container overseas

Container Overseas

Container Overseas

Container Shipping Company

For over half a century, the cheapest way to transport personal goods abroad has been by shipping container overseas. Shipping by air is much faster, but up to ten times as expensive. Transporting by land is impossible in some cases and inadvisable in others. When fuel and other transportation costs are taken into account, it is also usually more expensive. The only thing that stops many people from shipping a container overseas is the question: "How is it done?"

Obviously, it is done by ship. That's not the question. But what is a container freight vessel? How big is it? How does it hold its cargo? How do they figure out the costs? These are some of the questions people ask.

Basically a container freight vessel is a ship that has been specially designed for loading and carrying large numbers of containers at once. Although goods have been shipped by sea for hundreds of years, the concept of container overseas shipping is a fairly new one. In a word, the concept is "intermodalism." What this means is that different modes of transport are inter-connected, so that cargoes do not have to be packed, unpacked, and packed again onto a ship as was done in previous eras.

Before the 1960s, most sea cargoes arrived at the port by truck or by train. Then the individual train containers or truck containers were unpacked, sorted and loaded into the ship's hold. A trucking industry executive, Malcolm McLean, saw how inefficient this system was and came up with the idea of taking an entire container off the back of a truck or train and lifting it onto a vessel.

It was such an ingenious yet simple idea that it quickly caught on. The sizes of containers were standardized, to streamline the process. The size of container that fit on the bed of a truck became the unit of measurement. When you ship 20 ft container overseas, you are shipping one TEU or Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit. This works out nicely if you are sending the household goods of a one or two bedroom home. When you ship 40 ft container, or 2 TEU, you can fit one vehicle and a small houseful of goods or all the personal goods of a 3 to 5 bedroom home.

The container shipping rates are calculated using a variety of variables. One of them is the size of the container. Surprisingly, to ship 20 foot container is nearly as expensive as it is to ship 40 foot container. This is largely because of handling costs. The advantage of shipping the more compact size is that it can be delivered to your door, while the large one must be unpacked at the port or warehouse before it can be delivered to a residential area.

Other costs will include the distance traveled and the level of service requested. You can opt for a do-it-yourself economy service, where you handle the responsibility of packing up ("stuffing," in industry parlance) the container yourself or you can pay the container freight company of your choice to do it for you. Naturally, a container overseas cargo that is just crossing the Atlantic from New York to England will cost less than one that is headed for Australia.

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