How Does Ocean Freight Work?

Posted by Port City Logistics on May 15, 2019 2:32:03 PM

How does ocean freight workThe journey of freight contents from manufacture to marketplace is an interesting and complex process. Typically, with more than a few exceptions, what follows is a general idea of what happens to ocean freight on its journey.

Loading Ocean Freight on a Container

Finished products are loaded into a steel shipping container. These containers closely resemble the trailer element of a tractor-trailer or semi truck, but they’re constructed to handle being stacked on the deck of a ship and subjected to the harsh climate of the open sea. Depending on the contents, temperature control or other specialized measures are engaged.

Before leaving the port, an inventory and bill of lading are filed with local port authorities. International shipping may require additional customs control documents as well. These documents are vital to the accuracy of delivery. When difficulties arise, it often involves some problem with the official reporting process. Even a small oversight can delay a trip or cause other slowdowns for the shipper.

Itinerary Management

A logistics expert completes an itinerary in advance of the journey and will ensure that all conditions are stable. If changes occur in the assigned shipping vessel, a customs issue, or weather event, logistics control officials can make the necessary updates to itinerary plans. The open ocean portion of the trip us usually uneventful, however, precautions are taken for the occasional problem in international waters.

Fuel concerns for loaded barges can become an issue when rough seas require vessels to stop or move off course. On arrival at port, some ships require a pilot vessel to ensure safe passage through shipping channels and protect other vessels or boats in the area.

Unloading Ocean Freight

The unloading process is very similar to the loading process. As containers are unloaded by giant cranes, they are either temporarily stacked in the yard or loaded directly on a truck chassis and taken out of the port to a warehouse or distribution center. When delays on the ocean leg occur, logistics staff keep in close communication with all parties to make adjustments.

As freight is handled in the port, the professionals manage all the complexities of the flow of containers into and out of different loading and unloading zones.

Transfer to Truck

Before departure, the truck driver signs off on all accountability forms required from the shipper, the receiver, and the current port authority. This process again requires a meticulous review of the smallest details to ensure accuracy. Depending on the nature of the freight, contents may require inspection for quality control or security.

Final Destination

Upon reaching the final destination, contents are signed for a final time and received by the receiver for transfer to the end users. Again, more paperwork or electronic forms must be completed and double checked for accuracy. There may be additional port fees, storage concerns, or return freight contracts to be worked out at this point. The freight forwarder or logistics company representative will then receive a full report and prepare final billing for taxes, transfer fees, truck rentals, and other items that were required along the way of the ocean journey.

As you can tell from this very brief synopsis, moving goods across oceans can seem like a complex web of interlocking elements, and it is! Our professionals at Port City Logistics manage the details of multiple shipments every day with excellence. We value our relationships with our clients and continue to earn their business as a preferred Freight Broker with every container and truckload.

Topics: Ocean Freight Shipping