Maritime freight transport: When and when not?

Maritime freight transport: When and when not?

Maritime freight transport

Maritime transport is the ideal means of transport for moving goods over long distances at an economical price.

Our seas and oceans function as a great way of moving cargo. This method of transportation sees ships navigate the globe every day, traveling thousands of kilometers to reach their destination perhaps to the other side of the world.

According to data from the UNCTAD Maritime Transport Report 2018, international maritime trade increased by 4% in 2017, reflecting the economic recovery and the boom in trade of merchandise. As part of this, almost 10.7 million tons of merchandise were transported by sea. According to this agency, it is expected that in the coming years this upward trend in maritime transport will continue to be notable, although with the current instability of international trade may be more sustained.

In a previous post, we have talked about air cargo and land transport of goods and we have written about cases where it is more advisable to opt for one or another means of transport depending on the type of merchandise we need to move. Although in this article we’ve already given you some brushstrokes on maritime transport, which we would like to expand on. Therefore, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages and we will detail what merchandise is the ideal means.

What is the maritime transport of goods?

The maritime transport of goods is the transfer, export and import of all types of goods, small, medium and large, in containers, tanks or bulk, through the “highways” of the sea.

Some people might think that the plane is one of the most chosen means of transport for the transfer of merchandise internationally. However we would be wrong because around 80% of goods worldwide are transported by sea.

There are several types of boats depending on the type of cargo they can carry:

  • General cargo vessels
  • Tankers or tankers (oil, gas, chemicals and other liquid cargos)
  • Bulk carriers (solid bulk products, such as minerals, cement & grains)
  • Container ships (dry goods divided into containers)
  • Refrigerated vessels (perishable goods)
  • Rolled cargo ships Ro-Ro (facilitate loading with ramps and platforms, ideal for transporting vehicles)

We find in the ports of loading are container ships, which have a similar system of transport to the goods by land. They offer the possibility of shipping full containers (FLC or Full Container Load) or to split the cargo (maritime groupage, known as LCL or Less than Container Load) a cheaper service.

Advantages and disadvantages of the maritime transport of goods

Choosing one means of transport or another depends on the advantages that each one of us reports depending on the merchandise we wish to transfer.

In the case of maritime transport, its advantages are:

  • Wide storage capacity.The volume of the goods can be of any size and it is possible to transport a large quantity of goods.
  • International. It is possible to move goods over long distances and to practically every country in the world.
  • Flexible. The different types of ships offer different ways of moving the goods, which ensure maximum security and stability for each of them.
  • Economic. It is the cheapest way to move goods over long distances.
  • Powerful. It is possible to reach millions of ports around the world, so its scope is almost total.
  • Stable and safe. Adverse weather conditions do not affect the robust ships as much as, say an aircraft.

On the contrary the maritime transport of goods does not get rid of some disadvantages:

  • Weather. It takes much longer to move the goods, which is a very important factor to take into account in case the merchandise is needed more quickly.
  • Pollution. A single boat can contaminate almost the same as 50 million cars because of its type of combustion and fuel so it is not a means of respecting the environment.
  • Paperwork. Numerous strict and tedious procedures and paperwork.

In which cases is the use of maritime freight transport advised?

Thanks to the versatility offered by the maritime transport of merchandise, it allows us to move any type of merchandise to short, medium and long distance.

However it should not be the means of transport of choice if what we want is to transport goods urgently, nor would it be advisable in cases of transport of live animals or high value merchandise such as luxury products or works of art.

Do you want to transport your merchandise and need us to guide you? In Hyland Shipping we will be happy to help you, get in touch with us without obligation.