So you need to assess your needs and do some research in order to find out which of the modes of transport available is the best match for your business. Should you opt for air transport, road transport, rail transport or sea? Here is some information about sea transport and why it might prove to provide the best solutions for your business and your international trading activities.
Advantages of sea transport
Sea transport is probably your best choice if your agenda includes large shipments but no specific delivery times. If you are worried about the costs, you need not be for you can contact a freight forwarder to consolidate your goods, thus allowing you to save money rather than waste it. It should also be mentioned that you can use the same shipping containers to transport your goods to the end destination, whether you choose to do so via rail or road.
Disadvantages of sea transport
This need for additional transportation leads us straight into the drawbacks of this shipping option. Your research will also reveal a number of them which might have you wondering whether this is indeed the best choice for your business. For instance, you may be unsatisfied with the delivery times, which may be longer as compared to those associated with the other modes of transport and can extend depending on the weather as well. Sea transport is also less flexible than its counterparts both in terms of schedules and routes. The tracking possibilities are also limited. As for the costs this solution involves, you have to consider the port duties and fees, as well as the freight rates and the currency and fuel surcharges that influence them directly.
Cargo insurance and required documentation
Goods shipped by sea are also covered by limited insurance as imposed by the Hague-Visby and Hamburg regulations. However, you should consider general cargo insurance just to be on the safe side should any unfortunate events occur.
When it comes to the documents your cargo should be accompanied by if you opt for sea shipping, a bill of lading or a sea waybill is compulsory to confirm that you are the owner and confirm the stipulations of the carriage agreement as well. Your cargo should also be accompanied by a bill of lading if exported to a new customer. This document will confirm your ownership of the cargo up to the time of the release and therefore your control, thus safeguarding your payment. In other words, it protects you in the event that your customer proves not to be trustworthy. Although more cost effective, sea waybills, on the other hand, provide less security than bills of lading. Therefore, you should only turn to their use after your new customer has proved their trustworthiness. Of course, you must also provide a number of specific documents if you are transporting dangerous goods. These documents include a dangerous goods declaration, which in its turn includes a dangerous goods note, and are to accompany the standard sea transport documentation issued for your shipment.