Comparing Quotes for Shipping Services

Shipping companies in Australia

International shipping is a complicated beast to go up against, especially if it’s your first time using a shipping company. Fortunately for the first time buyer makes the whole process easier by enabling you to compare free quotes from many of the Australia’s leading international shipping companies.

The important information that you need to know is the cargo you’re shipping, where it’s going and when. It can be for whatever reason, maybe you’re shipping stuff over from a supplier in China for your business? Or you’re headed back to Australia after living overseas and need a way to bring all your stuff over? Whatever your needs, can put you in touch with hundreds of shipping companies rated by their customers who will get the job done quickly, efficiently and at a competitive price. Simply click on the Get Quotes button and start filling in the easy to use form with your delivery details. We then automatically match your needs against the top Australian companies providing international services who submit quotes for the job.

An international shipping overview

It’s almost maddening seeing the sheer scale of the international shipping industry. Over 50,000 merchant ships registered in over 150 countries. All of them manned by over a million seafarers of pretty much every nationality. International sea freight is the driving force of global trade, with the estimates for how much transportation in trade is based on boats being around 90%.

It’s difficult to even put a value on the size of the market. However, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) tried an estimate. The number of contributions shipping companies make came up to over $380 billion a year, or about five percent of all world trade.

With increases to both industrialisation and liberalisation of trade worldwide causing a great demand for consumer products, in the last four decades, the international trade sector has, fittingly, quadrupled. This means that in 2008 alone over 7.7 thousand million tonnes of goods were transported across the globe. (7,700,000,000 if you wanted to see that in numbers)

The globalised economy of today has international freight companies have their already vital role expanding year on year to both business and national economies. The guide below is to help you when arranging the international transportation of your goods. It will explain how shipping agents work and will provide you with the information you’ll need in order to make an informed decision on the options that best suit your requirements. It will also outline the different options available to you as well as the all-important documentation you will need when organising the transportation of goods by sea.

Types of service available

There are over 50,000 registered merchant vessels used to transport goods around the worlds. It stands to reason that different vessels offer different services. This depends of course on what the cargo is and the services required for it. We can break this down into five main types of vessel: Container Ships that carry the standard shipping container (Of around 20 to 40 feet), roll on/off vessels that carry passenger and haulage vehicles, general cargo ships, bulk carriers and big tankers.

Shipping by container

By far the most popular way of shipping goods internationally for the last 50 years is the shipping container. 90% of all non-bulk cargo transport is done with containers, for the simple reason being that they’re efficient for loading and unloading as well as secure during transit and are comparatively cheap compared to other options. The other methods are break bulk, which is cargo that isn’t contained such as pallets or crates and bulk which is the large number of shipments of commodities such as coal, oil, wheat etc.

Knowing exactly what these options offer is not a strong requirement when organising cargo shipments. Your chosen agent will be capable of advising which choice is best for you. However, it’s good to know the basic concepts of the processes involved, to help you avoid any potential problems, like cost.

Weighing up the costs

In general, there are three elements that affect cost when it comes to shipping. The cost of ocean transport, handling and clearing the goods at the port and the costs of shipping when it needs to move inland either to the port of departure or their final destination are all things to consider.

  • The costs of ocean transport are usually charged according to the standard shipping tariffs on shipping lines. However, companies and agents that frequently handle large volumes of cargo may be able to negotiate preferential rates.
  • The price for the handling of goods will vary based on the quantity and type of cargo being shipped and there are also currency adjustments to take into account with the agents and the changes in exchange rates. There are also surcharges levied by individual ports for things like security and congestion charges
  • Inland haulage may also be included in the price, depending on the service. From the collection to the port of departure as well as from the port of arrival to the final destination.

FCL and LCL shipments

You shall also need to consider your level of load. By this, we mean a full container load (FCL) or a less than container load (LCL). Since shipping quotes are based on a flat container price it’s clearly more economical to ship on an FCL basis. Calculating quotes can be complicated. Proper agents will be able to advise you on the costs that come with your shipment as well as the best route for your needs.

International routes

As there is so much shipping in the world it only makes sense for there to also be a huge amount of shipping routes across the globe. The busiest ones reflect the amount of trade happening between those two points. The busiest when it comes to Australia are those with the Far East, especially China and Japan. Close to these are the North Atlantic routes to the USA and Canada, as well as to the UK and South America.

Australia has direct routes to the main trading countries, however, if you’re transporting to somewhere less common in trade with Australia you may have to tranship your cargo. Transhipping is when cargo is taken to the nearest large port then placed on another vessel for a shorter local journey to the actual destination port. Your agents will advise you on the different options available on your route. Due to the sheer number of shipping routes available it’s worth taking the time to explore all the different options with the agents to see which suits your needs.

What agents do

Agents work on your behalf in coordinating the different elements associated with international shipments. They are very experienced in cargo movements worldwide and know the different import and export rules and regulations related to each country, as well as all the methods you can use and documentation requirements.

An agent can advise on all the associated costs (including inland haulage if required), any port changes, documentation, insurance, customs and handling fees. Depending on the level of service you need agents can also advise on the method and type of packaging you would need to make sure your goods are protected, as well as even arranging the packing of those goods for you. Do take into account that any additional service will mean an additional fee.

Freight shipping

The type of services required for your shipping and the level of complexity and documentation needed can change dramatically depending on the country of origin and the destination you’re shipping from. Key requirements for shipping include accounting for GST and duties.

When moving goods too or from countries, different levels of duty will be payable, depending on the type of commodity, country of origin and destination. An experienced agent will be able to advise you on the duties you’ll have to pay, any restrictions on said commodities and the documentation necessary for your consignment, in addition to the actual physical movement of your goods and the modes of transport available.

Terms and Documentation

After reading this you’ve probably worked out that the world of international shipping has a vocabulary all of its own. If you’ve ever had to arrange an international shipment before it can be very confusing. You, however, don’t need to worry as shipping companies giving you quotes deal with millions of cargo consignments every year, so they can advise you along the way. If you do want to get your head around some of the terms you can have a look at this online glossary of shipping terms from Maritime Safety Victoria.

When you’re ready to ship your goods let us find the right company for you. Click the Get quotes button above, add you cargo details in the simple to use form and start receiving competitive quotes with no obligation from some of the top of Australian shipping companies.

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