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You will need to get the anticipated volume of your consignment (m3) from your supplier. Your supplier should be able to work this out for you even before the goods are ready to move if they are exporting these products on a regular basis.
If your consignment is slightly under or slightly over 20m3 it is worth you seeking a quotation for shipping your goods as a Less than container load (LCL) shipment whereby they will share container space with other goods for different importers, this may work out cheaper for you.
At the same time ask your Freight Forwarder for a Full container (FCL) price (20 foot container). Compare both before deciding how to proceed.
The advantage of FCL is that your supplier loads the goods into the container and unless Customs at either side take an interest in the goods the container should remain sealed all the way through to your delivery address at destination. This gives some peace of mind and also providing your supplier has loaded the container properly there is not much chance of damage in transit. The alternative is to ship LCL which means that your goods will be in a mixed container with other goods and will be unloaded into a Customs warehouse when the vessel arrives at the destination port. These containers are usually loaded sympathetically and carefully to avoid any damage buy professional companies, however your goods can take 1-2 days longer to reach you due to the involvement of the Customs warehouse for unpacking etc. You will need to make a choice between any cost saving versus a small time delay.
If you decide to proceed as FCL you should be able to load 25-28m3 into 1 x 20’ container, 50-55m3 into 1 x 40’ container and 55-63m3 into 1 x 40’HQ container if you are loading many similar cartons that are not individually very large. The difference between 1 x 40’ and 1 x 40’HQ is in the height. HQ is a shipping industry abbreviation for “High Cube” and these containers are usually 9’ 6” high as opposed to standard containers which are 8’ high. The cost difference is usually negligible (max US$ 100 on most routes) so worth considering a high Cube (HQ) if you are concerned about fitting your order into 1 x 40’ container.
On some routes 45’ containers are available, however these are in very limited stock so a premium is usually applied of up to US$ 1000.00. Due to this these containers are usually only used by shippers who have an issue with lengthy goods that can not otherwise be loaded into a standard dry container. The term “Dry Container” refers to the fact that all containers I have mentioned thus far (20’, 40’, 40’HQ and 45’) are sealed units with fixed end, walls, roof and opening doors for access / loading.
If your goods do not fit into a conventional “Dry Container”, or you have issues with loading that mean you will require use of overhead crane etc. then you do have other options. Freight Forwarders can provide a range of “Special Equipment” options such as flat rack containers which have two ends and a bed only (no walls / roof), Flat Bed / Platform containers which are literally just a base with no walls, roof or ends, and open top containers which as the name suggests have ends and walls but no roof to enable for overhead loading or over height items.
As mentioned above, even if your goods do not fit perfectly into / onto a standard or special equipment container you can still ship them on a container vessel as long as they can be secured to the containers safely. You will then of course pay for any additional container slots on the vessel that your items take up and you may need to provide or buy a tarpaulin from your freight forwarder to ensure the goods are covered in transit on the high seas and roads on their journey.
You can view a full list of container measurements on our website. Simply visit www.mannson.com and visit the “Resource Centre” via the tab at the top of the home page. You will find other useful shipping information there too. Failing that contact the experts at Mannson Freight who will be happy to assist you while providing you a competitive shipping quotation, firstname.lastname@example.org.