Business & Financer

How Much Should You Pay to Ship Overseas?


Shipping overseas is usually considered expensive, but if you get the right overseas container service, it doesn’t have to be. Many shipping companies, freight brokers, and freight forwarders can help you arrange the most affordable container shipping overseas.

If you choose a shipping line, these companies take care of container vessels that are sent anywhere around the world. There are companies available in most major cities.

A freight forwarder is a little different. These are middle men who purchase space on a shipping line and then sell that space to people like you. They take care of all the paperwork so you don’t get bogged down in details. Freight forwarders might be a little more expensive, but many firms believe it’s worth the fee to avoid the hassles. However, keep in mind that with container shipping, it’s nearly impossible to know when your shipment will be delivered.

Timing is everything

Shipping containers overseas is a time-consuming process, and you can’t guarantee when the order will arrive. However, it’s a little simpler to figure out the transit time between two ports, assuming there are no stops along the way. Tools like Netpas, which is free and web-based, can tell you the exact time between two ports of call. However, Netpas and similar software programs can’t calculate obstacles, the time spent loading and unloading items on land, or anything else that might affect travel time.

Shipping vessels often stop at numerous ports along the way. All these in-between ports can cause delays, especially if the vessel has to go off course in order to dock. It’s also impossible to know how long the ship will be docked, since massive unloadings may be required. In the peak season, vessels might be delayed for weeks, especially when shipping lines are running short on space.

Calculating cost

Always calculate land transit time when you try to figure out how long it will take. Flexibility and patience are key. After all, you’re already saving a lot of money by choosing container shipping over air travel. Exactly how much shipping will cost requires looking at numerous factors like how popular the route is, the kind of transportation involved, and the distance. You’ll pay more for door-to-door service, and different companies apply different surcharges.

You may also see trucking charges and handling fees; and peak seasons might be more costly. However, it should be easy to get a direct quote. But remember, you’ll likely be quoted a lump sum without the line items spelled out. Make sure you ask about surcharges and get a full breakdown for a true comparison of prices between shipping companies.

Choosing a shipping company

There’s not one “best” shipping company because it depends on where you’re located, what you want to ship and how often, and how quickly you need it to get there. Different business owners will boast about different shipping companies, so doing your own research is smart.

You deserve a company that’s reputable, has a great track record, and has responsive customer service that’s easy to connect with. Otherwise, you’ll be in trouble if something goes awry.

Choosing the right shipping company is no different from hiring technical support or finding the right commercial space. Look around, ask for recommendations, and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions of your point of contact. They should be happy to have your business and do everything possible to make you comfortable. If you’re not fully satisfied, there’s a reputable shipping company that will be delighted to have you as a client.