Shipping in General

Shipping refers to the transportation of cargo by various means, and especially by ship on large water bodies such as the ocean. Shipping can also be done when transportation is done on land or air. Therefore, shipping is taken to be a generic term for transportation of large volumes of goods. Due to the expensive nature of building production facilities with close proximity to ports and limited availability of land, goods have to be transported for long distances from the point of origin to the destination, on land via air or sea, and back to land.

Shipping via land or sea costs less than transportation via the air. Cheapest of all, though, is sea transport. This is because there’s no infrastructure required to ship via the oceans. On land, for trucks, you need roads, truck stops, mechanics, toll booths, etc. Or for trains, you need train tracks and the entire rail system. And for air travel you need airports and all the infrastructure that comes with flying.

Much shipping is done on ships, because although this method is slow, it is the least expensive. Ships can be very large, so they can carry even the largest sizes of goods. There are some types of cargo that are not suitable for ships, though. Anything perishable may not be able to last the length of the long trip. Foodstuffs are probably not suitable, because cargo can take such a long time to reach its destination.

The fastest, but most expensive mode of transport, is air shipping. Air shipping also limits the size of shipments. This form of transport is typically only used for commodities that are urgent, but light.

Land transport is the most common means of shipping when it comes to inland transport. If the road infrastructure is elaborate, shipping by land can be as effective as sea shipping, although at a lesser degree.

When you want to ship cargo, it may be a good idea to learn some of the technical terms used in the industry so you’ll be up to speed. Some of the terms are common and can be understood by anybody around the world. You can also find some terms that are localized. Some terms spell out the responsibility of the exporter and the importer. For example, the term Free on Board should not bring confusion that the shipping is done freely. It simply means that the exporter is supposed to deliver cargo at the location that was specified. The cargo should also be delivered on board the shipping vessel.

As the cargo remains in the vessel, the exporter is charged with paying for the load, its security from theft or damage by the elements. Condensation is especially a major cause for worry among shipping agents. Vibration of the cargo is another problem that occurs if it is not secured firmly in the holding, causing it to move back and forth.