Container Shipping: 6 Logistics Considerations Before Shipment

The strategic approach to packaging and handling of goods for container shipping can strongly influence a company’s profitability. In fact, global financial impact of cargo loss, which includes losses due to improper packaging of container-shipped goods, is estimated to exceed $50 billion annually according to the National Cargo Security Council (NCSC).

In light of this, if you’re planning to ship products via containers, you need to package your items in a way that guarantees their safety under all possible conditions. This article will delve into the multifaceted aspects of container shipping logistics. We will explore the essentials of what should be packed into the container, the quantity and dimensions of the items, the origin and destination of the shipment, how items will be protected, and the potential costs of container transportation.

What needs to be packed into the shipping container?

The first consideration in container shipping logistics is determining what needs to be packed into the shipping container. This involves a careful evaluation of the goods to be transported and specific handling requirements. The type of goods can range from manufactured items like automobiles, medical equipment, electronics, furniture, and appliances, to consumer goods and non-perishable food items.

The nature of the goods also determines the type of container required. For example, if you’re transporting foods or medicines, a container that allows for temperature control is the best option.

What is the size and quantity of freight?

The size of your cargo will determine the type and size of the container you’ll need. Standard shipping container sizes are typically 20-foot and 40-foot containers, capable of holding up to 28 tons and 29 tons of cargo respectively. However, the exact dimensions and maximum weight can impact the type of equipment used, and load regulations may restrict operation to less than maximum weight.

If you have a large quantity of goods, you might need to use multiple containers or larger ones. For smaller quantities or items, logistics can become more complex, and you might need to consider less than container load (LCL) options.

What is the origin and destination of the shipment?

The geographical location of your shipment’s origin and destination can considerably affect the shipping route. Ports located near major trade hubs or along significant waterways often have an advantage. Countries with multiple ports also have the option to choose the best route based on factors like weather, congestion at ports, and other logistical considerations.

Moreover, the origin and destination of your cargo can influence the need for customs services and insurance coverage. These extra services depend on the specific regulations and requirements of the countries involved.

Shipping by air, sea or land?

One of the most important shipping parameters is how quickly the container will arrive at its destination. If the goods need to be delivered as soon as possible, air transport is a much faster shipping option than sea transport. However, there is of course a cost associated with this speed.

Furthermore, air transport is often better suited to high-value products because of concerns about damage, theft or the time value of money. Environmental impact is another issue to be considered in relation to the mode of transport. The carbon footprint of air transport is massive compared to sea transport, having accounted for 2% of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2022.

Will the items be protected against damages during transport?

Most of the time, goods shipped in containers will travel considerable distances. The container can even be moved using different means of transport. This suggests that the container may be subjected to shocks, either during transport or during handling when goods are being transferred. Of course, if the products you ship are fragile, they must be protected against shocks and vibrations.

One of the most effective ways to safeguard your goods is by using wooden shipping crates. These crates are sturdy, durable, and can withstand significant weight, making them a good choice for heavy or fragile items. Packing foam can then fill in the gaps and provide a cushioning effect, absorbing shocks and vibrations that could otherwise damage your goods.

What are the common shipping costs involved?

Understanding the common costs involved in crate shipping and container shipping is important when preparing for international trade. The cost of shipping a container can vary widely based on different factors, including the size and type of container, the route, seasonal demand, and additional fees.

Getting to grips with Incoterms can really help you understand who’s footing the bill for each aspect of your shipping costs. Whether you’re dealing with a bill of lading or putting together a customs invoice, Incoterms can shed light on the responsibilities, costs, and risks for both buyers and sellers involved in these transactions.

Will shipping companies be hired for logistics?

The decision to hire shipping companies for logistics is a significant one, and it’s often best to let a turnkey crating and shipping company handle the logistics.

Hiring a packing and shipping company can provide several benefits:

  • Managing each aspect of fulfillment, ensuring efficiency at every level and reducing the likelihood of mistakes
  • A full-service shipping department that can work with a number of top carriers, ensuring your final product is at the right place when you need it
  • Coordinating all materials for manufacturing, reducing the need for you to worry about coordination throughout the process
  • Held to a higher degree of accountability, guaranteeing a smoother process throughout the lifetime of the project
  • Cost savings, as a fragmented approach to a project can often result in higher costs

While managing logistics in-house may seem appealing due to the direct control it offers, hiring a turnkey packing and shipping service like the one offered by Creopack can often be the more efficient and cost-effective choice.

Optimize your shipping container logistics with Creopack

In the bustling world of container shipping, the role of efficient logistics cannot be overstated. At Creopack, we’re not just observers of this reality, we’re active participants, leveraging our expertise in custom crating and shipping solutions to help businesses navigate the complexities of container shipping logistics.

When you choose to collaborate with Creopack, you’re choosing a partner committed to the secure packaging, careful handling, and timely delivery of your items. We’re here to help you mitigate the risks of cargo loss and damage, ensuring your business operations run smoothly.

Contact Creopack’s team of experts and let’s discuss how we can adapt our packaging and crating services to your unique logistical requirements. It’s a decision that will benefit your business, your customers, and the environment.