You may think it's pretty simple to arrange container overseas shipping if you are familiar with shipping industry.
Well, then this page is probably not for you. Otherwise, I believe you will find some useful information to complete such task.
Many experts consider container shipping
one of the key transport revolutions of the 20th century
I usually check and try to answer questions in respect of container shipping field on Yahoo Q&A as well as on shipping forums.
There are guys asking how to ship a cargo container (full or part of it) from one place to another (e.g. from Pireaus, Greece to Gothenburg, Sweden), and related matters such as who they should contact, how much they have to pay, how long shipping takes, etc.
We will discuss these matters about container overseas shipping below.
Containers on the way to destination ports
To arrange container overseas shipping, you should contact container shipping companies. They are shipping lines, freight forwarders, NVOCCs, freight broker, etc.
Shipping lines are the companies operating container vessels and provide shipping services to customers like you. You can contact shipping lines or their local offices and tell them your need.
If you don’t know a shipping lines, ask somebody for a credible one in your region, or simply click Container shipping lines. Visit companies' website and find out if they have local office in your nearby area.
Freight forwarders are intermediate parties who buy space from shipping lines and sell that service to the customers.
With numerous number and flexible networks, freight forwarders can help you ship your cargo from/to almost anywhere around the world. You can see some useful advices about choosing freight forwarder.
Shipping process takes time and it’s pretty hard to calculate an exact time duration to ship a container between certain two places, without knowing further information.
It’s easier to estimate transit time from one port to another, without intermediate port calls. There’s a tool to help you check it. It’s Netpas, a free web-based software for estimating seaborne transit time for ships. Just download the program, register a free account, setup, and there you go. Yet, you should remember that the program only estimates port-to-port time, not including other arising time lying at ports, land haulage).
In fact, it’s rather complicated to estimate full time lapses, because container ships usually call a series of ports on their services. So transit time should include time consuming at middle ports and arising navigation time for changing direction to those ports.
Besides, one (or more) port may be a transit port(s), where containers have to unload to shore, and then re-loaded to another vessel. Time occurs there too, not least in some bad case, due to certain mistake, and containers just sit at transit port and wait for connecting vessel for long time, say a few days or even weeks. This situation usually happens in peak season, or when market is so hot and shipping lines are in shortage of capacity.
You can search on internet, of course, for relating information. I usually use keywords comprises port names and some phrases like “liner services”, routes, transit time… With due patience and luck, you’ll find a schedule of shipping lines which have service between two expected ports. See details on schedule and you’ll find transit time.
Of course, if you know which shipping lines probably providing expected services, just enter their website. For list of leading shipping lines, click here.
Another factor should be added is land transit time on truck or train or both. This again depends on distance and availability of transport modes at site. Longer distances take longer time; lack of trucks (or train cars) causes waiting time.
This is a big and often the most important question to consider for traders. Unfortunately, it depends much on several main factors as following:
For a rate quotation of CY-CY, it’s easy to check directly with shipping lines providing services in the desired range (See how to get).
For a Door-Door service, you’d better check quotation from credible freight forwarders. The shipping costs usually include below main items:
Usually, the freight forwarders will provide a lump-sump or all-in price. This is a trick as they can hide the handling fee into the total amount, and you don’t know how much they really charge for their service, besides items (like ocean freight) which they just collect from you and pay to other party. To avoid this, just ask them to breakdown the cost as much detail as possible. You, then, can check and compare each item from different suppliers (for example, you can check trucking prices yourself).
Potential shippers can check container overseas shipping costs online through our site affiliates.