Sea Freight – Pros And Cons

by Business Development 05 May 2023

Among the different transportation types available in the modern world, sea freight is considered a “classic” one, used by businesses for centuries. As other types have been developing over the years, sea freight acquired many competitors ‒ primarily, air transportation as an international shipping means.

Still, many companies remain loyal to sea freight:, and there is sound reasoning for that.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Sea Freight

Let’s start by reviewing the basic benefits of using sea freight as the main cargo transportation method:

  1. Higher capacity. The greatest approach to guarantee that a large shipment of products arrives where it needs to is to send them by sea. This is due to the fact that alternative shipping methods can work only with lighter items ‒ bulkier shipments can’t be accommodated by them.
  2. It’s cheaper. Compared to other possibilities, ocean or sea freight is significantly less expensive. This makes shipping goods by ocean more sensible.
  3. Fewer shipment restrictions. It can be difficult to ship by air freight. For instance, combustible items like fragrances or biological medications cannot be sent ‒ it’s restricted in several ways. These are associated with the items being transported and their weight classes, which mostly rely on their destination. Comparatively, shipping through sea freight is the simpler, less constrained option to deliver products.
  4. It’s a more sustainable way. Compared to air freight, sea freight emits fewer emissions. Additionally, new rules released by the International Maritime Organization will further cut emissions from ocean freight.

It doesn’t mean though that there are no disadvantages to this shipping method. Among them, we can underline slower speeds of transportation (resulting in statistically higher risks), lack of infrastructure in certain destinations, and a higher chance of delays due to weather conditions and other external factors.

Basic Terminology

If you’re not very familiar with sea freight, there are certain terms you should know before signing any contract.


According to the FOB, or free on board, agreement, the freight forwarder and you are both accountable for the delivery procedure. Forwarders have a responsibility to guarantee that their goods are packed and labeled properly. This takes place before the cargo is loaded aboard a transport vehicle. Once it gets to your place, it then belongs to you. However, this transfer only occurs once each party has performed all necessary actions in accordance with the rules outlined during contract negotiation.


Most of the obligation for an EXW or ExWorks contract rests with you. You are in charge of collecting items at their forwarder’s location and delivering them to their final location. If required, this entails communicating with carriers in your way.


Delivered Duty Paid, often known as DDP, is an excellent method to get your things delivered quickly. While you (the shipper) just have their transportation expenses paid by this program, freight forwarders assume all responsibility, which essentially ensures a straightforward sale.

These few important terms provide you with a cursory understanding of the situation, but if you’re curious, you can always learn more!

Types Of Containers And Ships

Sea freight uses different containers and vessels for them. The most common are:

  1. A common shipping choice for dry cargo is the 20ft DC. It is standardized, composed of durable metals, and water-resistant to safeguard your goods during shipment.
  2. If you need a secure means to move your pallets, choose a 40ft DC container. Nearly 20 regular European Pallets can fit within these standardized containers.
  3. 40ft HC. Since the advent of 40-foot high-cube containers, the shipping industry has seen several changes (HC). These cargo boxes were developed to replace previous types that, due to their greater size and weight restrictions, could only contain 10% more stuff. The more recent design is significantly easier. It simplifies the loading and unloading process.
  4. Flat rack. These larger shipping cubes have the capacity to transport up to 50,000 kilos of bulky cargo per voyage. However, they are more costly than a 20 ft container, so be certain of your requirements and preferences in advance.
  5. Open top. The container is ideal for transferring big freight due to its strength and design. You can move big objects like machinery thanks to the open top. Open-top containers typically store cargo that cannot fit sideways or in a standard container.

As for vessels, the most commonly used ones are container ships, barges, tankers, and general cargo ships.


Author Bio: Abdul Aziz Mondol is a professional blogger who is having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of his professional commitments, he loves to share content related to business, finance, technology, and the gaming niche.

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