Sea freight services have changed quite dramatically over recent decades following the introduction of ISO maritime containers in the late 1960’s. The utilisation of containers to carry cargo subsequently encouraged the establishment and growth of LCL (Less than Container Load) consolidation services and FCL (Full Container Load) services.
Today, modern large container vessels operate according to regular schedules, many delivering and collecting from a considerable number of ports en route. This system means that shipping lines can offer regular departures, accurate transit times and predictable costs for both part load and full load container shipments.
Shipment by ocean freight is generally considered to be the most efficient and least expensive way of moving larger quantities of goods over long distances and, for certain cargoes and inter-Continental routes, it is the only practical solution. On the other hand, movement by sea is quite slow, so it isn’t perhaps appropriate for more urgent, or time- sensitive consignments.
Westhaven offers a comprehensive range of services for the shipment of goods by sea and can put together a complete package which includes collection ex-works, documentation, terminal handling, ocean freight, insurance, Customs clearance, handling and final delivery to destination. These services are available for both part load (LCL) and full load (FCL) quantities and for both export and import shipments. We can, where required, arrange for our overseas agents to deal with your suppliers or customers to assist with local transport, documentation and Customs formalities and we can give you an informed estimate of the time it will take for goods to be imported or exported.
The UK continues to import far more than it exports – in terms of physical goods – and few exporters and importers are aware that this imbalance seriously affects the freight prices charged by shipping lines. Where exports from the UK are concerned, the large excess of supply of freight services, compared to demand for them, means that it has very much been a buyer’s market for many years. In some cases, the cost of shipping to distant markets in Asia is lower than the cost of delivering the same goods within Europe! Recently, to the dismay of shipping lines and, following the substantial downturn in Asian exports to Europe, freight rates for imports into the UK and Europe have also slumped.
Westhaven constantly monitors shipping line service performance and ocean freight rates in order to pass on the benefits of rapid transport times and low prices to its clients.