23 March, 2022News Categories. News
Container shipping has completely transformed the freight forwarding industry. They allow for the mass transportation of goods by sea, rail and road freight in a way that is far easier than it previously was. The use of containers has led to an improvement in efficiency and economies of scale.
If you are considering a freight forwarder solution, the experts at KG Logistics have created a definitive guide to understanding everything you need to know about container shipping for international freight forwarding.
Shipping Container Sizes
Shipping containers can come in a range of sizes, but the most common in freight forwarding are 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft. The standard width and height are 8ft and 8ft 6″ respectively, but high cube containers with more space will be 8ft 6″ in height.
The types of shipping containers
There are six types of shipping containers that are suitable for transporting a range of goods:
- Dry storage containers – the standard container that ships dry materials.
- Flat rack containers with collapsible sides, ideal for boats, equipment and cars.
- Open side containers, in which the doors to the containers can be opened completely on the side, enabling wider loading of materials.
- Open top containers with no roof, permitting goods of any height.
- Refrigerated containers for the transportation of food or pharmaceuticals.
- Tanks that are designed for liquids, such as fuels.
The packaging used to transport the goods in and out of the container consists of pallets, which are wooden or plastic supports for the load.
Freight forwarding with containers
There are two types of container packing: full container load (FCL), and less-than-container load (LCL). It is essential to successfully determine which option is the most suitable for you.
Full Container Load (FCL)
This form of packing involves paying for an entire container and dedicating all the space inside to your shipment of goods. FCL offers flexibility and a high frequency of sailings, but you must be able to pay for and accommodate the full container. This option is suitable if you are transporting a large number of goods and has less risk of damage as the container will contain just your goods.
Less-than-Container Load (LCL)
This is more appropriate for those looking to import a small number of goods that will not require a full container’s worth of stock. In less-than-container load shipping, the freight forwarder will combine your supplier’s goods with others doing the same thing, in order to make a full shipment.
How much does container shipping cost?
The cost of container shipping will depend on context-specific factors, such as where you are shipping from and to, the pricing rates of your chosen freight forwarder, and the type of cargo you are transporting.
The method of transit will also influence the cost. You can choose to ship containers by sea, road or rail freight. However, you must consider the transportation times when making this decision. Sea freight is the most cost-effective choice but will take longer than road or rail. Road freight is ideal if you need the goods shipped quickly, as door-to-door delivery is available. Rail freight is a good compromise for both speed and cost and is the most eco-friendly option.
Finally, your decision to ship FCL or LCL will impact the overall cost. In LCL, the unit cost per kg is more than that of a full container load, but the total delivery cost will be less.