to go on time. This may be challenging, but with the right help, you can immediately unearth ways to help your business run efficiently.
Consult a Logistics Expert
Between managing supplier relationships, planning routes and a multitude of other responsibilities, you can start to feel overwhelmed trying to stay on top of all of this. Reaching out to a logistics expert can make the process go much smoother.
A logistics expert takes over the tedious workings of transportation and finds the best way to transport materials. With the help of an expert, you can spend your energy on more important tasks instead of worrying about the details.
If you’re looking for that kind of valuable help, your next step is to find a trusted service to help you with your freight transportation needs.
Request a Quote From Nationwide Transport Services
Nationwide Transport Services can offer you the help you need. More than a decade ago, we started our business to fill a growing issue, and today, our quality of service is unmatched in the industry.
We’ll handle every step of your transport, whether a vehicle or a superload, so you can spend more time focusing on the things that matter. We’ll manage your freight and keep an open line of communication the whole time so you stay updated. You can track your shipments, and we’ll confirm your freight reached the destination within the specified time frame.
We’re flexible, experienced and dedicated to providing the best solutions. Be confident in your shipping process and choose Nationwide Transport Services. We’ll help your business succeed. Request a free transport quote today!
"Expedited shipping is an option for packages large and small, and many different businesses can reap its benefits."