A physical process of transporting merchandise, goods, commodities and cargo by sea is called shipping. The transportation may be by land or air also. Transportation by land is usually more affordable than by air, but it is more expensive than transporting by sea. The term Logistics is also sometimes used for shipping. International shipping is one of the most important parts of everyday business activities. The International Chamber of Shipping ICS and International Shipping Federation (ISF) represent ship management companies and ship owners that run merchant ships. International shipping has become a vital part of the world’s economic processes. International shipping is undoubtedly the most environmentally responsive form of transport.
The International Maritime Organization based in the city of London and United Nations agencies regulate the international shipping industry. The most emergent part of transportation business sector is international shipping. Many industries relay on international shipping for their survival and day to day business activities. The shipping industry involves companies from every nation across the world. Port agents, sale and purchase brokers, liner agents, maritime insurers and ship surveyors, chartering brokers, import and export brokers and a wide range of subsidiary industries all are part of the international shipping industry.
World trade flows influence the shipping routes. Shipping is most frequent and numerous on the routes where trade volumes are prevalent. The people that crew the ships of different nations fleets are part of the Merchant navy. Merchant navy carries 90% of the international trade by operating many commercial ships worldwide. The international trading fleet comprising of about 40,000 ships are highly valuable assets, ships being very technically sophisticated and an estimated annual income of over US $200 billion is generated in freight rates within the global economy by the operation of merchant ships. Various countries and companied are involved in international shipping process. The world’s trade depends on highly on international shipping.
The two key elements to the cost of transporting goods through sea are the ocean freight charged by the carrier, and costs related with handling and clearing the goods. How these charges are calculated is influenced by a number of factors. The many types of ships include container ships, smaller ships also known as feeder ships and roll off roll on (ro-ro) vessels. Cargo ships in general are designated to carry all types of loose-packaged cargo and bulk carriers carry unpackaged goods. Tankers are ships that carry liquids in large quantity.
Merchant ships mainly use two methods to carry out their business: that is Liner vessels and charter vessels. Liner vessels have fixed schedules, routes and usually carry a typical tariff. Liner trades are usually subject to general cargo and container ships and roll-off/roll-on carriers. Charter or tramp vessels work according to the charter plan set by the person who controls them. Their discharge and loading ports are set by the charter along with their cost, which depends on immediate demand and supply conditions. The charter markets are dominated mainly by bulk carriers and tankers.
On average international shipping can take anywhere from 1 week to 2 months, depending on which shipping option you choose and your location and destination. The processing time of your country’s customs department may also cause a holdup. Selection of the shipping company and the route may also effect the time. Shipping times may vary from region to region across the world. One should select the company that meets the requirement after studying in detail the services they present.