How Cargo Travels Across Continents

International Shipping: How Cargo Travels Across Continents

Moving cargo across continents is a complex process. This involves:

  • Multiple modes of transportation
  • International regulations
  • Logistics

This blog by Lading Logistics will help you understand how intercontinental cargo moves.

Understanding the Basics of Intercontinental Cargo Movement

Intercontinental cargo movement involves customs processing, packing into Unit Load Devices (ULDs), and transportation via aircraft. Ships handle cargo using lifting equipment like wire ropes, slings, hooks, forklifts, and cranes.

Freight forwarders arrange and manage shipments, while customs brokers handle clearance and paperwork.

Defining the Concept of Intercontinental Cargo

Intercontinental cargo movement involves customs processing, packing into Unit Load Devices (ULDs), and transportation via aircraft. Ships handle cargo using lifting equipment like wire ropes, slings, hooks, forklifts, and cranes. This plays a significant role in facilitating global trade and economic activity. Careful planning, logistics management, and coordination between various parties are essential for efficient transportation and timely delivery.

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Different Modes of Moving Intercontinental Cargo

Several means of transport are needed to move freight across continents. While air freight delivers speed and efficiency, ocean freight is more cost-effective when transporting large quantities of products.

When deciding how to carry anything, factors like time, money, and the character of the load all come into play. The function of freight forwarders in selecting the most appropriate method of transport depends on the unique characteristics of each shipment. The route taken and the paperwork filed correctly are essential for smooth shipping.

Shipping goods internationally through courier, fast air freight, or normal air freight is another option besides shipping over the ocean. All of these methods are substantially quicker than shipping through water since they utilize air travel. The average turnaround time is around two weeks. However, the cost is far more than ocean shipping, and the cargo capacity is much lower.

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The Importance of Freight Forwarders in the Intercontinental Cargo Movement

The services of freight forwarders, which sometimes include customs brokerage, are essential in the management and coordination of international shipments of goods. Their knowledge of international trade legislation, supply chain management, and logistics allows them to handle paperwork, customs clearance, and transportation arrangements. They also bargain for lower shipping costs, insure shipments, and make sure they get where they need to go on time. Businesses may save time and effort clearing marine freight through customs by using the services of a freight forwarder.

Selecting the Right Freight Forwarder for Your Business Needs

Consider your unique requirements while searching for a freight forwarder. Find a freight forwarder that has experience with international shipping, including courier service. Learn about your available choices and evaluate their relative merits. Verify that the freight forwarder you choose specializes in transporting your desired goods and provides value-added services, such as customs clearance.

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What Happens When Your Shipment Arrives in Your Country?

Once it reaches your country, customs will clear your package. The freight forwarder is responsible for completing the customs declaration and all related paperwork. Door-to-door delivery services are available from the point of cargo arrival to the final destination port. Freight forwarders know how crucial it is to keep their customers informed; therefore, they may send you emails with shipping updates. The success of any procedure depends on thorough preparation and clear communication.

The Role of Third-Party Logistics Companies (3PL) in Intercontinental Cargo Movement

Third-party logistics providers (3PL) play an important role in the management of the supply chain for international shipments. These firms provide full-service freight forwarding, from pickup to storage. Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) can meet the unique requirements of companies thanks to their extensive experience with air and ocean freight. Working with a reputable 3PL (third-party logistics) provider may improve efficiency and cut down on expenses.

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Factors Influencing Air Freight Costs

Air freight rates are based mostly on the weight and size of the goods being sent. The distance between the starting point and the final location also affects rates. The cost of fuel and the level of market demand also have an impact on air freight rates. There may be additional costs for special requests, like temperature-controlled shipping. The price of air shipping may change based on how urgent your package is.

Understanding the various components of ocean freight costs

The price of shipping goods over the ocean has several factors. To name a few: bunker adjustment factor, currency adjustment factor, and freight prices. Additional shipping costs come from terminal handling fees and port fees. Additional fees for paperwork and customs clearance, transit delays, and route alternatives may all play a role in the final price of maritime freight. Accurate cost assessment in international shipping requires an understanding of these numerous components, such as the cost per weight of products in kilograms (kg).

Also Read, Understanding the Different Types of Cargo


What are the main methods of international shipping?

The main methods of international shipping include land, air, and sea.

How does intermodal shipping work?

Intermodal shipping involves the movement of freight through multiple modes of transportation.

What are the busiest shipping routes in the world?

The busiest shipping routes globally include Asia-US, Asia-Europe, Europe-UK, North America-Canada, and intra-Asia. The Panama Canal is the busiest vessel trade route between Asia and the U.S., while other major routes include Asia-Europe, Europe-UK, North America-Canada, and Intra-Asia.

Can people travel on cargo ships?

Cargo ships allow people to travel as passengers, but they may not provide the usual comforts as they are still considered cargo ships and not considered customers.

What factors should businesses consider when choosing a shipping method?

When selecting a shipping carrier, businesses should consider six factors: price and quality, delivery times, reliability, safety, asset vs. non-asset-based carriers, and sustainability. These factors help ensure a smooth and efficient shipping process.