Thanks to innovative container shipping methods, overseas freighting has never been easier. Whether you are shipping a small amount of goods or your entire household, container shipping is convenient, cost-effective, and very straight forward.
Not sure what the hype is all about? Let’s break down the basic ABC’s of container shipping.
Types of Shipping Containers
The most common size shipping containers are 20 feet or 40 feet long – large enough to fit the contents of a three-bedroom house or larger. However there are also containers as long as 45 and 53 feet, with the price going up accordingly. The greatest thing by far about container shipping, however, is that there is no weight restriction.
Once you have paid for your container (also known as a Conex box, cargo box, or ISO cosntainer), anything and everything that fits gets to make the long distance trip. Moreover, container sizes and shapes are internationally standardized, making them interchangeable between different modes of transportation – i.e. ship, rail, or truck.
ISO Container Cargo
So what do people generally transport in a container? You name it, you’ll find it: Household goods, suitcases, boxes, pianos, cars, tractors, computers, electronics, sports equipment – and yes, even the kitchen sink.
In turn the type of cargo transported determines which of the following types of containers is appropriate: flat rack, open end, open top, open side, half height, liquid build, refrigerated, standard dry, or modular.
Benefits of Modern-Day Container Shipping
While there are numerous benefits to shipping via container, the number one reason it is the preferred mode of transporting goods is the great savings in time and money it offers both companies and customers. In the olden days, boxes, barrels and sacks had to be lugged one at a time on and off loading decks or from vehicles to the cargo ship. Not only did this take massive amounts of human labor, but the entire process of loading/unloading could take weeks.
Since the invention of the container method of shipping, the international export market has boomed. Similarly, given the significant reduction in relocation costs and time, the transport of personal belongings is also on the rise.
Sharing a Shipping Container
Worried that you don’t have enough items to fill a shipping container on your own? No problem –there is a solution in place for this common scenario as well.
Known as container consolidation or container sharing, you can arrange to have your few belongings shipped inside someone else’s container, provided you share the same origin and destination ports. Similarly but on the flip side, if you have extra room in your large container, you get a return on some of your investment by offering others the opportunity to help fill it up, charging per square meter.
Costs of Container Shipping
Whether you are shipping a household by container or only a few items, the easiest way to get a price estimate is to go online. Almost all of today’s international shipping companies offer a free shipping-rate calculator and will advise you on the best mode of transportation for your cargo.
To safeguard against the possibility of loss, theft or damage, insurance is also included in the cost of your shipping container. Once you submit an inventory of contents, you will get to choose between “by item” or “total loss” insurance.
Finally, one last set of options is available to you before your shipping container is signed, sealed, and delivered! Choose between:
- Door-to-door services (wherein the shipping pros come to your house and load the container for you)
- Port-to-Port services
- Door-to-Port services
- Drop and Pick services (wherein the container is dropped off at your house and picked up again once you finish loading it)